should I let my parents help me network?

It’s the Thursday “ask the readers” question. A reader writes:

My question is about networking and family. My parents and I are in the same field, and I definitely was helped from the very beginning of my career by their experience and connections. Now that I’m finishing graduate school however, I feel that I want to take a fully independent approach to my job searching.

My mother was unfortunately a bit upset when I turned down her offer to connect me with some people she knows in one of the companies I’m somewhat interested in applying to. My view is that I don’t want people to see me as someone’s daughter and have my merits stand on their own, and I don’t want to be swayed by my mother’s interests. Am I being stubborn and giving up on important information and connections by rejecting my mother’s help?

Probably, but you’re also allowed to be uncomfortable with it. Readers, what’s your take?

{ 188 comments… read them below }

  1. Rayray*

    I think networking is a great tool and you should network with anyone. It sounds like she just wants to introduce you to people you can talk to which is exactly what anyone should Be doing. If if were actually nepotism, as in she just gave you a job you were unqualified for, I’d be against it, but there’s nothing wrong with getting connected with people or companies in an honest way. It’s one of the best ways to find a job in my opinion.

    1. TimeTravlR*

      I’d go along with this. It took me far too long to take advantage of my network. Use it, don’t abuse it!

    2. Escapee from Corporate Management*

      Agree completely. When my daughter was leaving college, I told her to go through my LinkedIn and I would gladly introduce her to people who she thought might help her career. I have made the same offer to many colleagues. I don’t see this as any different.

    3. Tinkerbell*

      Yep – let your parents treat you as peers and network that way, but don’t let them set you up as their little precious and whoever hires you would be doing them a favor.

      1. Tinkerbell*

        ETA: this also depends a lot on your parents. Can you trust them to treat you as an adult, or will they treat you using their network connections as a reason to infantilize you as you start your new career? Will they introduce you to someone and then back off, or will they then call the person you’ve been networking with and grill them on how their little baby was doing? Some parents can be ridiculously slow to accept that their adult children are, well, adults… others have been treating them with dignity their whole lives.

        1. Sadie*

          This is the right advice. Depends on how good the parents are at appropriate boundaries with adult children.

        2. Nameless in Customer Service*

          I was just about to say this but Tinkerbell said it better.

      2. JSPA*

        I like this framing.

        Now, let’s first stipulate, because this doesn’t get said, explicitly:

        we talk out of both sides of our mouths when we

        a) talk about lowering barriers for people who come from families and educational backgrounds that give them few or no “ins” on any professional network, while at the same time, b) we lean in on networking.

        This is especially so in the early stages of careers, where anyone’s network is disproprotionately family, friends of family, school with cachet (and it’s pool of alums) etc, and when we don’t really have a body of work or pattern of professional experience that someone can know us for, and vouch for.

        But the same is true for contacts who know you in a completely unrelated job context: “they always smile when they pick up the dogs for their walk” is not a useful basis for recommending someone for a technical position you know nothing about.

        But, “I’m in the same field as my parents” means that in this particular case, they are both personal and professional contacts, and they are positioned to assess your skills.

        My guess would be, using your experience to pave the way for others with less experience is going to be more powerful than refusing contacts that come through your parents. You can become the person who doesn’t look down on the applicant who smells a bit funky because after escaping a dangerous relationship, they’re living out of their car. Or who has great letters, but from an unknown program at an underwhelming institution, plus managers at the local 24 hour convenience store.

        You can’t realistically hope that not making contacts and competing for jobs now, means that these hypothetical people will get the job that you’d otherwise be getting.

        1. FrenchCusser*

          If that actually happens.

          It’s really HARD for privileged people to realize that their privilege is a gift and not an achievement.

          Kudos to this person if they do, but it’s going to take a LOT of self-examination and self-work to overcome that sense of entitlement.

    4. Cj*

      I totally agree. Her connections might get you an interview, but it’s not going to get you the job, so I don’t think you would be looked on as “somebody’s daughter”.

      1. Tinkerbell*

        Confession: my spouse got their first job out of college because my ever-so-friendly MIL got to chatting with her seatmate on a plane and, upon learning that he ran a computer company, said “You should hire my son!” The interview was half an hour of this dude telling my spouse how great the job was. (Spoiler: it wasn’t, but my spouse stuck it out for a year and had a much stronger resume afterward.)

    5. Allornone*

      This. I had such a hard time getting out of retail. Even with a specialized Master’s degree, it was so hard to get a good foot in the door to my field. My stepsister-in-law passed my resume along to the Executive Director of an organization she was affiliated with. That lifeline jumpstarted my professional career. They agreed to meet with me because of her, but I got and excelled in the job because of me. I eventually moved on and up from that position, but I will forever hold that invaluable opportunity dear.

      If not for that one contact, really my only contact, I may still be working in bookstores, provided I hadn’t been laid off due to the fact no one goes to book stores anymore.

    6. Sparkles McFadden*

      Yep…this is regular networking.

      I get where you’re coming from LW but I say take the introductions but don’t let your mom be involved beyond the introductions. Don’t let a parent sit in while you’re talking to someone or intervene on your behalf in any way beyond introductions.

      I have met with some coworker’s kids in this manner and it was just regular networking. One kid had a very overly involved parent and…that was not good.

    7. Hats Are Great*

      When I was applying for jobs this year, leveraging my family network was such a huge benefit for me. My BIL had a relative at my target company, who was delighted to talk to me about the company’s interview process (he was not in the same area I was applying for, and it’s a very large company, but he was able to talk to me about what the company tends to be looking for in interviews etc.). My SIL’s sister is in HR and helped me workshop my resume and do some interview prep. People just really wanted to help me out and connect me to other people who could help me out. I got the job on my own merits — the interview process was intense! — but family and friends helped me edit my resume and make it shine, and they helped me with interview prep, and they connected me with people who could tell me more about the company I was targeting. But people were really generous with their time, information, and expertise if we had a friend or family member in common!

      And the thing is, when a friend’s kid asks for my advice on getting into my field, or someone says they have a sister interested in my company, I am always super delighted to help them out — I like helping other people! So I have slowly learned not to feel weird about other people liking to help me. Most people like to do others a solid.

      If your parents are super-overbearing or are gatekeepers in your field, I’d hesitate. But if they’re just like “Oh, Linda works at IBM, let me put you in touch with her!” that is totally a connection you should make.

      When I took the Bar Exam and had to do the whole character & fitness evaluation, I had to provide a BUNCH of letters of recommendation about how I was honest and ethical, and they couldn’t be from family or from law school classmates, but the people had to have known me well for three or more years (that’s a tough thing to find when you exclude family and classmates!). Several of those came from my parents’ friends who’d known me since I was a little kid! It was kind-of a big ask, since there was a whole PROCESS, but they were all really flattered to be asked. And now that I’m a mom I totally get it — my daughter’s dance teacher is a high school student who teaches preschoolers, and she’s AMAZING, and at the end of a session when the kids did their little recital, I stopped at the end to talk to her and HER mom, to be sure her mom knew how great her daughter was (moms love to hear that!), and let them know that when the dance teacher was doing her college applications, I would be beyond delighted to provide a letter of recommendation. (Or a letter for community awards or scholarships or anything else!) She’s an amazing kid and I want her to succeed! I would legitimately be tickled pink to tell colleges how great she is and how much they should want to admit her.

    8. allathian*

      Yeah, this. Both of my parents are scientists in the same field who met during their first year at university. My sister chose the same career path, and their help was invaluable when she first started out. She learned to take the rough with the smooth when older professionals in her field said something like the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree or that she’s a chip off the old block.

      But my dad retired on disability almost 25 years ago and my mom retired 10 years ago, and now she’s making a name for herself all on her own, and it’s likely she’ll advance further than either of our parents, and that’s completely thanks to her talent and efforts.

  2. Johnny Karate*

    I think it somewhat depends on the job market in your field. My field has not really become a job seeker’s market like some have, so I would take any advantage I can get. I don’t think there’s a wrong answer here, though, just whatever you’re comfortable with.

    1. EagleRay*

      I agree that it probably depends on the field, but I think this is a “yes and” situation. In addition to your own networking you can set up informational interviews with your mother’s contacts, but if they’re interested in your skillset they might recommend you on to other companies etc that would be based on your own merits.

  3. Hills to Die on*

    I could see it being okay if she just makes the introduction versus being more involved in getting you a job, Most people get jobs via networking rather than ‘cold’ introductions. As long as you keep it there and she promises not to do anything else other than introduce you I think you are still standing on your own merit. It’s okay to take advantage of that connection – most people do!

    1. SheLooksFamiliar*

      ‘As long as you keep it there and she promises not to do anything else other than introduce you I think you are still standing on your own merit.’

      I second this. I’ve had colleagues introduce me to their kids, and that was the only time I spoke to the parent. But the parents who insisted on being part of the call or meeting, or tried to drive the discussion in a certain way? I shut it down hard. In most of these cases, the kids were clearly uncomfortable with their parent’s behavior, and I contacted them directly to do what I could.

      1. Other Alice*

        Thirded. I got an internship with a professor who was an acquaintance of my mother’s. Her involvement was limited to learning he had an opening and telling him that her daughter would be sending her resume. I would have been very uncomfortable with anything more!

    2. Sharon*

      I agree. If your mom knows somebody that might be helpful, she could ask them if they mind if she gives you their contact information, but YOU should be the one doing all the initiating and follow up, setting up calls/meetings, etc., and you should know what you are looking to achieve with the help of this person, come prepared with questions, etc.

      Whether a relative introduces you or someone else does, you want to avoid the impression that the introducer is more interested in your career than you are. You don’t want it to seem like you are just meeting with them because your mommy set it up for you.

  4. Dr. Rebecca*

    Do they want to help because you’re Their Daughter, or because you’re a junior member of their field and that’s what they’d do for any junior member with whom they have a connection? Are they going to focus on “look what Our Daughter” has done, or are they going to focus on “LW, as a junior member, has x, y, and z to contribute to the future of the field”? Basically, can you trust them to maintain professionalism and boundaries, and not bring family matters to work, or work matters to the family dinner table? If no, then that’s reasonable of you. If yes, then you have a valuable connection and you should use it.

    1. Dr. Rebecca*

      I ask because I’m super glad my parents and I are in different fields, because they–specifically my dad–would be all “look what my kid has done!” and it would be excruciating.

      1. Lab Lady*

        Are you me?

        My dad introduced me to my first supervisor and I probably got the summer student gig because of him (not his lab or his field).

        I’m now a PI running my own lab, and I do know that that initial connection gave me a leg up at the very beginning, but everything else has been me.

        My dad and I are in different fields, but we have collaborators who collaborate with each other so our professional circles overlap on the peripheries — and he has totally done the “look at what my kid has done” at least once and it was excruciating.

          1. Lab Lady*

            The worst was his comments on a conference talk I gave that posted all the sessions to You Tube….

    2. ABCYaBye*

      I think this is great advice. If LW’s parents are introducing her the same way they’d introduce another newly graduated individual they know, that’s perfect. But if it is MOM introducing MY DAUGHTER that could get a little uncomfortable.

