Recent Grads: How Not to Impress Your Parents' Professional Contacts

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Saying 'I'll take any job.' It's great that you're a quick study with a diverse set of skills. But when your parents' peers ask what sort of job you're looking for, "Anything that pays" is the wrong answer. People don't want to do the legwork for you. If you tell people, "I'd like to work in computer gaming," they know to keep their eyes out for relevant resources and leads. Not so if you merely say, "I'm sort of interested in technology." If you have no idea what type of job you might want or what fields even interest you, do some research before taking the time to meet with your parents' pals. Why make a mediocre first impression when you can make a stellar one?

Forget to follow up. Because he or she has some sort of allegiance to your mom or dad, a busy person who doesn't know you from Adam took an hour out of the day to walk you through the particulars of breaking into a particular profession. The least you could do is email the person a note of thanks (not a text or a tweet, but a bona fide email). If you really want to impress the person, send a follow-up note via the U.S. Postal Service. And if the person recommended another colleague for you to talk to or tossed you a job lead, make sure you follow up later to say how it went. Remember, the more on the ball your parents' pals find you, the more likely they'll continue to send helpful tips, leads and other colleagues your way.

This work is the opinion of the columnist, and in no way reflects the opinion of ABC News.

Michelle Goodman is a freelance writer and former cubicle dweller. Her books include My So-Called Freelance Life: How to Survive and Thrive as a Creative Professional for Hire and The Anti 9-to-5 Guide: Practical Career Advice for Women Who Think Outside the Cube. Follow her at @anti9to5guide.

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