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Published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on May 31, 2000. All rights
The Right Job for Your Kid
Young people are often more in tune with how to get
a job than their parents, says Farida Mistry, a financial
at Edward Jones who also teaches "Helping Your Child Nab the Right
Job" at the Learning Studio on Tuesday, June 6, at 7 p.m. Call
609-688-0800. Cost: $39. "If a parent hasn’t been job hunting
in the past three years they have no idea what it’s like to search
for a job in this market," says Mistry, who has been teaching
children how to gain financial independence for the past three years.
"I encourage parents to be more like a management consultant so
that they don’t get personally involved in the job process."
One misconception parents tend to perpetuate is that employers look
negatively at applicants with frequent job changes on their resume.
In fact, diversity of experience is presently most highly-regarded.
"When I was growing up, if you moved from company to company you
were considered a bad employee because you were not showing
says Mistry, "Today, if you stay in one company they say you don’t
have enough experience, you haven’t sampled what’s out there."
Traveling after college is one way young people can broaden their
range of experience, says Mistry. "The experiences you get from
traveling to a different culture can broaden your horizons so much
more than just getting your first job," says Mistry, who moved
to the U.S. from Bombay, India, to get a BA in accounting and finance
from Barnard Baruch College in 1976. "Meeting other people and
watching how the world works, how different cultures work and how
people treat each other is worth its weight in gold."
Summer internships, however, are essential to helping a child develop
direction, and Mistry encourages people to try several fields during
their years in college. "Maybe your child might want to try an
architectural firm in the first year, an accounting firm in the
a law office in the third," she says. "One month in a job
will let you know, `Oh my god, I definitely don’t want to do this
for the rest of my life.’"
Starting a business — or trying self-employment — is also
a good option for someone right out of college, says Mistry. "A
job in a company isn’t the end all and be all," she says. "I
may take three to five years to set up a brand new business. Doesn’t
it make sense if you’re 21 years old and you have your parents’
and you can still live at home? This is the best time to start a
A strong resume will reflect a person’s versatility, but even more
importantly, resumes should be carefully tailored to specific jobs
— no more standard resume, says Mistry. Parents can help a child
best by helping him or her clarify their interests and strengths and
by providing networking opportunities through their own friends and
The biggest mistake parents make is imposing their own expectations
on their children, says Mistry. "Don’t dampen your child’s
she says. "Often a parent gets too personally involved and they
don’t match skills to what’s available. The world is so different
today and the world will be so different when their children are grown
up, so just encourage them. Let them make their own mistakes. The
best thing in life is to learn from your own mistakes. It’s not
— I don’t even think we should have such a word as failure. You
just learn, OK, I won’t do this again."
Too many options can be overwhelming, says Susan
Guarneri, a nationally certified career counselor. "At the
turn of the century, the main occupational field in this country was
farming, so it didn’t matter what your skills were," she says.
"Now we have a multitude of options, which makes it even more
difficult. I find clients feel overwhelmed — they have so many
different ways that they can go that it’s hard for them to narrow
Along with her husband, Jack, Guarneri runs a consulting company
Susan Guarneri Associates at 1101 Lawrenceville Road (609-771-1669,
www.resume-magic.com), providing job search strategies, resume writing
assistance, and human resources development. She discusses career
planning for the 21st century at the next free Job Club meeting at
the Unitarian Church on Monday, June 5, at 7:30 p.m. at 50 Cherry
Hill Road (609-921-1604).
Whatever their profession, says Guarneri, people need to have a good
balance of hard skills (technical) and soft skills (communication).
"Don’t ignore the high-tech world and say `I’ve worked for 20
years and I’m not going to touch a computer,’ she says. "Change
is upon us. I don’t care who you are and what your occupation is,
computers are going to be the driving force."
Conversely, you need to be "high-touch" as well as high-tech.
Guarneri. "While many people recognize that they need to go back
to school for computer skills, they’re not doing anything to update
their soft skills — communications and interpersonal skills,"
A former wildlife researcher, Guarneri received her BA in biology
from the University of Wisconsin, Class of 1976, and took up a
job studying fish, sometimes without interacting with people for
"While I was good at it and interested in it, I am an extrovert
— I get my energy from being around people, and fish are not
she says. "When I got to where I was talking to the fish, I knew
it was time to go." She earned her MA in counseling from Johns
Although the basics to planning a career remain the same, "knowing
yourself, knowing your interests, and knowing your skills," says
Guarneri, the linchpin to getting hired in today’s economy is having
problem-solving skills. "Having the big picture ability to see
up and coming market trends before your competitors do is critical
to success," she says. "It’s not solving a problem after the
fact — it’s solving the problem ahead of the wave. It’s not
but proactive. With the pace of change, by the time that problem is
on you, it’s past you."
Likewise, people should be forward thinking with their careers, which
means updating a resume every six months or even more often. As
likes to say, "If a good opportunity came knocking, would your
resume be ready?"
— Melinda Sherwood
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