The terrible job advice parents give to their millennial kids

By Corinne Purtill

This article originally appear on Quartz at Work. Click here to read.

Parents: the advice you’re doling out on how to seek and secure a job is bad. It’s really bad. It’s outdated and counterproductive. If you love your adult offspring and would like to see them succeed, you must cease and desist immediately.

Alison Green, a consultant who writes the popular blog Ask a Manager, has heard cringingly bad stories from adult children of misguided (but well-intentioned!) parents who don’t realize that some tactics that worked decades ago are likely to backfire now. Quartz At Work talked with Green to learn the most common pieces of advice that job seekers can (and should) ignore.

Regarding that resume

Parent says: You know what you should do? Get some nice paper, print out your resume, and have it sent overnight. Or just go in there and hand it to the boss yourself!

Green says: “It used to be an impressive move, but it’s no longer true that you should “pound the pavement” and show up in person to apply for jobs.

“First, nearly all applications are electronic these days. Many employers have no easy way to get hard copy materials (resume and cover letter) into their electronic application processing systems; they’d have to scan them in, and they don’t want to do that for you. They want you to apply online using their system there. So showing up to hand someone your resume comes across as out of touch. (There are some exceptions to this, like restaurants, but for the most part this is all done online these days.)

“Second, job openings on average get far more applicants these days than they used to. That’s probably a function of how much easier it to apply for jobs online now that you don’t have to mail out resumes individually. And since employers are fielding hundreds of applicants for each position, they really don’t want to deal with random applicants showing up in person and expecting to talk to someone; it would end up being hugely time-consuming. Employers have a system for screening applications, and they don’t want you to circumvent it.”

Following up

Parent says: Did you call to follow up? Well, call them again!

Green says: “This idea that you should show “gumption” to impress a hiring manager—things like call every few days to ask about your application or try to buy the hiring manager coffee—that stuff doesn’t work. To the contrary, it alienates most hiring managers—and it can be really frustrating to be on the receiving end of that advice from insistent parents.”

Carving a path

Parent says: You’re making how much? As an assistant? Don’t you know how many loans you have?

Green says: “There’s a particular misunderstanding these days of how hard it can be for newer grads to find work in their field, and how so often you have to start at the bottom and work your way in however you can. Parents see their kids doing low-paying entry-level jobs and because they don’t realize that will eventually lead to much better positions in the field the kid wants to work in, they sometimes panic and try to push them in a totally different direction.

“I also hear about a lot of parents doing a hard-sell on grad school, figuring that the kid will come out significantly more marketable—and not realizing that in a lot of cases, grad school will make the job search harder, if the field the kid is in doesn’t place particular value on graduate degrees.”

So then what?

Parent says: Fine, I’ll butt out. But what’s your plan?

Green says: “Really, the best way to show enthusiasm and fit for a job is by having a resume that shows a track record of achievement in things relevant to what the employer is looking for, and writing a personalized, engaging cover letter that truly speaks to why you’d excel at the job (i.e., not one that just repeats the contents of your resume). It’s a boring answer, but it’s really the one that works the best, at least with good employers.”

10 Experts Share the Best Career Advice They Ever Received

By Susannah Snider

Top-notch job advice can help you make smart decisions, advance your career and keep your spirits high when work gets tough.

We tapped seasoned career experts, including college career counselors, authors and CEOs, for the  best career advice they’ve ever received. Their edited responses are below.

Debra Lybyer, director of career and advising services, Lewis-Clark State College in Idaho

Treat everyone you meet as a potential employer, every task you complete as part of your interview and keep every door open. You’ll never know what is out there for you if you don’t allow every possible opportunity to come your way.

Jude Miller Burke, author of “The Millionaire Mystique: How Working Women Become Wealthy – And How You Can, Too!”

The best career advice I received was to be persistent and resilient and to not let detours or failures derail my career. Successful men and women frequently have failures and detours in their careers, but do not let those bumps dissuade them. In fact, for successful people, failures are seen as a part of success and detours are seen as opportunities to push your career further ahead.

Rob VanDorin, associate director of career services and employer relations, Central Michigan University

Do your research. You should know the ins and outs of every company that you apply to before you even submit an application or resume. If you don’t know them, then you don’t know how to make yourself fit.

Bob LaBombard, CEO of GradStaff

Don’t let your college major, previous jobs or money define your career choices. Focus on the skills you possess, the business ideas you are most passionate about and your ability to make positive things happen. This advice is based on input from a variety of people over the years that repeated a lot of the same themes, but I would attribute the most significant influence to my dad, who was a very strong believer in a liberal arts education and the importance of adding value or doing your very best at everything you do.

Keri Burns, director of career services, University of West Georgia

The best career advice I ever received was to ‘always leave a position or department better than you found it.’ Whenever I take on a new role, my goal is to make a positive impact and leave a legacy, either through process improvements, innovative programming, organizational structure or any area that might need attention. I always want my involvement in any position I have held to have made a difference.

Walter L. Tarver, III, director of the career center, Stockton University in New Jersey

The best piece of career advice I ever received was to take advantage of every single opportunity that an employer presents to you. Though you may be hired into one position with a specific set of responsibilities, do not be afraid to move outside of those areas of responsibility. Volunteer for special projects, volunteer to be on committees and always look for ways to expand your skill set. This will serve you well as you look to move forward and advance in your career.

Jan Jones, author of “The CEO’s Secret Weapon: How Great Leaders and Their Assistants Maximize Productivity and Effectiveness”

My dad told me, “Don’t worry about what people say about you. When you’re on top, they’re talking about you, when you’re down, they’re talking about you, so just go ahead and live your life.” His advice gave me confidence to be myself and fortified me throughout my career. I keep my own counsel and honor my values without feeling intimidated by anyone, regardless of their position.

Beth Ricca, director of the Cahill Career Development Center, Ramapo College of New Jersey

The best career advice I ever received was from my very first boss 30 years ago. She told me, “Show, don’t tell.” At your job, on your resume or even in your personal life, don’t waste time telling others what you can offer. Instead, do your job very well to show your skills. On your resume, don’t list that you have excellent communication skills. Instead, include specific examples that demonstrate your excellent communication. Let your work speak for itself.

Caren Merrick, founder and CEO of Pocket Mentor

Invest in your communication skills. My first manager after college offered to send me to a communications seminar. I leapt at the opportunity and gained so much out of it that I was soon on the fast track. Periodically throughout my career, I have continued to invest in improving my communication skills – including workshops, online courses and books. Poor communication breeds problems, and good communication often solves them.

Leah Goldson, coordinator of alumni career services, University of Central Florida

The best career advice I received was to find a mentor. I’ve had a few in my life, and they’ve been instrumental in my career growth and have assisted me with gaining employment and providing valuable advice to keep me motivated in tough times.

This piece appeared in the U.S. News & World Report.