So You Want Your Kid Out of the Basement….

Basement suite living room mlsSummer’s come– and now gone– and while it was fun to have your college-graduate around the house for a few months, their persistent non-response to, “Have you thought about what kind of job you might get?” is becoming worrying. With this in mind, here’s a down-and-dirty list of things you can do to help them present their best self:

Listen to Their Voice Mail Message:

Voice mail is often the first contact the majority of the world has with us. And while you know that anything along the lines of “Yo dawg!” isn’t going to wow, I would also encourage them to stand while recording it to give their voice resonance, speak slowly enough that the caller is sure they’ve reached the correct person, and record it in a silent space: no background music, television, highway or restaurant sounds…

Exchange a Few Emails with Them:

Hotkitty and its ilk, are not appropriate email addresses for use in any situation. Additionally, I’m not a fan of obscure combinations of letters and numbers. While it might be immediately apparent to them that this address is their initials/birthday or some such, they are making others work too hard to remember it. And, as we’ve learned, when you make me work too hard I feel stupid, and when I feel stupid, I don’t like you. Instead, have them buy their name as a Why? Because linking their email to a service that is used by millions of others (gmail, aol, roadrunner, etc) doesn’t leave the impression of them as unique—as a force to be reckoned with. Buying their name tells others they take themselves seriously.

Make Sure They Have Cards—Not Credit Cards, Business Cards

Again, having a business card signals the world that they take themselves seriously. What do I recommend these include? Their full name and contact information, and multiple ways to reach them (email, snail mail, land line, cell, skype, etc.) Different people are comfortable with different forms of communication—so make sure they have a number of different options on offer. What don’t I want to see? I’d prefer that cards not include a description of what they want to do, because while they may indeed want be a writer, designer, agent, or producer there’s a whiff of desperation to including that on a card. I also don’t recommend including slogans, mission statements, affirmations, inspirational sayings, etc.

Check Out Their Facebook/My Space/Twitter Page:

Don’t kid yourself: employers will be checking these prior to deciding with whom they’re going to follow up. Given this, any postings referencing the intimate details of their personal relationship, GI tract, or mental health; and any photos in which they are drinking, smoking, leering, sneering, suggestively posed, or otherwise indisposed must be deleted. When in doubt, ask the following question: “Does this entry/picture make me sound/look like I can be trusted with $100,000.00?” If it doesn’t, get rid of it. Any protests along the lines of, “But I don’t want people to think I’m not fun,” can be countered with, “They’ll think you’re fun when you can buy them a drink– because you have a salary.”