Top 10 tips for parents of jobseekers
How to help your child enter the job market.
As the academic year draws to a close, a new batch of fresh-faced jobseekers hits the market. These young people are looking to get their career off to a good start and in South Africa, competition is always tough. Parents inevitably get stuck with the unenviable task of guiding their children through the process of finding a job. Here are ten tips to make it as smooth and swift a journey as possible.

Be realistic

This is one of the hardest parts of the process. You and your child need to sit down and have a hard, critical look at what they’re good at, what they’re not so good at and what they’re actually interested in. Applying for unsuitable jobs will just result in a string of rejections that can shred your child’s confidence. Go over their CV to make sure it’s positive, but accurate.

Big vs. small

The big vs. small company debate is a tough one and which to choose varies from person to person. For first time job-seekers who aren’t really sure of what they want to do, large companies can offer an invaluable education as they expose the new hire to a much broader range of operations, staff and business processes.

Get interview-ready

Job interviews are one of the most daunting parts of the job hunt. Talk your child through what these usually involve, test them on the most common questions like “Why do you want to work here?” and help them decide what to wear.

The first no won’t be their last

Virtually everyone gets a couple of rejections when looking for a job. It’s never nice, but it’s going to happen and your child needs to be aware of that. Be positive and offer encouragement to keep them confident and motivated.

Should they accept the first yes?

Your child will probably be very excited when they receive their first yes and want to leap straight into working life. Make sure, though, that they actually consider the offer. Keep track of what other applications are in the pipeline. It doesn’t hurt to wait a couple of days and see if something better comes along.

Help them understand the job

The prospect of regular income is enough to make most first-time jobseekers weak at the knees. However, they are often under-informed about what working life actually entails. You don’t want to put them off a potential job, but making sure they can identify the parts of the job that might not be fun will help them to make a better choice and go in with more realistic expectations.

Contacts, contacts, contacts

As they say, it’s often not what you know, but who you know. If you know of any friends, family members or business contacts that might be able to get your child a job, don’t be afraid to mention it. Let it happen naturally, though, you don’t want your child to feel as though they landed the job unfairly, it’s important that they feel like they have earned the job.

Let them know how – and if – you can help what you can offer

Before your child can accept any job, they need to know that there can’t be any shortfall between what the job offers them and what they need to make do on their own?. Parents often choose the end of a child’s education to reassess practical arrangements. Are you happy for them to continue living at home? Will you help them out with transport to their new office? Make sure your child has a good picture of what their living situation will be like once they start work

Do your research

If you don’t know much about the job or company that your child is applying for, it’s definitely worth a quick Google. Not only will this help you figure out if the job is suitable, but you can glean important information which can be used to increase your child’s chances of success.

Don’t get too involved

While your help and advice can go a long way in helping your child through this, you mustn’t do it all for them. This is a vital part of growing up and adjusting to a life of independence. Let them write their own CVs, go to the interviews by themselves and have the final say on which job to take. It might seem harder, but in the long run it will make things much, much easier.

Godfrey Madanhire is one of Southern Africa’s leading life coaches and motivational speakers. See more from him at

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