how much should I help this struggling recent grad?

A reader writes:

I have a question regarding helping a recent grad find their first job in their field. Without getting into convoluted details, a young person’s resume was passed along to me because she is looking to work in my field. I don’t personally know her, and frankly, I’m not wowed by her resume at all. She lists her last handful of retail jobs, but they aren’t in any logical order whatsoever. She does have relevant internship and volunteer experience, but it’s totally buried, and I missed it the first time I glanced at it. There is also a huge typo in there that doing a simple spellcheck in Word would catch. In short, her resume is pretty bad.

We’ve emailed back and forth a few times. I’ve suggested she attend various industry association meetings. She hasn’t really asked me any questions about the work I do. How I got here. About my industry. She’s really just asked if I know about any “opportunities.” I am very open to getting to know her a little better and helping her out, but I’m not particularly interested in spoon-feeding her. I realize that a recent graduate isn’t necessarily going to be well-versed in how to network, but I’d like to see a bit of initiative on her part.

As an experienced professional trying to help a young person, how much of a lead should I take in helping someone? Especially when it’s someone I don’t know and have never met. Should I suggest we have coffee to talk? Should I make specific or even general suggestions regarding her resume? It just so happens that I know of an entry-level opening, but I really hesitate to pass along her resume even with the caveat that I don’t know the person and therefore can’t recommend them.

If she were more experienced, it would be easy to dismiss her as a taker, but so many recent grads really have no idea how to go about this stuff. And they’ve often been told to ask people about “opportunities” and don’t realize that their networking should be so much more than that.  So I wouldn’t dismiss the idea of helping her simply because of her lack of initiative; she probably doesn’t even realize that there’s more initiative she could be taking here, and it could be a huge service to explain that to her.

Depending on how interested you are in helping her, you have a couple of different options:

1. If you’re willing to spend some time helping her, you could say something like, “Can I be blunt with you? I think you might have better luck in your job search if you changed some core things about your resume and also about how you’re networking with people like me. I’d be glad to talk to you over coffee sometime if you want some feedback that might help.” (And one key suggestion you could make if you do meet is helping her understand how to change her approach so that people don’t feel like she’s asking to be spoon-fed. She probably has no idea that she’s coming across that way or what to do differently.)

2. If you don’t want to spend that much time but still want to help her, you could simply call her attention to the need to work on her materials and suggest some resources. For instance, you could say, “Can I be blunt with you? Right now, I don’t think your resume is helping you as much as it could, and you might get a much better response if you make some changes like highlighting your relevant experience more. There are a lot of great resources online for putting together a resume, and that might really help.”

You’re certainly not obligated to do either of these, but if you have the time and inclination, it would be a kind thing to do, and could potentially make a real difference for her.

{ 70 comments… read them below }

  1. jesicka309*

    Good on the OP for wanting to help at all! It could have been so easy to just throw the resume away…so good on you. I hope good karma goes your way. :)

  2. Anonymous*

    I graduated just a few years ago. I have never been so inspired as when I left a coffee talk with an industry professional with whom I had no mutual connection. I owe her so much today because of the spark she lit in me to focus on more than just these “opportunities” we so desperately ask about. Do take a chance on a conversation with her. She might really blossom.

  3. Chocolate Teapot*

    Pointing a recent Graduate in the right direction of CV advice would probably be useful. I once asked a Recruitment Consultant what she thought of the layout and received some useful advice which helped in the future.

  4. Sophie*

    Oh I hope the OP helps the new grad out. I only graduated a year ago. I am absolutely inexperienced in networking, and I would have been scared to ask someone about their job, their career path, or the industry generally. I would feel like I was imposing and/or harassing the person by asking personal questions that would take far too long to answer.

    I know that is not the case now, having been reading AAM for a little while, but I would still be absolutely terrified of contacting a stranger and asking about more than “opportunities”.

    1. BHB*


      I think sometimes as professionals we can easily forget how terrifying it was taking our first steps in our career after graduating from university. Most career coaches on campus are useless and they tell you to network without any specifics of how to do that, or tell you that your CV/resume should be filled with every job you’ve ever done in chronological order rather than highlighting relevant experience. It’s easy to dismiss a youngster for not taking initiative when in actual fact they’re just scared and inexperienced. If you’ve never done something before and never been told how to do it before, then when you come to actually doing it you’re not going to have a clue and will make mistakes.