      I’m leaning heavily toward “take the opportunity to network” but just proceeding with a bit of caution.

  5. CatCat*

    If she’s offering to make a connection, I would take her up on that. I would not loop her in on any calls, emails, or meet-ups.

    You know your mom best so if she would be overbearing or intrusive then I would say no (like if you know she’ll be hassling you or the other person about the connection), that would give me concern and I probably wouldn’t. But if this is the same level of making a connection that a friend, classmate, or colleague might make (make the intro, then step away), I wouldn’t shoot myself in the foot because she’s my mother.

  6. Tired Social Worker*

    Networking can be helpful but I think it depends on the nature of the relationship. If your parents are in the top of their field and NOT hiring you could negatively impact the person you are connected with then the stain of “you only got hired because of who your parents are” might follow you even that is not the case.

  7. CC34*

    For me, this would highly depend on what your parents are like in general: I personally would have forbidden my mother from doing this too because she has a tendency to go way overboard and get too involved when trying to “help” me and the way she would have handled it would likely have hurt me professionally more than it would have helped. But if your parents would take a more laid-back approach: not pushing anyone for anything, but being like “Hey Lucinda, my child X is looking to get a job in Y and I would love if you could let me know if you hear of anything” then perhaps that’s worth taking advantage of. But for me it really depends on what your parents’ version of help looks like and whether you’re comfortable with that. It’s fine to not be.

    1. Ilima*

      Yeah as the daughter of an overbearing mother, I know there’s no “helping” in half measures, and accepting an introduction would open the door to a lot of intrusive involvement that could make me look like a child in the eyes of my coworkers.

    2. Warrior Princess Xena*

      For me it would depend also on what field my parents are in. I know in this case OP is in the same field as their parents which has the potential to blur the boundaries even more. I wonder if having parents in a different-but-related field might change how iffy this feels.

    3. Smithy*

      In addition to sector advice – I think this is another good feature.

      My mom works in an industry where there are enough rigid HR practices in place, where getting a job 100% through nepotism isn’t entirely possible. However, early in my career when she did have connections that would help me, she has no concept of half measures. So instead of that light touch of letting me know when relevant jobs were posted, which areas would be most relevant for me, and general info on events where I might meet peers/those looking to hire soon – she could never stop there. She’d be the one taking people out to lunch to talk me up, she’d follow up on their hiring processes, etc.

      Again, it was a process she could only impact so much and the job I did ultimately get came from those light touch insights (knowing a job would be posted soon by someone who needed to hire fast, wouldn’t have a large candidate pool). But overall I learned her mode was all in or all out. And at the time, she would say I got the job through my own hard work – but when I left, she’d talk about being so proud about doing everything on my own.

      I’m not going to pretend my mom didn’t ultimately help me get that first job, but for the larger parent-child relationship – it was far worse than how it helped my professional life.

    4. Office Lobster DJ*

      +1 Yes, the ultimate answer is going to hinge on the parents. OP said they’ve accepted help in the past and are currently somewhat worried about being swayed by their mom’s interests. That’s a sign to me that there’s something more complex going on than just OP’s pride.

      If OP’s parents have a tendency to get overly involved and bulldozery with even the smallest opening, and OP doesn’t feel it’s worth it, I think “I want to do this on my own” is a perfectly good line to hold, even if it doesn’t tell the whole story.

      If OP’s parents are likely to stick to any boundaries OP sets (e.g. maybe it’s passing along contact info to OP but letting OP do the connecting, maybe it’s waiting for OP to ask “do you know anyone at X?”) and let OP do the driving, then I think OP should really consider it.

  8. PRM*

    Yes. Because we don’t live in a meritocracy, and you should leverage every advantage you have. (Remember: those in power do.) Sure, do it on your terms, but know there is no virtue in not doing so.

      1. Charlotte Lucas*

        I think many people do, but “most” is probably an overstatement.

        The two jobs I’ve gotten through networking were at an ice cream store & a temp job in a bindery. I was a poor college student & happy to get them, but I have not replied heavily on networking in my professional jobs. (I have helped others get theirs, though.)

        1. Meep*

          The “most” comes from the fact that 70% of jobs are filled before they even hit public employment websites like Indeed or LinkedIn. The result is networking.

          Additionally, you are more likely to get a job if you have a job. Getting that first job often requires networking. Since we are being anecdotal here, my cousin couldn’t find a job until my grandmother stepped in. She was not in his field (mining) but her friend’s husband is. Once he got that job, it was much easier for him to find a new one.

          1. Ali + Nino*

            “The “most” comes from the fact that 70% of jobs are filled before they even hit public employment websites like Indeed or LinkedIn.”

            Source? Allison has questioned/debunked this claim for years.

            1. Threeve*

              I think this is one of those “you need to drink eight glasses of water a day” style claims. It sounds plausible, let’s run with it.

              If it’s anywhere approaching true, I’m guessing “networking” includes things like professional associations or industry-specific job boards. Those aren’t big aggregate sites, but you’re still finding a job because someone posted it online.

            2. I went to school with only 1 Jennifer*

              Right? I’ve been seeing this statement my entire working life (so, 4 decades) and things have changed so much since then. I mean, it used to be looking thru the classified ads in the paper! So maybe this was true in 1955 or 1975, and maybe even 1995, but is it still true today, in the world of LinkedIn and the like?

    1. Washi*

      And if part of what’s bothering you is that you have this advantage, pay it back in a few years! Mentor/advise other young professionals, make introductions, etc. I don’t think turning down some networking opportunities now will make a meaningful difference to anyone but you, but you could make that difference later when you’re established in the field.

      1. Marny*

        Exactly what I was going to suggest. Use the connections to become more successful, then send the elevator back down for others who need it.

        1. AnonaLlama*

          I love this framing. “Send the elevator back down”.

          Agree, OP, you can impact change once you’re in a position of some power, but you need to get to that position first. Take the introductions.

    2. Not Tom, Just Petty*

      “there is no virtue in not doing so”
      shout this from the rooftops.
      OP. Take to heart everyone here explaining the optimum way for you to use this opportunity.
      And that includes what Washi writes about paying it forward.
      It may happen just in a few years and you see an opportunity for a grad school classmate, help them out.
      Make the best out of the world you are living in.

    3. oranges*

      “A family member connected us once.”

      Is not the same as:

      “My CEO dad donated $10M to get me into Harvard and then made me an executive vice president of his company when I was 22.”

  9. Savory Creampuff*

    I agree with Allison, and I think you should examine your discomfort a bit more before accepting it as a dealbreaker.

    Presumably, your mother would be helping people focus on you and your qualifications and put in a good word for you. But if you got hired, it would be on your own merit, not her influence, and you would stand on your own feet in forging your reputation there. It’s very common in many industries to use one’s connections to get a foot in the door, and that includes parents. I’m probably biased, because it’s how I got my first job out of grad school. But as a peek into your potential future: I was with that company for three years and after the interviews my father almost never came up except as a social inquiry every so often.

    That being said, I’m more concerned about the “swayed by my mother’s interests” component. That’s very real, and before you accept her help, definitely make sure you’re on the same page about what her expectations are. If she helps you, assuming you’ll take the job if offered, and then you don’t, that’s a recipe for resentment (true for many relationships, but especially parents!).

  10. MisterForkbeard*

    It’s a good opportunity and OP should take it.

    There are exceptions. If OP has a bad relationship with their parents this can be a bad idea, as this gives them a hold over OP. It’s a principled stand to want to succeed or fail on your own, but this is important for your longterm future – networking from anyone is really important, so don’t refuse it just because it’s your parents.

    Also: You parents are responsible for a lot in your life. Letting them introduce you to someone shouldn’t be a bridge too far.

  11. Sir Ulrich Von Liechtenstein*

    It’s networking — the antithesis of “standing on your own.” The whole concept is rooted around who you know, and borrowing other people’s reputations to get your foot in the door so you can start building your own.

    It’s 100% your prerogative to decide you’d rather not be connected to your mother in people’s minds, and that’s a fair decision, especially if you have concerns about your mother’s professionalism or some bias in where and how she might connect you to people. But absent concerns about your mother’s reputation or professionalism, I’d say you’re setting yourself up for some unnecessary difficulty if you cut off a perfectly normal networking avenue.

  12. Reality Check*

    20 years ago, my mother got me in the door at her office, as a temporary receptionist answering the phones. To make a long story short, it launched me onto my current career path (I had been looking to change careers and didn’t know quite what to do.) So it gave me a boost in the beginning, but in less than a year I reached a point where I had to survive on my own merits. They didn’t see me as “Jane’s Daughter” for very long. So overall OP, I would say go ahead and take your mom up on her offer.

  13. ScruffyInternHerder*

    From personal experience, I found it was the correct thing to do, for me, in a very-not-friendly-to-women-industry. I’ve also witnessed someone else chose the other option (accepting help from her father with networking) and OOF.

    Even if you did give up important information and connections, you won’t have the fact that you did forever hanging over your head. Its still hanging over hers, and clouding her ability to do her work, get a job, be seen as ANYTHING other than “XYZ’s Daughter”. If nothing else, I’d say most of our industry doesn’t even know that I’m ABC’s daughter. There’s not a lot of other variables to correct for here, either. Similar age, similar education, similar work, similar path at the start.

    I feel like this is going to be a very industry dependent answer, and it may also depend upon other variables such as gender WITHIN an industry. (Reasoning: second and third generation men in this same industry are celebrated…)

    1. Charlotte Lucas*

      I think this is a good point. It depends upon the LW, the industry, & the relationship the LW has with their parents.

  14. Beth*

    As long as there isn’t a serious concern that your parents would poisen the well, I would say go ahead and include your parents’ connections as part of your networking. You’ll have plenty of opportunity for your merits to be evaluated on their own as you move through the rest of your life of searching for jobs, applying, interviewing, and working. To your credit, you obviously don’t mean to let your parents define you. Good luck!!

  15. KHB*

    What your mother is offering is basically how all networking works: You take connections where you find them, because you know somebody who knows somebody who knows somebody… If everybody insisted on “standing on their own” without drawing any benefit from the luck of their connections, then nobody would have any connections.

    If it makes you feel better, it’s unlikely that your mother’s connections will rocket you to undeserved career success all by themselves. That’s not usually how it works (in most fields anyway). Rather, your “network” just keeps you more generally plugged into the community, so you’re more likely to hear about, say, opportunities that might be of interest to you. But to actually take advantage of the opportunities, your skills and merits still have to speak for themselves.

  16. kiki*

    I totally understand LW’s perspective and would also try to get jobs completely on my own first. That being said, I may set a timeframe where I’d cave and accept the help. “If I don’t have offers within 4 months, I will accept my parents’ offers to introduce me to folks.”
    It also may depend on the context of the intro– if LW’s mother is planning on introducing them to folks with the vibe of , “Here is my daughter. You should consider hiring her!” that would be weird and not something I would do. But if there are folks in LW’s mom’s network that LW really has specific questions for, it might make more sense to go for it. For example, “Is this certification really highly valued by your company in the hiring process? Is it worth going for?”

