How to support a young job seeker - Tips for parents


As a parent, you are a key influencer when it comes to helping your child make employment and study decisions.

Department of Employment and Workplace Relations research indicates that young people need support if they are to succeed in the workforce and that parents are most often the person they turn to.

You can support them to build a long term employment plan, keep motivated and build the resilience to take the knock-backs and learn from the experience.

So how do you know what to say and when to offer advice/support?

To help you, we have some tips that might help when talking to your child about jobs:

  1. Understand what type of job they are looking for

  • Are they looking for a part-time job while they are studying or are they seeking a full-time position?
  • Are they searching for specific jobs or are they casting a wide net?
  • If they are not sure about the type of jobs that might suit them, they can work through the following workbooks to help them better understand their work preferences and the type of roles they might enjoy:

What you can do:

  • If they're not sure what type of jobs would suit them, our printable workbooks (available from our Toolbox) could help them better understand their personal preferences and individual strengths.
  • Our fact sheet Know what you want and can offer provides an overview of how job seekers can better understand what they are looking for and how to market themselves to employers.
  • Our Profile your employability skills workbook can help a young person understand how everyday traits and behaviours, such as communication and team work skills, can help them succeed in the workforce.
  1. Understand the local jobs market

If you haven’t looked for a job for a while, you might not know what job search advice to give. Taking a couple of minutes to get informed about the current jobs market can help in your discussions with your child.

What you can do:

  • Check out our presentation Making informed career choices. Created by the Department, this presentation provides an overview of the current Australian jobs market, including how employers are most likely to recruit and what they look for in workers.
  1. Know how employers recruit

Did you know that up to a one third of jobs are not formally advertised? A lot of jobs are found through word of mouth or by directly contacting employers before they advertise.

What you can do:

  • Spread the word. Tell people you know that your child is looking for work. You never know what opportunities are available until you start talking about it.
  • Encourage your child to approach local employers directly. This could mean physically visiting employers or emailing their résumé. Their résumé must be tailored to each employer and job. Check out our article Building your résumé for tips on creating a résumé that can be tailored to individual employers.
  • If your child is struggling to secure paid work due to a lack of workplace experience, consider suggesting unpaid work experience or volunteering to build their confidence and workplace skills. Even a short-term work experience or volunteering placement can be a great way to build skills and experience to strengthen future applications. Check out our article Get work experience by volunteering.
  1. Be supportive

Looking for work can be difficult and it can be easy for young job seekers to get dejected. Be conscious that youth unemployment levels are quite high in some areas so it might take a while for even the most enthusiastic job seeker to secure a job.

What you can do:

  • Be encouraging and let them know that you care.
  • Offer your support to help them deal with rejection and encourage them to keep trying.
  • If your child is struggling to secure work and you think they could use some additional support, check out our article Who can help me with my job search?
  1. Once they are in work, make sure they understand their rights and responsibilities

Once they have found a job, your support still matters. It’s important that they understand their workplace rights and responsibilities to ensure that they have a positive start to their working life.

What you can do:

More generally, you could also encourage them to check out Our videos. We have a range if videos content providing hints and tips on a range of topics.