      Hopefully the OP will help the recent grad – we all need a helping hand every now and again and it seems like the OP could be a great contact for the recent grad (and possibly in time it could swing the other way too). It also sounds like the OP wants to help, but doesn’t want to get too involved so I think it’s important to set boundaries right away. Make it clear whether it’s a one-time deal, or whether your happy to have more of a mentoring relationship and regular contact. And if you do want to back out at any time, all you have to do is say so – there is no obligation hand-hold the recent grad all the way through her career. Even just pointing out resume tips in an email is going to help out.

      1. TheSnarkyB*

        Agreed. In my post-graduation networking, I was super pushy and over-assertive because I thought I wouldn’t be taken seriously as a woman in the workforce if I wasn’t. My friend was super tentative and even apologetic because she felt that being presumptuous or rude would be a greater mistake. There are a lot of ways to do it wrong. Thanks, OP, for writing in about this!

    2. KayDay*


      When I first graduated, I was so scared that someone would think I was being rude, naive, or ridiculous. I ended up not networking much at all because I was so scared I would do it wrong.

      1. Kelly O*

        I’m still scared that I’m doing it wrong.

        I hope the OP does help as much as she’s able; I know how much it would have helped me years ago if someone had provided a little guidance (and I know how encouraging it still is when someone seems to take a legitimate interest.)

    3. Kou*

      Me too! My reasoning is mostly that I don’t want to take too much of their time or make them feel like I’m too lazy to do any research on my own, so I don’t ask a lot– and certainly not about their background. I thought I was doing them a favor by not asking too many questions, I guess.

  5. Rose*

    Sometimes I don’t really want to meet face-to-face or even over the phone with people who seem to need A LOT of help. I feel like I have more clarity and objectivity when I write, so I write a long email with some tips and resources. Like you could write:
    -Have at least two other people read your resume for typos and other problems (I noticed a typo under “blah blah”, third line)
    -Put your most relevant experience at the top
    -Try using the resume templates in Word or Pages
    -Read Ask a Manager :)

    Just be careful to be constructive and not to dump too hard on her. Keep things general where ever possible and point her to good resources.

  6. Just Laura*

    It would be so great if you helped her out. She sounds like she does not even know how far off she is. You would be such an asset. Please report back, OP!

  7. Cher*

    OP, I don’t think this recent grad is interested in being “spoon-fed” if she hasn’t really asked you any questions about the work you do, how you got there, or about your industry. It sounds to me like she just wants to know if you know of any job opportunities. Clearly, she’s not looking for a mentor if she’s not asking you other questions. In fact, it doesn’t even sound like the grad herself sent you the resume, so maybe you are getting a different impression from the person who forwarded it to you, than what the grad is actually looking for. All I’m saying is, I feel like you might be reading into the situation too much.

    1. Lanya*

      I agree, I think the OP is assuming this person wants a mentor-mentee relationship, but the grad is just looking for a job opening.

      1. Nikki J.*

        Whether she’s interested or not there is no harm in someone offering advice as a seasoned professional. The worst she can say is “no thank you” and then the OP moves on. As a higher educator I know that these college grads aren’t leaving universities with the proper preparation. They want mentors, advice and good examples of leadership. Mentorship is also beneficial both ways and would actually be great professional development for the OP as well.

      2. AnotherAlison*

        The problem I have seen with new grads is that they ARE just looking for a job opening — but they are not going to have much luck when they find one because they aren’t following any good advice. The few people I have taken the time to meet with have disregarded my advice about resumes, networking, etc.

        Example: Recent grad tells me her dream job is at XYZ company. The next week I’m talking to a new HR recruiter at my company who tells me he came from XYZ company just a few months ago. He knows all the recruiters still and would be happy to talk to Recent Grad and introduce her to the right person. Recent Grad never called him. She did submit her resume through XYZ’s online system & got an immediate rejection. Yeah. I know how the world works. You, Ms. New Grad, don’t. So listen to the advice people are taking the time to give you.