    1. Hlao-roo*

      I like the time frame idea! My parents would have taken it pretty well if I said “I’d like to job search on my own for 4 months but if nothing’s panned out by then I’d love to talk to your connections” during a job search.

    2. korangeen*

      Yeah this might be a good compromise. Personally I would also be uncomfortable with using my parents, because I highly value independence and making it on my own, but on the other hand, it maybe doesn’t make sense to be stubborn about not using the networking connections you do have if that means not being able to get your foot in the door. I’m glad I avoided the conundrum by not going into the same industry as my parents.

      But also, during that 4 months or whatever period, it could be good to make a solid effort to connect with whomever you know through school or internships to see if those come up with any promising job leads. Presumably your parents aren’t the only connection to the industry you have.

    3. TPS reporter*

      I like this idea too. I suppose your timeframe also depends on: how many jobs are available, how many prospects you have, how in need are you to have a job? Assuming you have leeway, I would wait too for several reasons: your parents having a close relationship with a potential hiring manager could get awkward if either or both you have issues with each other (they may feel awkward giving you criticism, you might feel beholden to the job even if you don’t like it), you do want to have confidence that your own merits got you a job, you want to make sure the playing field is leveled for diverse candidates that don’t have connections. All of that said, if this gets you in the door and on the way to making it on your own then it could be worth it.

      This is all also coming from someone who is in a completely different fields as my parents and had no connections (familial or professional) in my current field. I work for a large high profile company and often get a lot of nepotism style “recommendations” from relatives that I ignore. It’s hard not to keep that in the back of your mind though when hiring.

  17. OrigCassandra*

    OP, maybe it would help to frame this as job-search help across a power divide? Because as an instructor in a professional graduate program, I leverage my network to benefit my students all the time, and nobody thinks it’s inappropriate or overbearing of me.

    I endorse the caveats above regarding whether your mother will take it too far or use it to exert power over you (which is, I hasten to say, not something I ever do to my students!). I’d never let my father do this for me because he sure does love a power-trip, always has. That said, I see nothing intrinsically unethical about it.

  18. Renee Remains the Same*

    My parents were not in my profession. But, after I graduated college, my first job out of school was a low-level administrative position (think: front desk work) at a very large conglomerate consisting of multiple companies. The job came through one of my father’s contacts. I never spoke with this person and we never met. My name was floated down through HR channels and I landed a not-coveted role that at the very least got my foot in the door on the ground floor.

    What I did from there was entirely up to me. Whether I was successful or not… entirely up to me. I don’t think accepting help from those who can help means that you’re seeking favor. Though, it’s certainly a level of privilege that some folks don’t have. But, I think if you use the connection in a way that’s based on your education and experience, it’s not much different than networking. As long as you don’t take advantage of this contact and use their status to further yourself beyond your merits, then isn’t it really just an opportunity to get your foot in the door?

  19. LDN Layabout*

    I think it’s a fairly naïve position to take, depending on the field. It also depends on the size of the field, how well known your parents are within it and what opportunities they’re offering.

    An introduction/connection? Is fairly innocuous and isn’t likely to reflect poorly, imo. It’s the kind of general help you’d offer most people you know, not just your child.

    I would judge someone if their parent was trying to get them a job, which I think should be restricted to people who have experience of someone’s work.

  20. Insert pun here*

    Context: I hire entry-level employees in a field that doesn’t require specific certification/education, but does require a BA/BS. If I got a request from a colleague (or a friendly counterpart at another, similar company) to consider their kid for a job, I would absolutely not want to hire that person unless the parent made it VERY clear that they were ONLY making the introduction and would be completely hands-off and uninvolved after that.

    Some parents can do that. Some can’t. You know your parent best, so…

    1. TPS reporter*

      I am in a similar position where I get a lot of applicants early in their careers. I also work for a big company with lots of relatives referring people to me. I ignore the “referral” as much as possible and if anything are more skeptical the closer that referral is to my department. If it’s someone I never work with then I can usually put it out of my mind, but if that referral is in or adjacent to my department I get nervous about the inevitable awkward conflicts of interest/feeling like I can’t truly evaluate someone without their relative backing them up or trying to step in.

  21. I wonder...*

    I’d go as far as let them make a networking contact (an email address?), but then you take it from there.

  22. animaniactoo*

    I certainly see no reason you can’t tell mom that you’d like to see how you do on your own before accepting the assistance of her network. With assurances that you’ll certainly ask for help if it turns out you need it.

  23. Keymaster of Gozer (she/her)*

    I managed a move from virologist to IT tech support with a little bit of help from a contact given by my dad – who up until retirement was a system administrator.

    It’s all he gave though – just the contact – how well I managed to impress that person was entirely down to me. Dad absolutely refused to give any kind of information beyond ‘Keymaster has an interest and past skills in IT and is looking at a career change’.

    So I think just basic contact information is perfectly fine. However if they’re trying to pressure the person into hiring you then, yeah, I’d be really disinclined.

  24. PrivilegedToo*

    So many people spend their lives wishing they had connections so that they could get into the room and make an impact and you have those connections! Make your peace with the guilt that brings you on your own, and make boundaries with your parents around how you’re being introduced, but do not turn down something you’re privileged to have access to out of pride, it’s a waste of that access!

    1. TPS reporter*

      how about if you do this, you promise to pay it forward by building up mentees that are not related to you and introducing them to your connections one day? Mentees that are not related to you, that don’t have the familial connections or are otherwise a minority in the field.

  25. Spicy Tuna*

    It depends. If the OP is freshly out of college and her parents are still very much in the working world, it can be helpful. A good yardstick is whether or not you would accept networking help from a friend or someone you had worked with at an internship, volunteer work, or a previous job. If you would accept that help, accepting it from a relative is no different. Just because the “connector” happens to be family doesn’t make it underhanded or wrong, as long as the context is professional and not “get my unqualified kid a job”.

    If the parent has been out of the working world for a long time, or if the OP knows that her mother would get too personally invested in the referral, then that’s a different story.

  26. Purple Cat*

    I totally understand your principled stand on the matter, but you are absolutely doing yourself a disservice by turning your mother’s help away.
    Case in point – I’m interviewing for a job that I only found out about because the recruiter knows my husband’s boss. It’s possible my resume would have risen to the top anyway, but the “in” as tenuous as it was, definitely helped. As long as your mother is just facilitating introductions and isn’t being heavy-handed with “and you MUST hire my daughter” and acting as a cheerleader, it will only help you, not hurt you. After that, it’s up to you to nail the interviews and shine in the role.

  27. A Pound of Obscure*

    You could do both. If I were you, I’d tell my mother I want to “go it alone” for a period of time, but will gladly accept her help and connections later on. Those connections might be useful, even if you have success not using them in the beginning. But I totally understand the desire to explore your own options and get a more pure sense of how well you’ve been equipped to succeed without help, at least for awhile. I would think your mother would understand that, too, if explained that way. Good luck!

  28. anonymous73*

    Allowing a parent to help you network doesn’t have to be an issue, as long as they just make the introduction and then stay out of it. If you know your mother can do this, let her help you. But if you’re unsure or know she will poke her nose into it after that, I wouldn’t risk it.

  29. Vox Experientia*

    isn’t this kind of nepotistic opportunity one of the reasons that people from privileged communities (either by race and/or economic status) fill up available slots that might have gone to people of color and/or other marginalized groups? shouldn’t we at least level the playing field rather than give one privileged group further advantage?

    1. Irish Teacher.*

      Yeah, I’m always surprised to hear things like that openly recognised. I mean we all know it happens but, at least in Ireland, it is generally spoken of with a bit of derision: “oh, I bet he knew someone,” “it’s all about who you know,” etc.

      I don’t think it’s enough that it won’t get you a job on its own. If it helps you get a job or even to the interview stage, then it is getting you an advantage others do not have.

      Now, that said, I could understand if the LW felt they have to deal with reality and not the ideal world and if the reality is that family connections give you an advantage, then I can understand young people in particular feeling they need a job and can’t afford to play it fair when others may be taking advantage of connections. I get that. Sometimes it’s reasonable to put oneself first, but the system that allows it is problematic. It’s not possible to argue that it’s both beneficial and fair. If who your parents are has any impact whatever, then it’s inherently unfair. But it is a hard one to prevent happening.

    2. L-squared*

      Possibly. At the same time, I don’t feel its up to someone looking for a job to throw away assistance on principle. Principle doesn’t pay rent or buy food. OP getting an introduction isn’t solving systemic problems. Hell, we all know how awful some of these application systems are, and its possible its helping to just circumvent this.

      Also, lets be real, we don’t know what kind of population OP belongs to. We can probably assume the fact that her parents have connections that she isn’t in the lowest economic class, but beyond that, who knows.

    3. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      Seconding “we don’t know what group OP and their parents belong to”.

      As long as OP does not pull the ladder up after themselves, but continues to include new/junior colleagues/people from marginalized groups/etc in their professional network to give them a boost as OP’s career progresses, and as long as we are talking about an introduction and not about “hey can you hire my kid?”, I am okay with it.

      Honest confession, I did this for my older son, who’s in the same field as I am, but is 1000x better at it than I could ever have been. I gave his resume to an online acquaintance who was an alumna of my college and who worked at a Big Tech Firm. She passed it on to her friends at three other Big Tech Firms. One of them called him back and he got as far as an all-day in-person interview that they’d flown him in for. I also gave his resume to someone else on the same online forum, whom I didn’t know at all, but who’d posted that their startup, located in the same area as the Big Tech Firm my son had an interview with, needed people. The startup got back to him, he scheduled the interviews with BTF and the startup on two consecutive days. Then used his interview process with BTF as leverage to get an offer from Startup. Did very well there and used the network he’d built there for the next steps in his career. All I did was email a resume. Truthfully, I didn’t have the clout to do anything beyond that, nor would I have wanted to.

    4. Heidi*

      I’m also grappling with how to express how I feel about this. It seems that most people don’t have a problem with the OP using their parents’ network to get job interviews and such. However, it seems wrong for an employer to selectively hire kids of people in their network. I think the relative power of the parties is the big difference here. The OP has fewer options in a competitive job market, but the employer has the power to hire fairly.

    5. Lady Danbury*

      The personal is political. Of course it makes sense to you every single resource you can to get your foot in the door, on an individual level. On a systemic level, when those connections have historically and presently been concentrated in those of a certain race/gender/economic background, then this helps to ensure that people from those backgrounds continue to have a disproportionate share of opportunities. Imo, so few of us are willing to even question using those connections because so many of us have benefited from them, as this thread shows. It can be uncomfortable to realize that your privilege (because it is a form of privilege, even if you’re not from a privileged group) made all the difference between you getting in the door, even if merit kept you inside. I’m not saying that OP should or shouldn’t use their connections, but it’s interesting that in a commentariat that normally skews fairly liberal, this issue was barely considered and mostly met with naysayers.

      1. L-squared*

        I think that people can still be very liberal and also feel that, in a competitive job market, you need to do what is best for you to move forward in your career. Sometimes the “greater good” is at odds with what is in your personal best interest.

