Our College Grad Checklist: Prepare Yourself and Your Soon-To-Be Grad for Life After College

As your son or daughter heads back to school for their final year of college, the countdown to graduation has finally started for both parents and students. Most parents spent month’s preparing their child to head off to college, with much needed guidance and countless checklists from both high schools and universities. But what happens when the schooling years are over and there isn’t a set path to the next finish line? With in-state Public university fees averaging $20,770  per year, while private and out of state colleges and universities can run you double that – obviously you want to make the most of this major investment and help your young adult thrive in the “real world”.

Here is a college grad checklist to help parents prepare for what comes after the tassels are turned next Spring.

Find out what they want and keep an open mind.Talk to your student about their goals for post-grad life. What do they love about their major? What aspects of their field of study are a struggle for them? Taking the time to really pick their brain will help you both open the lines of communication. Don’t feel like your student’s degree is wasted if he comes home and says he hates numbers after earning a degree in Accounting. Knowing what he or she doesn’t want to do is a big step in finding a rewarding career. Try helping your student choose a direction (no matter what that area is) and stick to it.

Find out what they need to feel confident in their search.
Preparing for a job search is a lot like preparing for SATs. There are strategies and techniques to interviewing that can make or break a candidate’s job search. Talk with your soon-to-be grad about what tools they need to prepare for a successful search. Some things to think about:

How does their resume look? Make sure they have taken the time early in the year to start building a resume that focuses on the specific career-focused achievements that will help land a job in the field for which they are aiming.

Do they have interview attire? Perhaps take them shopping during the holidays for a new suit, interview appropriate shoes, and a portfolio.

What interview techniques do they need to hone? Encourage your student to seek career advising resources either through school, or a private career coach.

✔ Help start the networking process, but tread lightly!
Once you have an idea for what your new grad wants to do, ask your student how you can help. If they are open to it, keep an ear to the ground in your own network for opportunities that might be a fit. After all, candidates are more likely to land interviews from a direct connection, than by simply applying for a job online.

Keep in mind that your student should still do the leg work after the initial introduction. Try not to do more than you would do for anyone else to whom you were offering a professional introduction. Make the connection and step back. And whatever you do, don’t go with them to informational meetings, networking events or interviews.

It is easy to let the stress of your child finding a job take over the excitement of this time. Preparation for this next life stage will help your student focus on ways to succeed after college and let you fully enjoy and celebrate this major milestone.


For more information on our Career Launch program for College Students and Recent College Grads, contact Liz Helton at liz@careertransformationpartners.com


Julia Holian & Associates provides strategy and coaching for career-focused professionals looking to have the career they always wanted. The San Francisco Bay Area-based company was founded in 2016 by Julia Holian, a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach with more than 20 years of experience in professional development. Julia Holian & Associates guides clients in any industry and recent college grads, with job search strategy and career transition, resume and LinkedIn development, interview preparation, and professional strengths coaching. For more information, please visit: www.careertransformationpartners.com.

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