The Career Doctor™
by Dr. Jacqueline Hornor Plumez
Looking for a first job? Thinking of changing careers?
Facing a lay-off? The Career Doctor™ is a Larchmont psychologist
specializing in career counseling. If you'd like to ask a question of
your own, use the anonymous form
here, and she might answer you in her column. Read more about the
Career Doctor here.
Contact information is here.
MY SON CAN'T GET A JOB - PART I
Dear Career Doctor:
My son graduated from college last
May and is living at home. He has gone on several interviews, but he
hasnít gotten any offers. He says he is looking for a job, but I donít
see him doing very much except sleeping late, playing on the internet
and hanging out with friends. This is driving my wife and me crazy,
but we donít know what to do or how to help him.
This is a really common problem that I often see in my office. Because
there are so many reasons why young college grads donít get jobs, Iím
going to answer this question in two different columns. Next week, Iíll
talk about some of the psychological factors that undermine a job hunt.
This week, Iíll list some practical reasons why job searches fail:
1. Inappropriate email addresses: Itís hard to believe,
but many employers report that young grads contact them using email
addresses that immediately knock them off the list of potential applicants.
Check to see if your son is using an email address that may have seemed
funny in college, like BeerBoy or SillyMonkey. Employers will not be
2. My Space or Facebook Indiscretions:
Similarly, many young people donít realize that employers often check
'My Space' and 'Facebook' to see if personal material contains references
to drinking, drugs, violence or anything else suggesting the candidate
might be an unreliable employee.
3. Interview traps: Itís important to arrive early,
smile, dress conservatively (usually) and write follow-up thank-you
notes that are carefully checked for spelling, punctuation and grammar.
Also, itís important to practice standard interview questions like ďTell
me about yourself,Ē ďWhat is the biggest mistake youíve ever made?Ē
or ďWhatís your biggest problem?Ē Interviewers donít expect long-winded
confessions or revelations. They want to hear concise answers that ďsellĒ
4. Weak effort: Itís very common for young grads to
under-estimate how many contacts are required to get a job offer. Hereís
the rule of thumb: if youíre not making at least ten contacts a day,
youíre not really looking for a job. To get that many, one must use
every possible source: newspaper and online ads, friends, family and
college contacts. Your sonís college alumni office, for example, could
be a rich source of contacts. They will probably be willing to provide
lists of alumni in the field he wants.
5. Poor resume: It almost goes without saying that
your sonís resume must be as strong an ďadĒ for him as possible. There
are lots of books on this subject, but a career counselor might be able
to help with this and motivate him. You can find him a private counselor
or encourage him to go back to his college and use the counseling center
for resume help.
The Career Doctor
The Career Doctor™ is Larchmont
psychologist and career counselor, Dr. Jacqueline Hornor Plumez.
Her office is at 90 Beechtree Drive in Larchmont, 914-834-1982.