        Its also one of those situations where we don’t know enough about the situation to understand it fully. Would OP turning this down really help less privileged people, or would it just be another person with her same level of privilege getting these introductions. If it is the latter, than its not really helping anyone and is actively hurting her.

  30. KaffeeundTee*

    I’ve allowed my father to connect me to people to give me that edge. They’re not giving me the job, they’re giving me a chance. The connection doesn’t guarantee anything besides the chance to have an interview, if that. It’s never my dads best friend or someone who owes him one, just someone he has in his email list that he helps getting me introduced to. Nothing more. As long as parents are hands-off after the hand off, it should be fine.

  31. OyHiOh*

    So, I moved from my hometown in part because I did not want to spend my entire professional life being known as FatherOy’s daughter. My father practices a less common trade and literally anyone within 200 miles of my hometown who needs that trade, knows FatherOy and in fact has probably had FatherOy in their home in the practice of his trade. From the moment I was old enough to go out and about on my own, the second I said my last name to someone, I heard “oh, you must be FatherOy’s daughter!” Well, yes. And this was made worse because FatherOy’s trade is connected to music, and I’m a trained, skilled, hobbyist musician myself so I ran into people who knew FatherOy in his professional habit all the damn time.

    Of course, this is not precisely the same situation that OP finds themself in, and they are, presumably an adult who chose the industry they want to go into. Nonetheless, if it were me, I would say that it is time for some soft boundaries with their parents to the effect of “I’m graduated from school, I need to let my education and skills stand on their own.” There might be a situation where the OP would find it useful to ask their parents to help, but it should be at OP’s request, not because parents think they know the right way to go about this.

  32. Dust Bunny*

    I think this very much depends on your parents.

    Should you, or anyone else, let my parents network? Hard no–they’ve been retired for quite awhile now and hadn’t job-hunted since 1982. They have had a profound and absolute disconnect from jobhunting reality for decades.

    But if your parents are still working and their judgment is solid and up-to-date, go for it.

  33. calvin blick*

    After OP applies to 100 jobs and gets four responses, all of which inexplicably ghost her after the interview, she will probably start to reconsider.

    1. L-squared*

      This is exactly it. Wanting to go on your own is great, until you get hit with reality of how interviewing and job searching these days works.

      1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

        I’ve been working in the US IT for 25 years now and am on my 6th job. I only got two of the six jobs by randomly submitting or posting a resume and hoping for the best; and they were both long ago (1999 and 2006). Was recommended by a friend for another one; was poached by managers from my previous job who’d changed jobs and wanted some of their former employees on their new teams, for two more. My first US job, I got through the placement services I’d been assigned to as a new immigrant. Someone they’d placed in the past had called them and asked if they had any entry-level programmers for an opening this person’s work had. They sent me. Outside of that, I’ve worked with more recruiters than I could count, had more interviews than I can count, with very scarce results. Best I’ve received was a rejection and some feedback. 90% of the time, I’d have an interview, have the hiring manager tell me that I’d hear from them in a week, and then never hear from them again.

  34. Essentially Cheesy*

    I think it depends on whether it’s more about making connections vs. forced networking from a coercive parent. Relationships with parents can be tricky and this can be difficult to navigate. So I think it’s up to the person/situation.

  35. Betty*

    I got an internship in college through a parent’s network– which I then backed out of because of being overwhelmed at the prospect of moving to NYC for the summer at 19 from my small midwestern town. Based on my experience:
    1. If you have boundary issues with your parents, it may not be worth it at all.
    2. If you’re able to have discussions about boundaries, talk to your parent about what would happen if you turn down the job/withdraw from the interview process, or if their contact turns you down, or if you get hired and it turns out to be a bad fit. How are they going to feel, and are they going to be comfortable with the fact that they cannot say anything to either you or their contact in that case? If you get any sense that they’re dismissing that (“Oh, that would never happen!”), then pass. If that goes OK, then I agree with the other suggestions to have ONE introduction (of the form, “Hi Jane, my daughter Theodosia is completing her MS in camelid sciences this spring and applying to jobs at Llamas Inc. I’ve copied her on this email and am attaching her resume in hopes you two might be able to connect”) and then no other contact on your behalf.

  36. JenniferAlys*

    I’d probably want to stand on my own merits vs using my parents’ connections. Honestly this is what sucks about the job market and fuels the student loan crisis. It puts people of color and those from a disadvantaged background behind the eight ball when they start their career and gives the already privileged that much more of a head start.

    1. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

      I struggle with this part of it too, especially as a parent of a young cis straight white man who is entering a field where despite the fact that the clientele and his colleagues will likely be POC and/or from disadvantaged backgrounds, and despite the fact that I only see him rage when people are getting unfair advantage, he’ll probably benefit from all of the patriarchy anyway.

    2. Important Moi*

      As a person of color, your tone is well meaning but …

      Let me offer an action plan because not “using my parents’ connections” doesn’t really help. Increasing your circle (personal and professional) such that it includes people of color such that when job opportunities present themselves you make employers aware of qualified candidates or vice versa does.

      People network all the time. The issue is there aren’t enough POCs in the network – help us get there.

      1. Don*

        How exactly does that work without tokenism? It’s one thing to be open to POC in your network but it’s another to go around asking people if they will be my black friend. I still have yet to have anyone give me a decent explanation.

        1. Hlao-roo*

          On the professional side: if you employer has any ERGs/affinity groups, you can attend some meetings to meet people who work at your company and aren’t straight white men (or whatever your usual professional circle is). You all work for the same company now, but in the future you and/or they may not but they’ll be in your professional circle.

          Also, if your company has any relationships with local colleges/universities, you could see if they have similar groups you could reach out to. I know in engineering there are professional societies like NSBE (National Society of Black Engineers) and SHPE (Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers) and my university had college chapters of both. I’m sure they would have welcomed engineers from local engineering companies attending a club meeting for a Q&A session. I’m not sure if similar groups exist in other fields.

        2. Important Moi*

          I would like your definition of tokenism.

          Opening your network is all that’s required.

          “…go around asking people if they will be my black friend.” Yikes!

          You become friends with black people the same way you become friends with white people. We are not some alien entity. Are you friends with every white person you’ve met? I doubt it, so you don’t have to be friends all black people either.

          “to go around asking people if they will be my black friend” – Something about that language gives me pause


          Maybe someone can be more eloquent can explain it because I thought I was clear.

        3. Lady Danbury*

          It starts by being a person that POCs feel that they can trust and ensuring that the spaces that you move in aren’t all/mostly white. I’m a Black woman with friends from a variety of backgrounds: Black, white, Asian, etc. I met my non-Black friends through shared interests/proximity but we developed/maintained a deeper connection because they were people who I felt comfortable sharing my whole self with, where I didn’t have to worry about constant microaggressions (nobody is perfect but they strive to be true allies) and I knew that they would support me if I stated that I had experienced racial issues rather than question whether it was really about race. They didn’t magically wake up to be the kind of people that other POC felt comfortable befriending. Instead, they actively educate themselves (independently, not by asking their POC friends) on racial issues, anti-racism, how to be better allies, etc. If you want to have meaningful friendships with POCs, then you have to do the work to ensure that it’s meaningful on both sides and be open to the fact that you’ll never get it 100% right.

  37. Knope Knope Knope.*

    You’re being stubborn. Unless your mom is someone’s boss it’s very unlikely your connection to her will mean anything to them other than agreeing to meet with you in the first place. After that, you’re on your own. No good boss or company would hire you, keep you in a job you’re not good at, or promote you as a favor to someone else. Think about it, they have their own boss’s to report to and what would they say? “Oh I know LW’s work is subpar and we’re losing money/clients/whatever, but her mom is my friend!” Take the intro. It’s on you from there.

  38. Relative*

    This is not something you have to decide once and forever. You can decide for now and change your mind later or you can take it on a case by case basis. A professional introduction from a parent could open doors or close them, depending on the context…

  39. Anonymous Pygmy Possum*

    My dad offered to let me network with some folks when I was switching career paths. We’re in the same broad field, though he was C-level at the small company that got acquired by a big mega-company in the past couple of years, and I’m entry-level. I never took him up on it because I also feel weird about this and I actually didn’t need to do it to get a job, and now that I have a job I have a ton of networking contacts in my specific field that I made on my own. But my dad has pretty solid judgement, and our relationship is good, so if I hadn’t gotten a job this quickly I probably would have taken him up on it.

    1. Anonymous Pygmy Possum*

      So, your mileage may vary, but it’s totally up to you and what you know of your parents.

  40. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

    I think it’s important to have a sincere and blunt kitchen table conversation with the parents BEFORE going forward with accepting assistance. Set the boundaries, talk about what you’d like them to do and NOT do with regard to your networking. The distinctions that others are making in the thread are good ones to go over.

    You may want to ask your folks to help you construct your road map, and possibly identify some people to talk to (who may already know of you because your parents have already been bragging about you). Then tell them which roads you can cross without them holding your hands.

    My son is currently in school for a program much like mine, and is poised to launch soon. We talk about strategy, he absorbs stuff from dinner table conversations, and I sometimes do a little bit of recon with my colleagues who know about things he’s interested in.

    However, I grit my teeth and let him do the work all by his Big Boy Self.

  41. Paper Jam*

    If you were planning to apply to the company anyway, I think it would be wise to take your mom up on her offer. This kind of networking, where a mutual connection knows about openings or other people who work at a company you’re interested in, is generally pretty organic and normal if you’re qualified. If you are in the same field, it makes sense that you should leverage the people you know in that field, whether you’re related to them or not.

    The giant caveat is if your mom is the type who will cross boundaries and harm your reputation – if your mom is professional and able to make the connection and stop there, then it’s a great thing to leverage. If your mom is the type to constantly check on your application and badger the hiring managers…then I’d avoid it. I suspect because you’ve used your parents help before with good results that they’re likely professional, but only you can really know the answer to that question.

    I do understand not wanting to take any and all assistance from your mom – you don’t have to accept every reference or idea she has especially if it’s not a company that was of immediate interest, but your mom is part of your network – it’s not wrong to use it for something that you want for yourself. By the same token – if it’s something you’re not that keen on but your mom wants it for you…then you’re under no obligation to take her up on it.

  42. Abogado Avocado*

    Accept the help if it works for you and with the relationship you have with your parent. As Alison observes, it is not bad to network. In fact, in many fields networking is expected as a way to develop business or attract grants or whatever the revenue is that supports your position.

    I graduated from law school during a recession and, although I graduated with honors and near the top of my class,
    I come from a solidly middle class family without money, lawyers, or business to send to a law firm. This was a definitely a handicap if you wanted to go into private practice, as I did then. Therefore, when one of my husband’s cousins, who is a lawyer several states away, offered to introduce me to friends who were partners at large firms in our city, I gratefully accepted. This networking led to three job offers, one of which I took and which was instrumental in helping me, over the years, in paying off my law student loans.

  43. Beebee*

    Everyone here has a lot of great advice for you OP! I would just say there’s no wrong choice here — if you decide you don’t want your parents’ help, you can always ask for it later and gently let them know for now it’s important you do it on your own. If you do take the up on their help, there’s nothing wrong with that either.

