Set up your kids for career success — without overstepping boundaries.

Searching for a new job can be riddled with anxiety — and if you have children who are entering the job-search process or have just started their careers, it's only natural to want to see them succeed. However, there are certain lines that shouldn't be crossed in your efforts to help them. For instance, you should never contact your kids' bosses — ever.

This might sound silly, but according to a recent study conducted by Morning Study for The New York Times, some parents are getting a tad over-involved in their adult children's work lives. The study found that nearly a quarter (22 percent) of parents wrote all or part of their child's job application, while 11 percent have contacted their child's employer to discuss issues at work.

This trend is being termed “snowplow parenting,” where parents clear away any possible obstacle in their children's paths, from drafting their job applications to trying to participate in their interviews, and even calling their bosses to advocate for a raise. I know this seems hard to believe, but these Facebook comments don't lie.

“I watched a mom fill out her son's very simple application while he stood next to her and did nothing. When I delivered it to the manager, I said mom filled it out while son watched the manager took the papers from my hand and put them directly into the trash. Those kids were the hardest to work with and none of us had time to deal with the parents.” — Marsha G.

“I once got a letter from a father detailing how his son was let go from his previous employer, unfairly of course, and how he was looking for a new job for his son and if I could please pass his resume along…” — Jeanne D.

“At my old job, I had a mother attend an interview with her son for his internship. I told her she could wait in the lobby while we interviewed him and she informed me that she was there to attend and assist in the interview. I told her NO and she, nor he, were very happy about it. He bombed the interview and she called me and my boss to tell us that we should have allowed her to partake in the interview as it would have increased his chances. It was a bit of a weird situation but eventually she went away. I mean seriously.... she wanted to be part of the interview? Were we hiring her or her son? Was she going to come to work every day with him to make sure he did his work, or would she do it for him?” — Mary Ann G.  

“I had a mother call me and ask if I could give her 52 y/o son some part-time work. Not going to happen if he can't inquire on his own!” — Michael C.

While the “snowplowing” parenting technique might produce some short-term wins for your children, this isn't a good strategy for their long-term career success. Eliminating obstacles from your child's path, especially during the job search, will not only hinder their growth, but it can also backfire, as many employers will dismiss applicants whose parents appear to be over-involved in the application or interview process. Instead, here are a few ways you can genuinely help your children throughout their job search.

Help your child maximize their job-application ROI

When we asked nearly 300 recruiters and employers about the most damaging job-search mistakes people make after college, “Applying to unrealistic jobs” came in at number five. Help your child determine if a job application is worth their time by arming them with this list of questions to ask themselves before applying.

Encourage them to clean up their online presence

A Jobvite social recruiting survey found that the majority of HR professionals and recruiters (85 percent) said that a positive online presence has influenced a hiring decision. On the flip side, 70 percent have turned down a candidate based on something they found about them online. If your children aren't managing their online brands, they could unknowingly damage their chances of landing the job. Help them overhaul their online brands with this guide.

Gift them with a professionally written resume

When deciding whether your child should use a DIY resume or invest in a professionally written resume, the data is clear. According to our recent, two-part study, job seekers who used a professionally written resume had a 32 percent higher rate of finding a job than those who used self-written resumes. If you want your child to land the right job sooner, resist the urge to write their resume for them and seek out a professional — like one of our TopResume writers. Getting a professionally written resume will ensure that your child stands out for all the right reasons and lands a job they (and you) can be proud of!

Set up your child for success — without overstepping your boundaries. Learn more about our resume-writing packages that will take your child's resume from good to great!

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