How Do You Motivate Young Adults to Get a Job? 10 Actionable Tips

how do you motivate young adults to get a job

Like hundreds of parents, you may ask, “How do you motivate young adults to get a job?” Maybe you have a young adult that needs a job but doesn’t seem to be doing much about it. You’ve hinted, suggested, and coerced them to do so, and somehow, they are constantly working on it but still don’t have a job. It is easy to assume that they are complacent or lazy, and while this be the case or not, it does not solve the problem.

There are a lot of things parents can do to motivate young adults to get a job; a few are: Parents should first figure out what the underlying problem is; help the young adult set goals and objectives; find out what their aspirations are and direct them; assist them with creating required documents; help them with the application process; encourage them by highlighting those positives about them that may be of interest to an employer; support them by attending job fairs with them; introduce them to job search resources they may be unaware of; increase their responsibilities; ease them into working full-time; remove monetary support when necessary; and lead by example.

This post will look at positive steps parents can take to motivate their young adults to get a job.

Let’s dig in!

Below are 10 Things Parents Can Do to Motivate Young Adults to Get a Job?

Figure Out What the Underlying Problem Is

Ask, what is the problem behind your young adult not getting a job? And try to figure out a solution before taking any other step.

Is your young adult overwhelmed with college work and unable to handle a job now? Some students can take a full-time position with school, and others may not. A lot depends on their studies, how many credits they carry in the semester, and so on.

how do you motivate young adults to get a job

If school is a problem, try to figure out ways of funding available to them as students (apart from loans) and make sure they are taking advantage of such financing. Also, please encourage them to seek out in-school employment opportunities, as they are more lenient with students as they recognize that they have to study.

Has your young adult had a negative experience with work that is keeping them from going back?

If your adult child has experienced any adverse events at work, such as bullying, overworking, or getting fired, they may have anxiety when thinking of returning to work. When you talk to them, find out what their past work experiences are and how it affects their decision to find a job. You can also help them overcome these issues by suggesting a different environment from what they experienced before.

Are you scaring your young adult with your actions? Often we don’t realize that what we do or say may leave a permanent impression on our children. When we come home complaining about all the negatives of our jobs and how overwhelmed we are. We may affect the way they see work.

This isn’t fair, as not all jobs are the same, and your young adult may think of work as a distressing place. If your adult child is challenged with finding a job, stop complaining about your job to them or in their presence. Find someone else to talk to or find a new job.

Is your young adult an introvert? If they are, they may not work well in a traditional job setting. There are many jobs for introverted young adults, and you may want to help them discover them.

Is your young adult discouraged? Maybe your young adult has been searching for a job for a while and not getting any responses. This may be discouraging to them. Sit down with them to figure out what they have been doing wrong. Ask, is their resume good enough for the jobs they are searching for? Are they qualified for the jobs they are applying to? And so on. Help them correct their errors and restrategize their job search.

Is your child distracted by games or social media, or just lazy? Some young adults are not motivated to find a job because they are so busy with their games, social media, and hanging out with friends or would rather stay in their rooms and sleep all day. If this is your young adult, you may have to take more stringent steps to ensure they do not continue to take advantage of you, such as cutting off their monetary support and insisting they start contributing towards their living.

Have an Adulting Talk with Them

Some young adults need a little nudge to help them realize that they have become adults and that responsibilities are associated with becoming one. If your young adult is not motivated to look for a job, take a minute and talk with them. Remind them that you are not here forever to cater to their needs and that they may have their own families shortly.


Adulting is not easy, but the sooner your young adult starts to face this, the easier the transition will be for them. Talk to your young adult about maturity, aspirations, and life in general. Help them figure out what they want to do with their lives and make plans for achieving these goals. Sometimes it takes a pen on paper to get some people to start dreaming.

Set Expectations

People can accomplish more when they have set goals and a clear path to achieving them.

In setting expectations, you should create daily achievable goals, such as completing your resume and cover letter by a particular day, applying to 10 jobs a day, checking on jobs applied to, plus contacting employers to ensure they received your application every so many days, and so on.

Become your adult child’s accountability partner, checking in on them to see that they meet their goals within an agreed period.

Do not pressure your young adult if they miss the set mark, as this may only cause stress and force them to shut down. Understand that consistently checking in on them will motivate them to improve their outcomes.

Help Them Get Started

Some young adults don’t know how to execute a proper job search. They may never have learned how to create a good resume, apply for jobs, or what employers are looking for in candidates. They may not know how to showcase their experience or how to get letters of recommendation. This keeps them returning to fast-food-type jobs, which, as they get older, seems like a waste of time.