    Good luck!

  44. Emoo*

    YMMV, but if you have a decent relationship with your mom and she can keep out of your work life otherwise, use those connections to get in front of people.

    I actually work for a large university, and my own mom is in a similar (but more senior and writing focused, as opposed to my video/photo) position to me in a different college. I got my job by myself, and my annual review here just came back glowing about my performance and my work, but it certainly didn’t hurt that people in the various comms departments here knew of and liked my mom already. We sometimes talk shop, but our daily work doesn’t overlap/collab (which is a good thing).

  45. ScottM*

    I would let her help you connect with some people, then let your accomplishments stand on your own. If she were to continue to help you in your career after you start working, then that would be the time to gently decline the help.

  46. A Simple Narwhal*

    I would definitely take up the offer of a connection, especially if it’s just a foot in the door. If this is just your mom’s colleague that you don’t have a personal connection with, after the initial meeting/intro you’re not going to be [mom]’s daughter, that will just have been the entry point to your meeting, not your whole identity. And unless you end up working directly for this person, which it doesn’t sound like this will definitely be, that’s even further distance from things.

    I got my first job out of college because of a family connection – my dad was chatting with a colleague and mentioned I had just graduated/was job hunting, and they said “oh my sister’s company is looking to hire new grads, I can forward her resume/connect her if you’d like.” I never knew my dad’s colleague, definitely didn’t know her sister, and I never even met with her while interviewing, it was just a chance to get my foot in the door of that company.

    I think it can’t hurt to at least take the introduction, if you get a bad feeling you can always back out, but in this day and age this type of networking isn’t uncommon or frowned upon, and it’s far removed from nepotism.

    Good luck!

  47. revengeofpompom*

    Personally, I would not. You’ve already likely experienced a ton of privileges and a head-start in your industry because of your parents’ success and, now that you’re an adult, you have the option of examining those privileges and declining them when you can. Is there someone in your program who’s great and could really use a leg up? How about you introduce them to your parents to facilitate *their* networking? Be the change you wish to see in the working world.

    1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

      I love this answer.

      LW has already had most of the advantage that being born to the right people will confer. Asking her parent to consider mentoring a particular grad school contemporary without the same luck as well as (or instead of) herself would be a great way to leverage networking for good. After all, LW would be just be introducing someone to a person who could help them with their career. That’s what networking is!

    2. allathian*

      Or do both. It’s unrealistic to expect people not to take advantage of their privileges, but it’s perfectly realistic and admirable for people to leverage their networks to help someone else, preferably someone who’s less advantaged than they are.

      1. revengeofpompom*

        I disagree. For many people, it is not unrealistic to expect them to examine their privileges and opt not to take advantage of them. OP’s situation is a perfect example of an opportunity to do that (e.g., “thanks mom but it’s important for me to do this on my own” = not that big of a deal to choose to say or do).

  48. Irish Teacher.*

    This is a difficult one in a way, because if it has any benefit, then it’s inherently unfair. Nobody should get a benefit because of the family they are born into. And if there was no benefit, then there’d be no reason to do it. However, one could argue it’s impossible to avoid any unfair advantages; just having parents in the industry is probably a benefit even if they do nothing to help their children as their children would be familiar with the jargon of the industry and might therefore sound more knowledgeable than somebody without that background.

    I think the LW should do what feels right.

  49. WomEngineer*

    It might not always feel this way when you’re growing up, but you’re your own person – not an extension of your parents.

    I don’t think it hurts to use your parents’s connections. It sounds like LW is qualified and interested in the field, and any networking conversation would focus on them and not their parents. If it helps, maybe check their LinkedIn pages and bring up things from there (not just what your parents tell you)

  50. Indigo a la mode*

    My mother is a high-powered, charismatic, networking champion in my field, so I 100% understand this feeling. The fact is that many people get to where they are because of who they know. It’s not fair to people who don’t have well-connected friends and relatives, and therefore contributes to systemic DEI issues, but it’s a fact.

    My advice is to take your parents up on the connections–and then build your own relationships. Let them introduce you, and then go to coffee or meet via Zoom with these people on your own. When you get into a job, don’t be cagey about your relationship with your parents, but do good work that distinguishes you from them. Your work will stand on its own.

    I’m nearly eight years into my career. Did my mom influence me getting my first job? Absolutely. But I’ve worked near her orbit all these years and other than a few people noting that we have the same last name and being pleasantly surprised to find out we’re related, it hasn’t mattered. As far as I’m aware, no one thinks I’m in her shadow or that I’m not good enough to get to the job I have now on my own. Crucially, I no longer feel that way either.

  51. KSharpie*

    Especially at the beginning of your career, take the introductions and then work on getting through the interviews on your own skill and merit. If there’s any way to dodge the AI resume readers, take it.
    Acknowledge you’re extremely lucky and take the introduction, then build from there.

  52. Former Radio Guy*

    If there’s some discomfort in using family connections, that is the most telling variable and I have no idea if the mother is a helicopter parent or simply trying to help. In my case, I was able to land part time work as a student at my university via my father’s connections as an employee there since I was working and helping pay for my education, but my eventual career path was well outside my parent’s careers. I wasn’t uncomfortable getting the help, but my parents gave me the contacts but I initiated getting the actual jobs.

  53. Save the Hellbender*

    I almost didn’t go to my dream school because it was also the one my parents went to, so I get it! But I do think first introductions – even if it’s just someone you can ask questions to – are really hard to come by, and you should take what you can get.

  54. Bagpuss*

    I think it is fine for you to want to apply without that connection, and equally it would be fine for you to accept the offer.
    You may want to think about things such as :
    – if, rather than your parent, the offer had come from someone else, maybe a family friend, would you feel the same way? If it was someone you had connected with via an internship would you feel the same way (iof they were, perhaps, someoneyou were friendly with but they weren’t your manager in that scenario)
    – How comfortable do you feel that your parent would just make the introduction and leave it at that? Would they be likely to seek to be involved beyond that?

    My parents were in differnt fields to me so it never really arose for me. My dad did (when I asked) review my cv and offered some comments based on his hiring experince, but they were more about lay out than anything else.
    I did end up applying for a job at the place he worked (in a very different department) He didn’t, as far as I know, mention to anyone I was applying, but they picked up on it (probably becuase it was a job where staff had to be positively vetted and so the application form required you to provide your parents details as well as your own!)
    I didn’t get the job (which was fair, it wasnt really what I wanted but I was job hunting in a depression and was desperate) but I think it’s probably why I got a friendly, personal rejection rather than a one line form letter.
    My mum was in a totally different field and also hadn’t ever really had to go through an interview/ applciation process so was not able to offer any useful advice.

  55. Tigger*

    This is really up to you. When I first graduated college, I found a job with no connections to my family and it was a good entry to my field. When COVID hit, I switched to freelancing, continuing with the same first company, but also with another my dad got me in touch with that he was quite friendly with. Although I started freelancing with them with 7 years of experience in my field, I was treated as if I was a junior and fresh out of college, and it was a bit of a struggle to remove those impressions, even now after working with them for almost two years (I am a women, so not sure if this was part of the issue as well). But the work really saved me during COVID, and now that I’ve established my own reputation with them, it’s going a lot smoother.
    It can be really helpful, but depending on how much reputation your parents have and how they’ve talked about you to others (example, I was dad’s little girl, even at 30, so that’s the first impression this company had of me), you might be fighting those first couple years to really establish your own reputation. I think if you have the means to not need a job ASAP, finding one yourself and not through your parents will be better. But I also don’t think there is anything morally wrong with using your parents if you do decide to go that route.

  56. Miette*

    OP, I’m not sure if this is weighing on your mind or not:

    There are a few letters on this site about people’s parents, partners, etc. interfering in their careers (I’m thinking about the one where the dad called the boss to ask if his son had been “informed of the risks” of international travel). This is absolutely not an example of that, in case you’re concerned.

    Lots of great advice above. Use your parents’ contacts like you’d use a mentor’s and leave it there. You will earn your next job on your own merits. Good luck!

  57. L-squared*

    You can do what you like, but I think its really being stubborn. She isn’t offering to get you a job, just to network with connections she has built over time. That is how things work. I suppose if you really want to take some moral stand, you can. But lets be real, the fact that you are in graduate school gives you access to a network you may not have had otherwise. If you didn’t have successful parents, its possible you wouldn’t have even been in graduate school. So at some point, you are going to be benefitting from some kind of privilege. Let your mom make the introductions, then wow them all on your own.

  58. coachfitz13*

    I think it depends on the details of the type of contact that’s being offered. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it overall.

    I took advantage of my father’s network during my last job search. He had a good friend who was CEO of Small Teapot Company and my father’s neighbor was a higher-up in Big Recruiting Consulting Firm. I was able to get an interview with Small Teapot Company but it wasn’t a good fit. Likewise, I was also able to work with a coach at Big Recruiting Consulting Firm for free–nothing panned out but it was a good experience.

  59. Charlotte Lucas*

    If you do take your parents’ help, I agree with the people who suggest you make sure to pay it forward when you are in a position to do so. Especially for people who don’t have the family connections you do.

  60. Thin Mints didn't make me thin*

    It kind of depends on your parents. Are they the kind of people you would trust if you weren’t related to them? If so, go for it.

  61. ecnaseener*

    It doesn’t help anyone for you to turn down this introduction. What WILL help others is if you commit to paying it forward in the future, including and especially to people without family connections in the white-collar world.

  62. Cheezmouser*

    Depends on your mother’s standing in the field and how you use the connections. If she’s highly ranked, then I’d be extra careful because no one wants to be the hiring manager who rejects the vice president’s daughter. I’ve been in positions where I was pretty much told, “This is so-and-so’s niece, please talk to her about the open intern position” with the unspoken understanding that “talk to” means “give her.”

    My advice is to use your mother’s connections to learn about the culture of an organization and about their career paths, but apply to positions on your own.

  63. Gnome*

    It might be helpful to avoid thinking of it as either-or. She has connections with people you may want to meet. You get to use them. However, just because she wants to introduce you doesn’t mean you have to. Take it case by case. If she’s in chocolate teapot handles and you are leaning more towards chocolate teacups, she might know folks… But be naturally inclined to push you towards teapot people or handle people. You can choose to say no. Of course, this presupposes that she can treat you like a professional. If not, then ignore all of what I say.

    If there’s somebody you want to connect with, or even a type of person (folks who started in teacups and ended up managing), see if she’ll introduce you. By being proactive you might take the pressure off and still feel like you are your own agent… And get the benefit of her network.

  64. DAMitsDevon*

    I would say as long as you’re interested in the type of work they do, and would likely be applying for a job at this company even without your parents’ encouragement, go for it. I say this, because back when I was in college and grad school and job searching, my dad would try to get me to network with people in his field (pharma) because it was tangentially related to my interests (public health), but not something I was interested in and I went along with it to make him happy, but had more positive and productive experiences networking with alums from my public health school program.

