The modern workforce is a completely different place than the one Gen Xers and baby boomers encountered when they started their careers. Online applications, social networking, frequent job-hopping and career changing, and other norms of today's world were nonexistent in previous years. And older generations may feel a little out of touch with their millennial children who are now entering the job market.
These parents may think their advice and experience may not resonate with their tech-savvy, digital-age progeny, but millennials really do want to learn from Mom and Dad: A LinkedIn survey conducted for its second annual "Bring in Your Parents Day" (Nov. 6) found that 65 percent of American workers say their parents have knowledge or advice that could benefit the workers' careers. And yet more than one-third of parents haven't shared that knowledge, because they don't understand their child's job, or are intimidated by changes in the workplace.
"Parents can serve as an incredibly valuable [career] resource for their children," said Nicole Williams, a LinkedIn career expert. "While parents might be hesitant, some of the greatest knowledge they can pass on to their children isn't necessarily career specific."
According to the LinkedIn survey, today's workers credit their parents for passing on some of the most important professional skills, such as integrity (50 percent), perseverance (41 percent), problem-solving (36 percent), creative thinking (30 percent) and leadership (28 percent). These skills are universally valuable and keys to success, regardless of a person's specific role or industry, Williams said. [The 10 Non-Tech Skills Employers Are Looking for Most]
Of course, career learning can go both ways. Millennials whose parents are still in the workforce can teach Mom and Dad how to navigate the increasingly mobile and digital landscape, especially in creating a personal brand online.
"Children can teach their parents about the growing importance and presence of the professional brand," Williams told Business News Daily. "The jobs you have had or the skills that you have acquired throughout your career are not the only things that are intriguing to employers. It's about how you represent yourself professionally, as a whole package, from your profile picture to creatively highlighting examples of the work you've done."
To start benefitting from each other's untapped career insights, parents and children need to begin an open dialogue about the subject, Williams said. Parents can help out in an even more direct way by making introductions to their network of professional contacts. But Williams cautioned parents to not be too pushy or overbearing when dispensing wisdom.
"There is definitely a way to be available without being too involved," she said. "It is important for children to set their own limits and talk to their parents about what they are comfortable with in terms of their parents' involvement in their career. An open discussion can help kick-start a dialogue between parent and child, and allow for the parent to know the best ways for them to be involved."