        1. Ivy*

          I think this could have come from one of two places, either laziness or intimidation. If its the former, I understand the frustration, but if its the latter, I can kind of sympathize with the New Grad. For all the reasons Sophie mentioned above, it can be hard to step out of your comfort zone and approach people (and not feel like your pestering them). It’s also possible that she doesn’t understand the implications of networking (Re: its the difference between being passed over and hired).

        2. Jen in RO*

          I’m not a recent grad and I would still be scared to contact someone directly about a job. I’d think I’m being too pushy and actually ruining my chances.

          1. Diane*

            But good networking isn’t about asking for a job. It’s about contacting professionals in roles you’d like to be in someday and ask how they got there and how you can prepare yourself. If you do that and make it clear you’re open to constructive feedback, you will get some valuable insights, and as a bonus, you may hear about some great opportunities.

        3. Chaucer*

          I’ve done this before; I met someone at a job fair, was told to apply online AND to also contact him. I did both right away, but he never got back to me. It goes both ways.

  8. businesslady*

    I’m interested in seeing how this plays out. I’ve been approached twice by recent/soon-to-be grads about getting together for coffee or otherwise meeting with me to learn about my career path…& both times, the would-be networker never actually confirmed the meeting. even after I sent a follow-up email.

    the person who was still a student responded apologetically–& I get that your senior year is a busy time–but the recent grad never responded at all. & the irony there was that an entry-level position opened up at my organization shortly after that exchange, which was exactly in alignment with her stated career goals in her initial email. but since I didn’t actually “know” her (other than that she seemed flaky), I couldn’t in good conscience give her a heads-up about it.

    1. the gold digger*

      Had you guys actually set a meeting time and place and did they not show up? Or did you not get to that point because they didn’t confirm?

      I ask because once I had arranged to meet a friend for dinner via email. The arrangements were made maybe two weeks before the planned dinner. On the night, I waited and waited at the restaurant. My friend, an older lady (she was in her mid-60s at the time), never appeared.

      I finally called her because I was worried that something had happened. She told me that because I had never called her to confirm, she assumed the dinner was off. But we had AGREED! We had agreed by email that we would meet! We had a time and a place. It was on my calendar. Why would I call her to remind her?

      I am wondering if your situation was something like that.

      1. Kelly L.*

        I have an acquaintance like that. It drives me nuts! Either she’ll unilaterally decide plans are off because there was no “confirmation,” or she’ll continually ask “So, is xyz still on?” I wish I could just convince her that, once plans are made, assume they’re still on unless somebody actually says otherwise!

      2. Ivy*

        I’m guilty of this! Mostly because things tend to come up in my life and the other persons life (Students, working, clubs, etc). So, when we agree on the time and place, I’ll put it in my calendar, but if we’re planning anything more than a week in advance, I’ll call/text the night before to make sure we’re still on.

        1. Chinook*

          This is a thing to do? I thought that was only for medical appointments (and even then I would go even if they didn’t confirm it)?

          1. Ivy*

            Maybe it’s an age thing? I’m still a student so it would be pretty unheard of for someone to make plans with you 2 weeks in advance, not follow up, and then be upset that you didn’t show up. A follow up is the expectation… Schedules are just too hectic…

            This only applies for personal relationships. Obviously if it was a professional meeting I would show up with no followup. Although to be honest I would still call before to confirm.

            I’m actually kind of surprised the follow-up isn’t common practice. Life comes up, and it gives the other person the opportunity to reschedule if they need.

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              I agree there’s no problem with doing that with personal relationships, but I wouldn’t check in to confirm professional appointments like a job interview unless the person has asked you to or maybe if it’s more of a networking thing. Occasionally someone will check with me the day before a scheduled interview to confirm that it’s still on, and it makes me think, “Why wouldn’t it be? Do you not take appointments seriously once they’re made?” I’m not holding it against them, but I do get mildly annoyed by it.

              1. Ivy*

                I think I should have defined what I meant by “professional meeting” a little more. I would never confirm the time of an interview, but I would confirm if, i.e., I asked to meet with someone for coffee to ask them questions about their industry/career. Obviously, only if the meeting was made significantly in advance (to me significant is 2 weeks).

