The academic year again approaches and, with it, the search for the perfect graduation gift.

It’s springtime – when a young person’s thoughts turn lightly, or heavily, to graduation – and relatives and friends wonder about the perfect gift to celebrate and reward student achievements. How about one of those gifts that keeps on giving (a cliché, maybe, but true)? I’m talking about Career Coaching. It can take your adult child much further than that car or bike or vacation he/she/they want.

Pre-pandemic, in May 2019, billionaire Robert Smith announced he would pay off all of the student debt for the graduates of Moorehouse University. For a man who has a few billion dollars, this gesture to pay off 40 million dollars for the grads at this university was rightfully praised by many people.

Mr. Smith’s gift allowed graduates to start the next chapter with clear heads and less stress about the debts they have to repay. The $40 million given by Mr. Smith is a small cost to him, but to the students, it means a lot, and it will help them to establish and progress in their careers.

You, as parents, have already invested your savings into your children’s future by ensuring that they receive the education they need. To complement the money you have already spent on their education, why not make a small additional investment once they graduate for objective, professional coaching. This will help them make appropriate decisions and successfully move ahead in their careers.

I have worked with students and graduates as a Graduate Placement Advisor at a local community college and as a career coach at a university. I have coached some students and graduates in my private practice. Working with young people is a pleasure for me because they are so optimistic and idealistic.

Upon completing three or four years at college or university, I have always appreciated how motivated and enthusiastic they are to find the right career path. In the same breath, however, they may lack confidence and need support to make significant decisions about their continued studies or the job market they wish to enter.

I have found the coaching relationship has been beneficial to graduates and rewarding for me. We work together to make decisions about post-graduate studies in programs that may complement what they have already learned. We also discuss if they are ready to launch their careers.

When required, I have assisted graduates, and employment seekers prepare their branding, resumes, LinkedIn profiles and cover letters. I have coached them to be the best they can be in their interviews, and I have supported them as they transition into their new work roles. I admire the increasing numbers of colleges and universities that offer some practical coaching.

The best career coaches, I believe, also build upon the coaching students may already have received in school. Qualified coaches can adapt knowledge gained in the academic environment for use within the corporate business world or in other organizations and institutions where graduates may find work. Professional coaching can focus on working as a team player, essential in any work environment. There’s also the need to learn negotiation skills and how to achieve balance and avoid burnout.

I feel grateful to have coached grads from almost every profession and career path. I have directed them to demonstrate the required professionalism for their chosen path.

Coaching can be a great grad gift. A gift that continues giving for a lifetime.

Contact me to learn how I can help your graduate succeed!

Updated from an article originally published May 23, 2019, by Brian Epstein