  65. Waterbird*

    I’m surprised by how many readers are recommending that LW accepts her mother’s offer to help her network. Maybe it depends on the industry/company, but in my experience, people who were hired because they had relatives at the company typically have trouble developing a reputation beyond being so-and-so’s kid. Even if they did get hired independently and their parents only helped them network, it’s rare that they ever fully escape the judgment around the possibility of their family having a role in their hiring. (Again, this is just my experience – it could very well be different at other places.)

    I think developing your own network is the way to go. If it doesn’t work out and you’re still job hunting a few months down the road, maybe reconsider your parents’ offer – but tread carefully.

    1. L-squared*

      I think there is a difference between getting hired at the same company and just being introduced to a network. This also can vary a lot.

      But say for example OP is a teacher, and she is in a fairly large city. I don’t know that the parents introducing her to an HR person they know at the school district is really going to have that same type of baggage. Whereas if OP is in construction management in a small town, and there are only 2 construction companies, that could be a bit different. As we don’t have enough information to know which of these is closer to the truth, I think most people are just saying there is nothing wrong with accepting help.

  66. Llama Wrangler*

    I see a lot of the people above saying it’s fine, so I think you should listen to them, but LW I’ve been where you are and understand your instinct! My parents are relatively well-known in our shared field in the city I grew up (not a small city, but a relatively tight-knit professional community). My dad put me in touch with my first post-college job there in the field, and I felt like I was getting by on my own accomplishments, but that also everyone related to me as “oh you’re [parent’s] daughter!” (It didn’t help that many of these people had known me since I was a child.) I ended up moving to another nearby city because I didn’t feel like I could escape it, and have done well enough here that now when I meet people from my hometown and my family comes up, it’s much more like “oh, it’s so cool your parent does [x] to”.

  67. Anonymouse*

    I like the line from League of Their Own
    Kit Keller:
    Hey, Dottie? thanks for gettin’ me into the league.
    Dottie Hinson:
    You got yourself into the league. I just got you on the train.

    Moral is use your network to get there but prove them that you have an ability to stay

  68. Fraught relationships*

    I think this is your key, right here:

    “My mother was unfortunately a bit upset when I turned down her offer to connect me…”

    This tells me that this specific parent/child relationship might be tricky, and there may be non-career reasons to do the job search without the parent’s help.

    1. e271828*

      This! If the parent takes a “no” personally on such a simple thing, it’s not a good idea to involve them in the process.

      LW, you already have connections and a track record of your own. Rely on those. And if you are indeed applying to places where your parents have friends, don’t mention it to your parents to avoid having any awkward back-seat driving incidents. Your mother being upset suggests that your parents are best kept on an information diet about your job search.

  69. Seriously?*

    My husband got my eldest an interview for an internship when he was in college, but everything else, he’s stayed out of it and kid has to do the work. I’d take the help for an introduction, but keep parents at bay for anything else. Saying this while recognizing the privilege of the situation. Hopefully the companies also recruit those that don’t have any connections.

  70. LMM*

    This, to me, depends on a few factors. How much do you *need* a job, and how much are you willing to depend on your parents’ connections in relation to that need?

    Also, are you in a big city, small town, something in between? It can make a real difference if you’re in a smaller place or industry to make a name for yourself outside of family connections. I know if I’d stayed in my hometown, where my dad is locally prominent, it would have been difficult to establish my own reputation since we were also in industries where we would have needed to interact. I left town, though I did start my career at a place where everyone knew my dad and that I was related to him and I probably got some advantages that way. It was uncomfortable for me and I needed to go somewhere where I wasn’t known first as his daughter.

    My sister’s in a very different field, but one that relies heavily on who you know and how much money they have to support it, and milks our local connections happily. Because she isn’t doing similar work, she’s able to dip into the networking when it benefits her and dip out when she wants to do her own thing.

  71. oranges*

    I put a lot of this in a similar bucket of women being less likely than men to pursue jobs where they don’t meet 100% of 100% of the requirements. I promise you, LW, your male peers are having far less guilt about leveraging ALL their relationships.

    Barring specific concerns about your mother, don’t turn down networking opportunities for altruistic reasons. Your male competition certainly wouldn’t.

  72. Nomayo*

    It speaks a lot for the nature of my own family that I recoiled when it was said there was a chance of probably cutting off networking possibilities.

    It really depends on family dynamics. Even if my family members were in the same field or field adjacent, I wouldn’t trust their networking with a ten foot pole. I won’t derail this further, It’s more for children of abusive parent subreddit type things because boy is it wild.

    But yes, OP. Trust your instincts. If you feel there is a chance there will be overreach, please listen to that voice.

  73. Ally McBeal*

    OP, I understand your discomfort. But you will learn as you move through the corporate world that so, SO many people who are entirely incompetent at their jobs and/or soft skills still manage to get hired… through their networks. I like the phrase “act as if you have the confidence of a mediocre white man” – a mediocre person would have no hesitation leveraging their network to land a job they’re less than qualified for, so you should feel perfectly justified in leveraging YOUR network. All it does is get your foot in the door, in the end.

  74. H.Regalis*

    Everyone else has made some good points! One thing I would say is, is the networking offer a binary thing? Could you try job hunting without networking, and then if you aren’t happy with it, use your connections? Or is this something where your mom will only offer help once and if you don’t take it, then it will never be available again?

    I forget where I read this (maybe the old Female Science Professor blog), but it’s a quote I like: “You don’t even learn to wipe your ass on your own merits.” That said, this is your life, LW, and you make your own choices. The internet is not going to dispatch someone to force you to accept networking offers.

  75. Nanani*

    Would this actually be useful network, or a waste of your time (and mom’s contacts’ time?)

    Like if your interests within the field aren’t the same as your parents’ (even within the same field) then you probably do want to tamp down on the networking, because it would be pretty natural for the contacts you meet to think of you as Mom 2.0 and send you stuff MOM would have been interested in. Which could mean missing stuff that Mom wouldn’t have been interested in but you are.

    I’m thinking more about practicalities than the Ethics Of Networking TM here.

  76. Dona Florinda*

    I started my career in the same industry as my mom, and later moved on to my dad’s industry (both were pretty well respected in their fields). My mom was actually very helpful, since she introduced me to people not as her daughter but just as a junior person she knew and that help me get a foot in the door.
    On the other hand, for the life of me I would never ask my dad to put me in touch with people ’cause I know he wouldn’t just introduce me and back away, he probably would pester his contacts for opportunities for his little girl.

  77. No Longer Gig-less Data Analyst*

    I’m someone who has a pretty extensive LinkedIn network for former employers and recruiters. When my daughter graduated from college in 2021 and was looking to finally get out of serving and into an office job, she was having a really hard time getting any responses to applications that weren’t MLMs or scams. I’m the complete opposite of a helicopter parent, but it was really hard watching her struggle when I knew she was smart and competent, with a great work ethic.

    So basically, I just put out a post on LinkedIn that asked if anyone in my network was looking for recent college grads for entry-level positions, and if so could they link me to any likely opportunities that I could shoot her way to follow up on. I wound up getting a DM from a guy I had worked adjacent to for 6 months at a contract job. He’d left the nightmare place we both worked at and was now a VP at a mid-sized regional bank. Turned out that with Covid and branches having reduced hours, their call center was in desperate need of customer service phone reps. He gave me the link to the job opening on their website and said to have my daughter put his name as the referral person in the online application. She did so and had an interview two days later, which she nailed. They offered her the job almost immediately and she’s doing incredibly well there – turns out dealing with cranky restaurant diners is great practice for dealing with cranky bank customers. She’s done outstanding on customer surveys post-call and is now training other, newer hires.

    I think if the parent/child relationship is solid and respectful it can definitely work. I wasn’t interested in micromanaging any part of the process – like any reference, I just told her that my own reputation was on the line with my former co-worker, so if she could please not f*ck up the opportunity I would greatly appreciate it.

  78. Esmeralda*

    Use your mom’s connections. People will not see you as “Mom’s kid”. For one thing, most people won’t know — unless she’s connecting you to a hiring manager who would be your supervisor. Even then, once you’re working your supervisor will remember the connection but will see you for yourself, and everyone else will see you as you.

    I mean, unless it’s a Bob Dylan -Jakob Dylan kind of thing, no one will be comparing (is your mom super super prominent and important?)

  79. Esmeralda*

    My first after college job was thru a connection of my dad’s (husband of one of his former co-workers). 1982. It was a truly terrible time to be job searching. I did try to do it all by myself first but it was clear I needed the help.

    That job lasted about 6 months — I got fired, my boss was a crook (wage theft for starters) — but it was enough for me to find another job very quickly. I will say that Mr Crook gave me a very nice reference and did not say I had been fired. Although I have always hoped the IRS went after him.

    1. Esmeralda*

      Just to add: Every job I have had since 1982 I’ve gotten with the help of some connection of some sort. All of them, full time and part time.

      I had to interview well, I had to do well at the jobs. The connection either let me know about a job that was open or was about to be, or the connection made a call for me. The rest was up to me.

  80. RCS*

    Both my former and now current job was found from my network group. They got me in the door so to speak and then I had to close the deal on my own merits. Use any assistance that is available.

  81. Irish girl*

    This is very parent/child relationship specific. I have recommended family apply to a job at my company when i knew a opening was soemthing that they could do. I used my mom to get my mother-in-law a job after she was laid off. But once i send them the job posting or submit their resume to the referral website, I’m done with the process. I dont get involved. Now, i would never want to talk with anyone my dad has contacts with as he would talk their ear off about me and i wouldnt want that. But my mom woul have been hands off with the whole thing. So its very read the room to me on this. using your network shoul include you parents, friends, former teachers, current and former co-workers.

  82. PB Bunny Watson*

    You might get a job because of “who you know,” but you won’t keep a job that way usually. What I mean is that sometimes you need help getting your foot in the door. But once you’re there, people can see what you bring to the table by yourself. And as more time goes by, you’re suddenly the person people know about because of your work and not because of who you know or are related to. So don’t feel like you can’t use your network. Trust that it might help you in getting a job, but it’s all you once you’re in.

  83. DataNerd*

    I think this depends on what you know of your mom. It can be a big help to get a personal introduction like that, and from there you can build the relationship as your own. I found my last job due to a connection from my mother, and she’s not even in my field – she just happened to know someone that works in my field. Once the introduction was made, I built that professional relationship entirely independently. She stayed out of it. I had a discussion with my mom about expectations and boundaries once I was hired since she still knew my boss socially, and she respected those boundaries. It all worked out and it wound up being a really good connection for me. But if you don’t trust your mother to respect those kinds of professional boundaries, I think it’s totally fair to say no to networking offers from her. Perhaps having a discussion on boundaries and expectations now would be a good indicator on whether or not it’d be a good idea to accept networking help from her.

  84. TheRain'sSmallHands*

    How about give it six months post graduate degree to go it on your own and see where you end up? If after six months, you are still looking, would like to get access somewhere you haven’t been able to (but Mom can help), or find something, but it isn’t as good a fit as you might get with some Mom enabled networking, ask for those introductions. Maybe you can find what you are looking for on your own. Maybe you’ll make your own connections to network. Or maybe your mother’s contacts will be what tips the scales.

