10 Ways to Survive the Time Between College Graduation and the First Job – A Parents’ Guide

10 Ways to Survive the Time Between College Graduation and the First Job – A Parents’ Guide

By Susan V. Schaefer, M.Ed., M.A.T.


College graduations are winding down and we all know what that means; newly minted, unemployed college graduates ready to launch into adulthood. Looking for a first “real” job can be exciting but overwhelming, especially for those who have executive function weaknesses due to ADHD or another underlying condition.  The abundance of avenues available to job hunters can be a nightmare for people with organization, pre-planning and time management issues.  Throw some anxiety into the mix and we have a generation of overwhelmed, stressed out graduates who may struggle with putting together a plan and moving forward.


Those of us who have had the experience of having a child move home after college and are ready to begin their career know that this can cause quite a bit of tension in the household.  Just asking, “What did you do today? Send out some resumes?” can cause a tsunami of emotional distress.  It may seem like anything a parent says could be be interpreted as, “You’re not trying hard enough!” causing a great amount of tension in the family.


Having a game plan will go a long way in easing tension and saving your sanity.


  • Call a meeting to set reasonable and clear expectations and goals
  • Listen to your child and respect their opinions, and ask them to do the same.
  • Ask how you can help.
  • Give them space, nobody likes someone looking over their shoulder and questioning their every move
  • Realize the job search is different today than it was 25 years ago. Some strategies you used may be outdated.
  • Don’t nag, it won’t help.
  • Reserve the right to make suggestions, but don’t push.
  • Take 3 deep breaths before responding to negative comments.
  • Think about resources, do you know anyone who may be a good connection? Make sure you speak to your child before contacting anyone.
  • Set a weekly meeting to tweak expectations, review progress and air frustrations in a calm and mature manner.


If your son or daughter is having a tough time with their job search and is not receptive to your help, a career/life coach is a great idea for two reasons.  The first is obvious, people who have issues with ADHD/Executive Functions, and even those who don’t, often need someone to help them make a solid plan and follow through and hold them accountable.  The other reason is to keep your relationship with your child healthy by removing you from the equation. And don’t forget to celebrate progress!


— Susan V. Schaefer, M.Ed., M.A.T.


expert biography

Susan Schaefer is the owner of Academic Coaching Associates, LLC, the first company on the East Coast to combine academic and life coaching, creating an extraordinarily effective holistic approach to student achievement. With a proven record of improving academic success for students, both nationally and internationally, Sue is committed to helping students realize their academic potential and achieve their goals.

Sue is also a sought-after speaker on many educational subjects, and has published numerous articles on education and parenting. She wrote a weekly education column for Patch.com, appeared on Huffington Post Live, and the WXLM radio show to name just a few. Prior to opening Academic Coaching Associates, Sue was a classroom teacher and holds teaching certificates in both Connecticut and Illinois.


2446 Albany Avenue, Suite 301
West Hartford, CT 06117

(860) 297-1591

Susan Schaefer


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