By his lights, a valuable (and difficult) part of parents' role is being supportive while still acting as a reality check. "Encourage new grads to learn about what industries are growing now and which ones aren't, and where the opportunities are likely to be in the future," he says.You might also mention that "the point right now is to start somewhere, without worrying too much about whether it's the ideal job," DeLong adds. "Especially at the outset of a career, even a job you don't like will teach you a lot."
What if your child is going into, say, drama, film, or some other field where lots of other talented people are parking cars or waiting tables? "Of course, a few of those people do get their big break," he notes. "But parents need to make sure kids understand the likely consequences of any choice they make now."
Talkback: If you've helped a son or daughter find a job in this tough economy, what helped the most (or least)? Leave a comment below.