    “I’ll introduce you” is a time honored tradition. And, yes, its an advantage that should be paid forward to people who don’t have Moms in a similar industry.

  85. AnotherLibrarian*

    Oh, Letterwriter. I was you when I got out of grad school. I didn’t want my parents help. Here’s what I would tell that me from a decade removed. Three things to consider as you decide what to do.

    One is the practical- Can you trust them to back off when needed? Do you genuinely think they would be helpful? If so, great! If not, consider how much help you want and how you will set boundaries around it.

    Another is ethical concerns. It can feel a little weird to realize that you have an IN when others maybe wouldn’t and I think sitting with some of that discomfort is important. However, just because you’re starting with a leg up, doesn’t mean it’s going to get you up the mountain. Sometimes, as you look at options you have the other’s don’t, you’re forced to confront ways that privilege and systemic oppression might be an advantage to you when it isn’t an advantage to others. It’s a tough thing to wrestle with and I don’t think there’s one best answer. I also don’t think you, as one person, refusing to accept your parents networking ins is going to suddenly change the systemic injustices facing society. Working to change those or wanting to change those, doesn’t mean not taking advantage of help generously offered.

    The very last thing to consider is your own feelings that maybe you can’t get a job on your own and you’re only succeeding because of your parents help. To this, I would offer the insight of my own Father when I said the same to him, “Who you know gets you the interview, but what you know gets you the job, and how you preform keeps it.”

    In many fields the jobs are scarce and the networks critical, don’t turn down the chance to build one. As long as you trust your parents to back off when asked, I’d take the introductions. Good luck!

  86. Dragon*

    This was a unique situation, but I know someone who got a position without having to take a career detour because her mother was a high-up in the industry.

    Think of it in terms of Specialty A and Specialty B. People in Specialty A will be hired directly into this position from outside. People in Specialty B have to join the company in a slightly different role first, then transfer into the position later.

    Whether it’s true or not, the company likely believes that Specialty B people need to learn the company perspective first, before putting them into the position.

  87. Parenthesis Dude*

    Presuming your parents are reasonable, you should take them up on it. On the one hand, they’re doing you a favor because they’ll introduce you to these people. But on the other hand, you’re doing them a favor because if someone does hire you, and you do well, it will reflect well on them.

    Most people don’t have entry level people in their network because by definition they’ve never worked with them before. So, having someone you trust vouch for an entry level person is really helpful for hiring managers.

  88. Beautiful, talented, brilliant, powerful musk-ox*

    I think it may depend on the field. In my field, family members working in the same industry or even at the same company isn’t uncommon at all. One of my parents works at the company I work for (it’s a decent-sized company and the only overlap we have is that they attend a monthly meeting I run concerning some widely-utilized software) and, while their connections and good reputation at the company certainly didn’t hurt me getting my foot in the door, it still didn’t guarantee me a job — my first attempt to get hired, I was a finalist but didn’t end up getting the job despite the decision makers all loving my parent.

    I’ve made a point to shut down comments that have implied that my parent and I are the same person or even have the same skills — they obviously have over two decades of experience that I don’t and we also have very different interests and specialities even if there is SOME skill overlap. And the ONE time someone said to my face that getting the job was probably easier because of my parent, I did respond a bit firmly to that (I had worked my BUTT off to get an interview and the manager I ended up hired under clearly didn’t even LIKE my parent, so I don’t think being related to them was much of a factor).

    I’ll take networking where I can get it, but I also make a point to create my own reputation apart from family if that makes sense. As my work has become more well-known, the connection with my parent has barely been mentioned aside from if a colleague has a meeting with them or something, and then it’s just a, “I saw your parent” sort of thing.

    So…I guess my advice is take the networking if you think it’ll be helpful but work to establish relationships separate from your parents’. (Also: you know your relationship with your parents better than anyone else. In my experience, when I’ve dug my heels in to resist an offer of help from family that probably looks ungrateful from the outside, it’s usually because there’s been a pattern of overstepping boundaries or meddling or manipulation and I know if I give them an inch, they’ll take a mile. If that’s the motivation for your resistance, I think that’s perfectly understandable. Only you can determine if it’ll be worth it in the long run considering your relationship with your parents.)

  89. Lizziana*

    I work in a related field to my dad, and we ended up working for different bureaus in the same cabinet-level department. I kept my maiden name, so it’s not uncommon at all for me to run across people who know my dad.

    In my experience, it didn’t hurt to have him make introductions, especially in the context of, “you’re working on something my daughter is interested in, do you mind if I pass along your contact info so she could pick your brain?” Or just letting folks know I was job hunting so they could send along postings.

    It’s government, and my application still had to stand on its own to get through the initial HR screening, but it helped me tailor my job search and know what was out there.

    I also like to think that once I got to know people professionally, my work stood on its own, and they got to know me as Lizzianna, vs. as Dad’s daughter, so I don’t think it hurt my reputation. And we were far enough apart in what we did that there is no way anyone would think I got hired just because of my dad.

    Now that I’m a hiring manager, I treat referrals by family members the same way I treat any other referral. I’m happy to talk with anyone who reaches out, but ultimately will refer them to HR and our hiring website. If a family member reaches out, I’ll reply to them and say I’m happy to talk, have the applicant call me directly. I have the same response for mentors, college professors , etc. who send referrals my way.

    Fortunately, most of my contacts understand the limits of the federal hiring process and no one has been pushy after the initial introduction. OP knows her parents well enough to know if they will be professional about it. That would be the only reason I wouldn’t take them up on the offer.

  90. Just Me*

    I’m going to also add that it depends on the culture of the industry. There are SOME industries where having a parent/family member in the field would be seen as an asset or a carrying-on-of-the-legacy type thing, and some industries rely heavily on social networks and it can be almost necessary to have an “in.” To my knowledge this tends to be true in very exclusive sectors where you’re dealing with a lot of money (some areas of law, some finance, luxury brands, etc.) but I’m sure there are others. If that’s where you are, then I think it’s less weird to use your parents for networking.

    I personally wouldn’t feel comfortable using my parents to establish my professional network, but I think that in general it doesn’t reflect poorly on you as a professional, provided the parent is doing it very lightly, as in, “Did you hear my son Fergus is a teapot designer now? He’s also interested in floral patterns, would you like his card?” as opposed to actively job hunting for you.

  91. fine tipped pen afficionado*

    Going to be honest, I think the reliance on networking is a huge reason behind the perpetuation of inequalities in the workforce. I am very likely in the minority here but I wouldn’t feel morally okay with using a personal connection to make professional moves.

    Also I would like to cape for the advantages of keeping your personal and professional life very separate and not having your parents up in your business.

    1. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

      I felt similarly when I was breaking into the workforce.

      My parents also believed (and my teachers reinforced the belief) that I could walk on water if I would just apply myself, so that is what they promised the one time I relented with each of them, and both times I ended up so far in over my head that I couldn’t see daylight.

  92. JessicaTate*

    Here’s the part of what you wrote that stuck out to me – the part beyond wanting to stand on your own merits: “My view is that … I don’t want to be swayed by my mother’s interests.”

    I’m curious about what you’re thinking about when you write that last phrase. Are you indicating that your mom might be a little over-invested, especially if you go into her niche or via her contacts? Or that you’re not even sure you want to pursue her niche? Or concerned that the easy opportunity (or obligation) could sway you into candy teapot making versus chocolate teapot making, when maybe that’s not what you want? Or something else entirely?

    Me? I’d be thinking about what I know about my parents and how they operate with respect to my independence, my life, and my career. If they are, “It’s an introduction, and then it’s up to you” – cool. If they are, “It’s an introduction and you’d be great at candy teapots and I can help you get on the panel at the conference next year and and and…” or “What?!? You decided to go to Chocolate Teapots after I got you that interview at Candy Co? But you’d be do good at the candy field! You’re wasting your talents!”… well, I might just deal with the fallout of putting up the boundary now, rather than later.

    1. AnotherLibrarian*

      Yeah, I noticed that too and I wasn’t sure what to make of it. I think you’re right that solid boundaries are critical and if you know your parents won’t respect them then, to borrow a phrase from Captain Awkward, the house may well be full of bees.

  93. kupo!*

    Do what you need to to get your foot in the door, and then make sure to hold the door open for those behind you. Meaning: let them help you network, and then help others do the same.

  94. Somebody blonde*

    This depends so much on what your relationship is with your mother. If she can act as if she’s any other professional contact you might have, it’s fine. Basically, if you were just a young person she knows, would she still be happy to place her professional reputation behind you to introduce you to these contacts? Or is your resume not strong enough to back you up without the relationship? I’d be fine with being introduced in the first instance, really uncomfortable in the latter. Frankly, the latter is setting everyone up to be uncomfortable.

  95. Gary Patterson’s Cat*

    Meh. I guess it depends on the level of involvement.
    Your parents telling you about an opportunity because they know someone is fine, but you’re going to follow up yourself without their assistance should you want to.

  96. PeachesLCG*

    One of my BECs at work is a nepotism hire. He applied for one job, wasn’t going to be interviewed for that job, his FIL knew someone who was good friends with the dean. Lo and behold, a director position was created for this guy, no one else was considered/interviewed. Are your parents like his FIL?
    I will also add that he is not good at his job. It’s hard to get someone out though. So, the rest of us try to deal with it.

    My first job after finishing up my A-levels was at a bank. A bunch of their stats clerks were going to be heading off to college and they started this training program to bring recent grads in before they left. Of course, half the folks in my class applies. I got a rejection letter although my grades were miles better than all but one of the applicants. There was no interview, so it wasn’t based on any interaction. Come to find out that everyone who got called had an “in” at the bank. Either their sibling/parent worked there/ was on the board/knew someone on the board, etc.
    My mother saw this BS and found the number for the head of HR and gave her the whats for about their hiring practices. Wouldn’t you know that within a week I got an offer letter to join the program? While I was embarrassed that my mother had to call (I was 18), I am glad that she did. Folks (generally) are told that if they work hard and are talented etc that they will break the poverty or whatever cycle, but it’s not just that. It’s a lot of luck and knowing the right people, which pisses me off.

    If a parent wants to make an introduction, fine, but if it’s an “introduction” with a wink and a nudge, then…

  97. Sans Serif*

    This is something I’ve thought about a lot. A member of my family got an interview because she happened to meet someone who was a good friend of her cousin’s. He was looking for someone in her major and she was about to graduate. So he told her to send her resume. She did, she interviewed, and she got the job. Notice I say she “got the interview”, not “got the job” through the friend of a cousin. They wouldn’t have hired her if she hadn’t been qualified or if they liked someone else more. She had “friends” who called it nepotism and insisted she was given the job solely because she knew someone. These “friends” were miserable cows. There’s nothing wrong with using a connection to get someone to look at your resume. They aren’t going to give you the job if you’re not right for it. You’re not being handed anything without earning it.

  98. PeachesLCG*

    A lot of people are also not thinking about implicit bias here. It just keeps the cycle going. Yes, you may not say give my kid the job, but if the parent is high enough up or, or if it’s someone who is of strategic relevance for the hiring manager, they may be more likely to give their kid a shot. They are going in with additional points due to their pre-existing relationship.