      3. businesslady*

        no, they didn’t stand me up–they just never followed up to actually set a meeting. & after a certain point it’s like, “hey, I have other things to do; I’m not going to chase you down like, ‘come talk to me! I’m an amazing mentor!'”

        I mention this here because two people seemed to suggest a trend. in case any youngish folks are reading this, don’t bother reaching out to someone if you’re not actually going to follow through. otherwise, you just get on their radar in a slightly negative way, which is arguably worse than never attempting to network in the first place.

        1. Jill*

          Speaking as a recent grad, I can understand your frustration with my generation and their lack of follow through. I think part of it has to do with the naivety of applying for jobs. I have a friend who would find a job posting that was exactly what they wanted and would stop looking for jobs, networking etc until they heard back from that job. I think for whatever reason college grads aren’t getting the frank, honest information they need about the new era of job hunting. I’m lucky because I had parents who gave me a dose of reality and reading AAM has really helped me.

      4. Kou*

        I don’t get this AT ALL! I know people who do this– if you make plans they don’t actually stick to them unless they hear from you again a day or two before confirming that you’re still doing to do it. I even know people who have stood up dates because their date didn’t talk to them again in the week or two between when they planned the date and the date itself.

        What’s with this?

  9. K*

    On the industry association meetings, it sounds like she didn’t respond positively (or at all?) to that suggestion? If that’s the case, one thing to keep in mind is that – if your industry is anything like mine – those can be extremely expensive for a recent grad who doesn’t have an employer to foot the bill. Especially since the “student rates” don’t always apply after graduation. So she might not be ungrateful for the suggestion, but might well not have any way to attend and feel uncomfortable saying “I can’t afford it to you.” (I don’t know if that’s the case at all, but something to consider if it seemed like she was being dismissive.)

    1. OP*

      She didn’t respond at all to my suggestion. One organization in particular, the meetings are FREE (including a box lunch) for members. Membership is $80 annually, less for students, but as I happen to work closely with president of said organization, I’m sure he’d let a recent grad attend a meeting for free without being a member.

      1. Susie*

        “Membership is $80 annually, less for students, but as I happen to work closely with president of said organization, I’m sure he’d let a recent grad attend a meeting for free without being a member.”

        Which is excellent but if you haven’t told this to her she’s not going to know this is a possibility and could be ignoring that topic for financial reasons.

        $80 doesn’t sound like a lot when you’ve got a stable career, but it really is when you’re a new grad and can’t get student discounts on things anymore.

        What if this situation were the other way around? Say you didn’t know the president at the organization but when you brought up the possibility of attending those meetings she started asking you about ways to get in for free? Would that turn you off helping her?

        I know I would *never* bring up the fact that I can’t afford to participate in these organizations to a professional I just met. I wouldn’t bring it up even now with someone that’s been mentoring me for a while. Is there any good way to bring up personal finances in a business context?

        1. Not So NewReader*

          This. I still wrestle with this one as a middle aged adult. The phrasing I have been using is “Well, that is not doable for me right now, but I am very, very interested in this organization.”

          Truth be told, I watch ever single penny.

          Personally, I hate it when people say things such as “If it is important to you then you will find a way.”
          Sure, the bank won’t mind if I skip a mortgage payment. No prob.

  10. Hello Vino*

    OP, it’s great that you’re interested in helping this recent grad! When I graduated, I met with several professionals in my industry. They were mostly people that my professors put me in touch with. Others were just professionals, like the OP, who just wanted to help. I got a lot of great advice, and it helped me get my foot in the door. The one thing, though, that was missing was the “Can I be blunt with you?” approach that Allison brought up. Looking back, I wish many of the professionals I met with were more critical and shared more on how to network, rather than just general “how to get a job in this industry” advice.

  11. JK*

    I’m not a recent grad (by any stretch!), but I have learned a lot by reading AAM! When I was younger, I thought that networking had failed if I didn’t come out of a first(!) meeting with someone with a job offer or at least a tip about an opening. AAM is right – people looking for work sometimes get the most awful advice.

  12. Lisa*

    Maybe OP could send her an example of an entry-level resume that highlights a new grad, but basically spell out for her in an email that the examples pushes the relevant internships to the top of the resume. Then ask her to send it back to you. At that point, if she listened to your advice , her resume may be improved enough to send it to the job you know about. You can then offer to take her to coffee, and then coach her to talk about her internships, why she wants to be in this field, then mentioned that everyone in the field has a story of how and why they work in it. Encourage to always ask interviewers how they started.