Make recommendations to your grown adults about organizations and volunteer jobs they can get work experience through, help them by finding people to give them suggestions (of course, after they have worked with these individuals), and suggest resources like school career centers and state job resources to help them get started.

There is much you can do to start the ball rolling, and your young adult will follow suit.

Encourage Them

There are many ways to encourage your young adult to get a job.

You can highlight those things about them that you feel an employer will appreciate, helping build their confidence. For instance, you could say something like “Your attention to detail will make you such a great book-keeper,” or “You are great at handling stress; I am sure you will be great interfacing with multiple customers,” or “Your pleasant personality will put customers at ease.”

You may also encourage your adult child by checking in on their job search, advising them where and how to search, and attending job search events with them.

Be careful not to discourage their job search by making many demands of them as high expectations may build anxiety, which only serves to prevent them from finding a job.

For instance, some parents may be sick or single and genuinely need help from their grown children. But when you tell your adult child that you depend on them, they may become overwhelmed with responsibility expectations, which might discourage their job search. Instead, allow your young adult to ease into a new job, and when they become comfortable in it, let them know how you need assistance.

Give Them More Serious Responsibilities at Home

If you are trying to figure out, “how do you motivate young adults to get a job?” but your strategies are not working, maybe it is time to take a break and give them some work at home. Once they figure out things will not be easier at home, they may find the motivation to get a job.


If your young adult does not have a job, you shouldn’t make things easier at home for them. Let them know that there are responsibilities expected of all adults, and that includes working. If they cannot get a job, they may need to work at home to contribute to their living expenses.

To help out at home, your young adult can be responsible for cleaning, cooking, walking the dog, doing grocery store runs, landscaping, picking up kids from school, bookkeeping, and so on.

Discuss Their Aspirations

Everyone has aspirations, and I bet your young adult has a few too. Sometimes, young people don’t stop to think about their lives or where they are headed. Finding time to talk with your young adult about what they want to do in life may be the head-start they need.

Let your young adult write out their life and career aspirations, and together you can review them while you encourage them to discuss how they plan to achieve these goals. If they have unrealistic goals or impractical plans, help them develop goals they can achieve.

Discussing aspirations is intended to get them thinking about their future and figuring out how to get where they need to be.

Find a Mentor for Them

A good mentor is magical in that they can help you set goals, be a sounding board for your ideas, give you direction, focus your effort to increase your productivity, open doors of opportunity, and serve as an accountability partner.

If you have difficulty motivating your young adult to find a job, you may find a mentor or life coach to work with them. Most young adults will respond to adults outside of their homes differently than they do to their parents. They also may discuss things with the mentor that they may not want to discuss with you.

Mentors do not replace a pareInsteadther they help us achieve goals for our youth in areas where we might be lacking or need extra help. There are also many free mentoring programs that you can take advantage of, depending on your location and the age of your young adult.

Don’t Be an Enabler

Some parents want to see a change in their young adults but don’t want to be part of it. Suppose you avoid confrontation with your young adult to the point that you look away when they display behavior you do not like, or you support them by giving them everything they want. In that case, you may be enabling their behavior.

This idea holds true for job searching.

If you want to motivate your young adult to find a job, then you cannot continue to pay their bills (such as cell phone bills), buy everything they request, lend them money you know they will never repay, or give them pocket money. There will be no motivation for them to make money for themselves if all their needs are catered to.

This doesn’t mean you should kick your grown child out or abandon them. Instead, talk to them, let them give them reasonable time to find a job, and let them know what the consequences will be if they don’t find a job.

Lead by Example


Think about your attitude towards working and finding a job. Think about how you portray your job to your children and young adults. Do you act like working is the worst thing in the world, then maybe it is time for you to reassess what you do and who you work for rather than off-loading such perceptions on your young adult.

As parents, we want to set good examples for our children and young adults in life, and doing so, usually affects their outlook on life.

A Few Final Words

If you have tried everything and are still asking, “How do you motivate young adults to get a job?” by the end of this post, your young adult may need professional help. And I urge you not to hesitate to find support for your grown child if they need it.

Christine Udeani, JD
Christine Udeani, JD

Christine is a dedicated mother of six young adults and a teenager who has made significant contributions to the online world through her writing and entrepreneurship. She attended Northwestern University, Strayer University, Thomas M Cooley School of Law, NWCULAW, and holds degrees in business, Law, and Communications. She shares tips and experiences to help young adults and their parents with this generation’s issues.

Find me on: Web | Twitter

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