This month, college graduates will have a hard time finding jobs because their parents refuse to move to Florida. It’s not the pythons, alligators, sharks, panthers or bears preventing the exodus to the Sunshine State, it’s the money.
Boomers can’t financially afford to retire like they used to. In a 2014 Gallup poll, half of the Boomers said they plan to work past the age of 65. They’re not leaving their jobs, which means they’re not vacating positions for Gen X employees.
My generation bumps into them and has a hard time climbing the career ladder, because the top positions are filled already.
Millennials then graduate and bump into Gen X employees who have not been able to move beyond entry level and middle management positions.
This reality creates a job traffic jam.
Maybe you’re a college senior about to enter the workforce. Maybe you’re a parent with a son or daughter who is on the verge of receiving a diploma. Maybe you’re a relative or friend who has been invited to a graduation party and doesn’t know how to help a college graduate.
Fear not, though the situation is challenging, it is by no means impossible.
There are 5 things every college graduate needs.
College graduates need some runway to put their lives together. We adults tend to think it will happen instantly. As if perhaps when they get their diploma they will also get a job, an apartment, a life purpose and a golden retriever who wears a jaunty bandana. They won’t. Those things take time. (Except for the bandana, you can get those anywhere.) Don’t put undue pressure on an already pressure-filled moment. Give college graduates time.
One of the best ways you can help a college graduate is by opening your rolodex. (That reference just made it seem like I graduated 17 years ago and am super old.) Share your network of connections. It might sound cliché to say “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” but it’s true. One of the best gifts you can give a graduate is an introduction to someone you know who can help with a career opportunity.
3. A sneak peek into the future.
We adults aren’t just adults, we’re time machines. We’ve been to the future and can tell graduates what we’ve learned. For instance, now that I’m 39 I can say confidently that the 20s can be a lot lonelier than anyone tells you. It’s hard to make friends as an adult. You have to work hard to build community. When I tell a college graduate that, I give them a sneak peek into the future. Step out of the Dr. Who Tardis that is adulthood for a minute and tell a college graduate a little about where he or she is headed.
[Tweet “We’ve been to the future and need to tell generations behind us what we’ve learned.”]
4. Gift cards.
Money is awesome but it tends to disappear quickly. Give college graduates gift cards instead. Starbucks, The Home Depot, the grocery store, everyone has a gift card option and instead of the money getting swallowed up by life, they will actually use the gift card for something they need.
5. A copy of Do Over.
Most graduate gifts are boring and useless. A college grad doesn’t need a lacquered piece of wood with a motivational statement on it or a hamper for dirty laundry. (They can buy that with a gift card.) They need a guide to one of the biggest career Do Over moments they will ever face, graduation. They need a fun plan to build the four investments every great career requires (relationships, skills, character and hustle). There’s a reason hundreds of parents have already given Do Over to college graduates and Library Journal said it was “highly recommended for the college graduate just beginning a career.” (You can get one at Amazon or a even a signed edition at Barnes & Noble.)
Graduating from college can feel like an overwhelming experience, but it doesn’t have to be.
Give graduates a fighting chance in a world where it’s increasingly hard to find a job.
Give them these five things and then make them pay for Starbucks with a gift card next time you go out for coffee.