  13. Not So NewReader*

    This can be an extremely awkward and painful process for newbies- at any age.
    OP, I would toss out a couple suggestions. Then stop. Wait to see if she takes any of the suggestions. I am thinking of something that looks like this:
    “Recent grad, here are suggestions A, B and C. Here are resources x,y and z. See how far you can get with this stuff, and come back to me to let me know how it is going for you.” Notice the format- you send her out to do something and you will talk with her once she has worked on her next steps.

    If she does not come back to you then your question here is answered. If she does come back to you she will have “meat and potatoes” questions that you can really dig into.

    This may sound harsh, but I don’t believe in helping people who are not helping themselves. Can’t make the horse drink the water. However, if a person makes a half-baked (my opinion!) attempt at doing something, I will continue working with them. I find that people who really have no intention of progressing, drift away from me.
    This woman is making an attempt to help herself. It just needs some tweaking. It could be that she never comes back to you.
    Or maybe she comes right back a couple days later.
    I would encourage you to keep doing this with people as your time allows. I am in awe of your willingness to put in time helping. We never know just how much we can change other people’s work life.

  14. Anonymous*

    Greatest piece of advice I was ever given: when you are finally put in touch with someone, ask them for one specific thing. Ask them for a piece of advice, or to forward your resume to the hiring manager, or for a 20 minute phone call, or send them a few questions in an email about the industry you are interested in.

    We are all tremendously busy and when people contact us with vague requests for ‘help’ they get shoved to the bottom of the pile. Part of the issue is that young people have a lot of free time and don’t understand how completely crunched a lot of people are all day and that sometimes you literally don’t have time to talk on the phone, let alone a meandering back and forth about how you could help that person.

    1. Josh S*

      ‘Help’ is a bad thing to ask for unless it’s followed up with specifics.

      Major injury has occurred to someone on the street. Onlookers are gathered.
      If you ask for ‘help’ from the crowd, nobody knows what to do or how to help, and assumes that ‘someone else’ will take action.
      If you specifically point to A person and say, “You, call 911.” and “You, come here and keep pressure on this spot” you’ll get the ‘help’ you need.

      When you’re looking to network, you’ve got a crowd of onlookers/networking folks.
      If you ask for ‘help’ or ‘keep me in mind for any opportunities’ you see, nobody knows how to help or what to do for you, and assumes that ‘someone else’ will take action.
      If you ask specific people to take specific actions, you’ll get the help you need.
      Friend in the industry you want to break into? “Do you have 20 minutes to talk on the phone? I’d like to find out the industry’s culture, the qualifications people look for, and some job descriptions/titles I can be looking for based on the current point in my career. And to hear how you got into the industry.”
      Someone who works at the company you dream of working for? “I’d love to work at Company some day. Here’s my qualifications. Is there anything they generally look for that is glaringly absent from my resume? If I were to apply for a job, what sort of position do you think I’d be a good fit for? Do you know anyone in that department that I could send my resume to?”

      1. twentymilehike*

        JoshS, I really like this advice.

        Even just doing business on a daily basis I run into this so much, and I catch myself doing it, also. Specific requests get specific answers, and they are easy to organize into a “task list.” Really genearlly questions or requests do get moved to the “when I have time” pile … which sadly, is a pretty rare occasion, since new “specific” requests keep popping up.

        I’ve also learned that being assertive is an art. There is a fine line between being pushy and being too mild that you don’t get your point across! Some people take a long, long time to learn this–I was one of them–but once you get it, you’re golden.

  15. Josh S*

    I like AAM’s wording and direction, and my following suggestion may be a little bit harsh, but it also might ‘light the fire’ or be the ‘swift kick in the butt’ to get the recent grad on the right track.

    If it were me, I’d say something like, “You know, I’m not able to pass along any opportunities to you at this time. And honestly, it’s not because they don’t exist, but because I think you’d have a hard chance of progressing with your current resume and networking tactics. I think you *could* be a good candidate, but there are some things you’d need to do to get over the hurdle to get your foot in the door and get an interview.”