  99. nnn*

    You can always hold this option in reserve and try it on your own first. You don’t have to make One Big Immediate Final decision about whether to draw on your mother’s network – things like “I’ll think about it and let you know” or “I want to see how far I can get on my own first” are always options.

    (How this would play out now with you already having declined your mother’s offer depends greatly on personalities and on your relationship with your mother, which I can’t tell anything about through the internet.)

  100. Retired (but not really)*

    This is a decision you have to make for yourself. I know people who were quite happy to follow in parent’s footsteps career wise or utilize parents networks and it worked well for them. I also know that for myself I chose not to do so and have been quite content with that choice.
    You know your parents and how hands on or hands off they are likely to be. You also know how much you are willing to let them do. As others have mentioned it can be quite beneficial or it can be stumbling block. I like the suggestion of picking a time frame of x amount of time before accepting their help if it’s still needed.
    Best wishes to you in your decision and your job search!

  101. Betty Beep Boop*

    I agree with the above – a lot has to do with your relationship and knowing how your parents treat you as an independent adult. It’s not as smooth an introduction but would your mom be open to giving you the contact info for these people? Then when you email them you can say that you’re contacted through Lady Fauntleroy who is on the Help Kids Read Betterer Committee or whatever. Another piece to keep in mind for yourself, and/or your mom is what kind of connection you want to make. Maybe something like can we chat about your career experience, or interested in your line of work if you happen to know of anything opening up and less “this is my daughter, give her a job, hire her” which can be really imposing and unrealistic. Networking especially when you’re starting in the field is just to make those connections, learn some stuff, and then later on that turns out to help you in some way.

    Also, this goes in line with how you feel your relationship is with you parents and how they relate to you as an adult but I would also keep in mind how your mom is connected to these people. It’s possible you could connect with them, work with them and everything is great but then find out that your mom is still “involved” chatting it up with them or someone in the company in a personal space like at their jazzercize class. Even though everything is hunky dory for you at work how will you feel if all of that is going on in a paralell space. Can your mom turn off her personal friendship if you are now connected in a professional way to the same person? You two will have to figure out your boundaries.

  102. AthenaC*

    Take the offer to connect and expect to stand on your own merit once you’re acquainted.

    And then pay it forward and facilitate introductions yourself in future years – that’s how networking works!

  103. Sandy*

    My gosh, take the introductions! I understand your desire to stand on your own, but am not even convinced that’s a real thing. Almost every job I’ve gotten has been because I know somebody. Do your best to open doors for others, but don’t close doors in your own face.

  104. Beth*

    I felt like this about my parents trying to help me with career stuff when I was in my early 20s–I wasn’t comfortable networking with their connections, asking them for advice on career stuff or talking out my thoughts with them, or otherwise having them involved even a little in my professional life. A lot of that was concern that I wouldn’t really be ‘making it’ as an adult if I had to rely on them like that.

    Now that I’m in my early 30s, I kind of wish I’d taken advantage more of their experience and connections. Yes, their job hunting advice was outdated (lots of gumption-based suggestions). But it would’ve been useful to have a better idea of what ‘having a career’ could look like, of what kinds of things they thought about when considering a job or a career path, of how they got into their fields and what they did and didn’t like about them….all that stuff. And I’m now of the mindset that absolutely all connections are on the table for networking–if friends-of-friends are an option to approach, then friends-of-family are too, including friends-of-parents. Take advantage of whatever you have access to.

  105. Raida*

    My take on this is that you’re pushing back because it’s your Mum.
    Not because you want to be independent.
    Maybe you feel like she’s going to embarass you, or that real adults don’t do this, or like she’s treating you as a child, or that the job isn’t as attractive if your Mum is involved – but all of that is the response of someone that has no experience in networking.

    The reality is that getting your name just a bit more attention when you apply for something is helpful.
    Getting invited to apply for something is helpful.
    Getting a chance to chat with someone even if there isn’t a role available is helpful.
    Getting a chance to attend a professional function is helpful.

    The pure cold logic says that it’s advantageous to you and therefore should be reconsidered.

    **Unless your Mum is pushy pushy pushy, promises things when she shouldn’t, will hold this over you forever, talks down about your career interests, etc. That is someone you don’t want to be professionally associated with!

  106. Jenga*

    I don’t see anything wrong with it. That’s what networking is and how it work, you use your connections to make more connections. If it helps get your foot in the door, take it. Once you’re in, you have to make a name for yourself. And frankly, if you’re the daughter of someone who is known in the field, the bar of expectation may be higher for you, so take the advantage while you can get it.

  107. mmm*

    In some fields this is a totally normal (and completely expected) thing to do. I’ve had interns because they had a parent who knew somebody etcetera. Generally, it just gets you a chat with someone and then everything else from there is about you. I would encourage you in the future if you’re in a position to hire interns or entry level jobs that you *also* actively try and recruit people who may not have those kinds of connections as well, because not everyone does.

  108. Caitlin*

    I think treat any contact your parents set you up with as an informational interview (following Allison’s advice not to ask for a job!), to learn more about the industry and potential career paths to your “dream role”. That’s still a hugely useful resource, but you’re not getting a job based on “you know my dad”.

    I had one of these informational interviews through a business contact of my mum’s, and though there was no chance of working there, I got amazing information about what sorts of pathways into the industry there might be, and feel confident about my career decisions.

  109. lizesq*

    Hi OP,
    I don’t think there is anything wrong with letting your parents help introduce you to their contacts. I think if you want to be independent you can set boundaries with your parents. They can’t follow up if you get interviews, no pushing you or hiring managers. If they simply pass on a resume, I don’t see that as any different than anyone else you know passing a resume to someone who has a position you’d be a good fit in.
    Maybe I am biased, I’m in a different field than my parents. I’m an attorney and my mom is a college admin. She passed my resume to her college’s counsel, who passed it around to some of his contacts. I got an interview and then an offer from a midsize firm in a big city. When I thanked the contact who passed my resume along, he told me all he did was forward an email and my credentials and interview spoke for itself.

    There is a downside however (as with most things) and one of the legal secretaries found out who my mom was. I didn’t keep it a secret but she acts like I did and has made some snide comments. But guess what? No one else cares cause (1) my work speaks for itself and (2) she’s just a petty Betty about everything.

    Obviously you have to weigh this based on what’s best for you, but I think if you tell your parents you are ok with introductions or forwarding a resume or you decide for yourself what would be the extent of the help you get, and set firm boundaries around that, you will have your job and do your work based on your own achievements and merit and not based on who your parents are or who they know.

  110. Jam on Toast*

    I recently connected my universiry-age son to a job in his field of study. His new boss was a professional connection of mine. Six months ago, in the course of a conversation, she’d mentioned that she was looking to fill a very specific role, which he had the skills to do. It’s definitely entry level work but the pay is excellent, he can do it remotely alongside his studies and it gives a great addition to his resume. In terms of my involvement, I sent her a straightforward email, introducing my son and speaking *briefly* about his qualifications. Then, I bowed out completely and Jam Jr. Was responsible for interviewing and completing a work sample. Leveraging my network on behalf of my kid is something that I view as something reasonable parents do because I want my son to be professionally successful and fulfilled. But I also know I can recommend my kid without it damaging my own professional standing. He’s diligent, polite and a genuine asset to any company that hires him. If the parents are steamrollers or their kid isn’t reliable, then the truth will out pretty quickly and they’ll end up hit by the blowback same as their kiddo.

  111. Nurse Ratchet*

    LW, my mother worked in nursing administration at the first facility I was hired at after finishing nursing school. I had to convince the hiring manager to give me a chance, because they knew who my mom was and didn’t want me running to her with complaints. It wasn’t until I decided to leave that organization that I was really able to be seen by my own merits instead of ‘Nurse Ratchet Jr.’
    My point is that, while parents can help you with networking, there are times where having parents in the company can make things harder.

  112. Numb Little Bug*

    I can totally understand why this makes you uncomfortable but I would encourage you to at least try it out! I would feel differently if your parents were trying to use their connections to get you a job in an industry you had no interest or experience in, because that simply screams nepotism. This however seems very different, and you might really benefit from having some contacts in the industry. I think it will be important to set boundaries with your parents to ensure that they are not becoming too involved. By this I mean following up on interviews on your behalf or arranging interviews or being particularly pushy. Networking is so important and as long as you set these boundaries I see this as no different than having a friend in the industry introduce you to their contacts

  113. DIY*

    Use your connections!

    So…I was you. I finished law school, had a lot of family that were attorneys and offered to connect me with others, and I turned them all down. I wanted to do it on my own merits, not as so-and-so’s relative.

    This made my job search so much harder than it needed to be.

    I thought that the connections would mean that I would get a job because I was so-and-so’s relative and would not reflect on my merits. After months of searching, I did get a job, but it was hard…and that was back when we sent resumes and cover letters via mail on bonded paper so there were fewer applicants per job.

    After advancing in the career and becoming a hiring manager, I grew to appreciate when people would lean on me as a connection to refer people. It was not an expectation of “this is my relative, give her a job” but having someone I knew and respected vouch for a candidate was an additional data point that helped in a chaotic selection effort (and with ATS now, it would be even more valuable).

    So yes, lean on your connections to get your foot in the door at an interview. But if it gets uncomfortable or your family becomes too pushy with the job search process, then set some boundaries and expectations.

  114. Kate in Colorado*

    So I actually had the opposite experience: my parent was miserable in their job and was clearly very frustrated and discouraged. I happened to be moving on from a job I was at and knew my parent’s skills and work ethic could be a good match. I offered to pass their resume on to my managers, and sure enough, my parent was hired! 5 years later they are still in the job and doing great! Offering to make connections based on skills and experience is not the same thing as giving someone a job because they are family despite qualifications. Good luck and please update us!

  115. moonstone*

    If it’s just to talk to people and learn more about the field, yes accept the intros. But I would definitely caution against being a nepotistic hire or interview candidate. Lots of employees will resent you for it and only be nice to you because they have to.

    I get nepotistic interview candidates for internships foisted on me all the time. They’re never the most qualified ones and it annoys me to have to interview them. I don’t resent the candidate themselves, but it doesn’t necessarily recommend you well when you’re the interview candidate someone is being forced to talk to vs someone they genuinely think is qualified.

  116. Techy Millenial*

    I don’t think it’s bad at all. A few years ago I applied for and got offered a position for a job I only knew about through my dad (it was a university position and my dad was not a part of their group but had done collaboration with them through a group at a different university). He didn’t mention me to anyone there, presumably because he didn’t want me to feel how you’re feeling. When I had my first phone call the interviewer asked how I heard about the position and I was honest and said, “My dad is Techy Millennial’s Dad and when he told me about the project I was interested and wanted to learn more.” We had a bit of a “small world” laugh and moved on. I don’t feel like being his daughter had anything to do with me getting an offer, but I wouldn’t have known about the position if not for him. So I don’t think it’s bad at all to use the connections to your advantage! You can establish your merits once you start the networking process and let your skills speak for themselves.

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