Parents pay consultants big bucks to help millennials get jobs
When her son, Jake, began his junior year of college in 2016, Lori began to worry.
How would Jake — a film-studies major who was minoring in creative writing — ever find a decent job? She was a lawyer; her husband was a financial adviser. Neither of them had any idea how to help their less-conventional, creative child.
When Jake, now 23, told her that he wanted to land a summer internship, “I was like, ‘I don’t know what to do here,’” Lori, who declined to give her last name for privacy reasons, tells The Post. The mother of two felt she “didn’t have the expertise to help him, nor did I have the time.”
Rather than directing him to the on-campus career counselor, Lori decided to call in the big guns: She hired a pair of consultants, Jill Tipograph and Lesley Mitler, to help Jake translate his liberal-arts education into a concrete career path.
Protective moms and dads have long called upon professional advisers for their high-school-aged kids, including tutors and college applications reviewers, to give them an edge in the higher-ed rat race. So it makes sense that, as the job market grows increasingly competitive — millennials are the largest generation in the workforce as of 2016, according to Pew Research — parents are hiring a slew of coaches to help their undergrads find careers.
“We tell parents, this process is wrought with the most amount of rejection that your student will ever experience in their life,” Tipograph, who earned her consulting chops by helping parents pick out the right summer camps for their kids, tells The Post. She decided to work with college kids after the economic crash in 2008, when she noticed that “no one was helping [students] transition from college to career.” She teamed up with Mitler, a former recruiter, to found Early Stage Careers, based in Manhattan.
For $400 an hour on average, Tipograph and Mitler offer college kids career guidance via regular phone calls from their dorm rooms and in-person sessions over holiday breaks. They advise on the best courses to take and extracurricular activities to catch employers’ eyes. They keep students on top of deadlines, such as the cutoffs for those coveted finance-industry internships, and ensure their social-media accounts align with their goals. They also coach them through the strange, techy curveballs of the 2018 job market — for example, how to ace preliminary interviews with artificially intelligent screening bots. (That’s not a situation most parents are equipped to handle, Tiopgraph says: “In many cases, they haven’t looked for a job in 20, 25 years.”)
Jake spent roughly 50 hours with Tipograph and Mitler, which cost Lori an estimated $15,000. But she says it’s worth it: Jake, she says, learned to articulate his goals, rewrote his résumé, performed mock job interviews and sat for headshots for his LinkedIn profile. He’s since landed his dream job in Kenya, blogging for a live wildlife show. Lori was so happy with the experience that she hired Tipograph and Mitler to work with her younger son, David, who is now 21 and has a finance job waiting for him upon his graduation.
While some take more conventional paths than others, Tipograph stresses that her service isn’t for lazy kids. In fact, most of them are high-achieving, she says, with GPAs of 3.5 or more.
Tracey Zane Kantrowitz, now a 28-year-old upper-level media professional in Manhattan, certainly fit the bill. When she graduated from the University of Michigan in 2012, she asked her parents if they’d help her pay for a few meetings with Tipograph and Mitler.
“I was really anxious after I got out of college, because a lot of my friends had gotten jobs the summer before they graduated,” she tells The Post. “I remember feeling the pressure to secure something, and it just wasn’t happening.”
Kantrowitz estimates she spent a total of 10 hours with Mitler honing her interview skills, learning how to “hit her bullet points” and how to weave stories into conversation that underlined her strengths. After that, she landed the plum job in TV production that she wanted.
“Her services are not low-fee, but to me that was an investment,” she says, explaining that she contributed some of her own money toward the sessions. “Just like you would invest in a really great interview suit for yourself.”
Judy Wu, a 24-year-old proposal writer for a logistics company, feels the same way. Just before she graduated from Rutgers University, she spent an afternoon with Sharon Kornstein, an image consultant based in Verona, NJ. Kornstein charges $150 an hour, plus the cost of clothes, to update the client’s wardrobe and pass along tips on business etiquette.
“I wouldn’t say it necessarily helped me land a job, but it did give me a boost of confidence,” Wu says of working with Kornstein, who helped her upgrade her “tomboy” wardrobe with work-appropriate staples such as a dark suit, a pencil skirt, straight-legged pants and a few blouses.
“My business is part therapy, part psychologist and then part stylist,” Kornstein tells The Post. “I have to convince people that they’re not [altering their look] for a company, they’re doing it for themselves.”
That’s the crux of the issue, Tipograph says. Parents can pay as much as they want, and she and Mitler can dole out as much advice as they can, but the kids are the ones who are ultimately responsible for their own success.
“They have to own this process,” she says. If they do, she says, they’ll come out “stronger for their next phase of life.”
Read more about this from the source.