    Then either “Let’s sit down for coffee and talk” or just jump into “here’s what to do differently.”

    I’m a blunt person. But I think sometimes the bluntness is required to cut through the oodles of bad job hunting advice that the recent grad has gotten from friends, family, and inept career centers.

    1. Ivy*

      I feel like this might be overkill. I don’t think there’s a point in saying “there’s an opportunity, but I’m not giving it to you.” I think this antagonizes the New Grad and any more help you offer will fall on deaf ears. I would just lead with the advice. “Do this with your resume, change this with your approach, meet for coffee, etc.”

      There’s a difference between being blunt and saying unnecessarily (and hurtful) things. As a blunt person myself, I’ve learned to choose my battles and fully employ a necessity filter.

      1. Josh S*

        I hear ya. And as a blunt personality, I’m very much aware of myself and the impact of my bluntness.

        That said, the reason I suggested being so blunt is that I suspect the recent grad doesn’t know that this stuff is hurting him. So saying, “There *is* an opportunity, but you’re not up to it because of X, Y, and Z that you can fix, and I’m willing to help you fix those things!” might just be the way to get through to the person.

        Yeah, I guess that’s assuming a lot about the recent grad (and recent grads in general), but I’ve seen enough lousy advice given and taken that it makes me think some advice needs more ‘oomph’ than others. I dunno.

        Maybe I’m too blunt. Like I said from the get-go, it might come across harshly.

        1. Ivy*

          I think you might be giving the New Grad a little too much credit. It takes a certain self awareness to think “wow I should really listen to what this person is saying because it obviously hurt my chances of getting this job.” Most people will think “wow this person is such a jerk and really mean! I don’t wanna listen to anymore of this!”… Assuming OP wants to genuinely help, I don’t think starting off on this foot will get her/his meaningful messages across.

          I guess what I’m saying is that I totally agree with what your trying to get across, but that in practice I think you risk the other person getting overly defensive from the beginning and not leaving with the right message. People let their pride trip them up.

          1. Josh S*

            I see your side. Not sure I agree 100%, and the effectiveness probably depends on the kid/grad who you’re dealing with. In either case, we agree on substance, but not delivery. I’m OK with that.

  16. anon-2*

    I can recall – at age 22, having a conversation with an HR rep – and resume guidance — when I had applied for a job for which I wasn’t qualified.

    Tremendous advice.

    You must also remember, that people give young grads bad guidance. I can recall, in 1990, at the low point of a recession, the company I worked for had an opening, for someone with a specific skills set. Specific experience.

    We had 400 responses to the ad. The good news was, five of us went through the stacks of replies, and out of those, we had around 15 viable candidates. But over 200 of those were people who apparently were just flailing. Having just come from the ranks of the unemployed for a few months, I could understand where they’re coming from and why they’re replying.

    I can recall my parents telling me “why don’t you apply here? Why don’t you reply to this ad?” — in the IS/IT/software field, if someone spends $5,000 to place an ad in a major newspaper, they want SPECIFIC skills. They’re not going to hire “just anyone”. And, I’m sure that’s the result.

    Likewise, the good “employment counselors” at unemployment offices can dish out guidance, while never having gone through a cycle of unemployment themselves. So there are a lot of people giving out, and getting bad advice.

  17. Josh S*

    Considering all the bad advice that’s out there for new grads, would you ever consider writing a new eBook for “How to Get a Job (For Recent Graduates)”? I mean, it would be largely the same as your current eBook, but tailored to counteract all the lousy myths that are out there, with information on ‘appropriate’ business-culture norms, and how to ACTUALLY go about writing a resume, working your network, utilizing your school’s career center and/or alumni association, etc.

    I think there’s a market for that. Especially all the helicopter parents who would buy it for their kids…

      1. DeAnna*

        I would definitely give that book as a gift to several college students that I know (Christmas is coming, so I’m thinking about useful gifts!) You should definitely do it! (In all your excessive spare time, I know.)

        (This post brought to you by the parenthesis.)

        1. Josh S*

          Seriously though, I know a bunch of students who could really benefit from this sort of a book, and I bet there’s some career centers who would buy it too…

    1. Christina*

      Actually, I’d like to help with that. Maybe Alison can gather chapters written by her fans so she doesn’t have to do all the work. And we get publishing credit. I actually did a presentation for recent grads of a technical writing program but it can be generalized for all grads. What do you think, Alison?

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        I would love to say yes to something like that, but I am insanely picky and would feel horrible if I didn’t use someone’s submission. I’d also feel weird about selling work that wasn’t totally mine. I will think about it though!

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Am not sure of what all is involved- but perhaps some of the proceeds could go to supporting the continuation of this forum in some manner? People who “donate” advice could get credit in the book?

    2. Stella*

      I think that’s a great idea. I’m involved in mentoring and would love to be able to recommend that type of resource.

    3. Anonymous*

      This is such a good idea. A lot of recent grads still have parents of the “JUST SHOW UP AND ASK FOR AN INTERVIEW” generation. I’m 25 and my parents are pretty young (under 50) and still give me this advice. I never networked in college or as a recent grad because I didn’t know how. I felt rude asking people who were obviously busy with their careers(that I didn’t even know) for favors. I just didn’t know what the heck I was doing.

    4. Meg Murry*

      I think this is great, although I would suggest it more as “How to Get a Job ONCE you graduate” – because a lot of job seeking advice actually revolves around what you do in college as well. For instance, my company places a strong emphasis on hiring new grads with internship experience, which is something that should be done while still in school. Then advice on how to maintain the relationships developed at said internships to turn them into jobs, etc etc.

      Maybe a 2 part book – while in school, and “So now that you’ve graduated” and how to handle if you DIDN’T have the advice from part 1 until after you graduated.

  18. Meg Murry*

    I think you should help this person as much as you are comfortable with. Its really hard for recent graduates to reach out like this, so even if you can give her one piece of advice, that’s one thing she didn’t have before. Did any professionals ever do something nice for you in your past, like proofread a resume or have coffee with you and talk about the industry? If so, this is a nice way to pay it forward. I got a few really good breaks at the beginning of my career from some alumni at my college, so now I try to pay it forward as an alumnus myself for some basic resume writing tips or suggestions for companies in an industry to check out every so often.

  19. Chaucer*

    It has been almost two years since I graduated and I still have yet to land a job in my field, only being able to work retail so far with little room for advancement in that. After going through numerous luncheons through my alumni center which have people who are not really interested in you if you are in my situation, a very subpar career center and numerous dead ends, a person like you could be a huge oasis in a large and unforgiving desert. That person is probably someone who is lost, scared and has no idea where to go next, and you might just be that push that can help her break out of this slump.

    Please put yourself in our positions.

  20. OP*

    Thanks for the perspective everyone! After I sent the question to Alison, I emailed the recent grad and asked if she would be interested in the opening I knew of (I asked because it’s a sales job, and not everyone can/will do sales) and she asked me if I thought it would “help her career”. Argh! That was a really frustrating question for me to read because she has very little industry experience and is currently working an unrelated job. :/

    1. OP*

      One other thing that I didn’t mention in my email to Alison (for the sake of brevity and clarity): I asked the new grad in my first email to her what she was interested in doing in my field. Maybe she doesn’t know, which is fine, but she never answered, even if it was to say she had no idea. She did send a thank-you type reply, but basically ignored the leading questions I asked her. Perhaps she thought they were merely rhetorical?

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Yes. I know I would. I would assume you meant find the answers inside my own head. I would not presume to burden you with my detail.
        And to your previous post- I would have said “yes, this will help your career, but in baby steps. This puts you in the arena. Currently you are not even working in this field. You need to at least get your toe in the door.”

        Not singling you out, OP, but people take for granted how much they have learned about their industry. I think that a lot of mentoring involves answering questions that are painfully obvious to the professional AND involves remedial work, too.

        Look at the difference here:
        “Have you thought about what area of this industry is of interest to you?”
        Verses this statement here:
        “Please email me back and tell me what areas of this industry appeal to you.”

        The first statement I would take as “Go think about this.”
        The second statement tells me what my next action is with you.

  21. OP*

    Good points! That makes a lot of sense. I haven’t had the time to thoughtfully respond to the new grad, so I’ll definitely take all the info I’ve gotten here into consideration.

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