5 Things NEVER to Ask a Recent Graduate

In my last post I shared tips for recent science graduates and now I want to share 5 things NEVER to ask a recent graduate. Do you remember the questions people asked you? I do! After hearing the same questions it can be annoying and frustrating, especially if you are not where you want to be in your STEM career. Things take time and people need to respect your decisions.

My Top 5 Things NEVER to Say to a Recent Graduate:

1. When are you going to get a job?:

This is the #1 question that recent graduates hate, especially if they have been looking for a job for a long time. We all know that it is hard to find a job nowadays and finding a job takes time. When they get a job they will let you know.

How can you Help: Instead offer to look over their applications, CV, resume or cover letters. 

2. Are you still unemployed?:

This is another version of the 1st question. Some recent graduates do not have a job lined up right after graduation. Everyday they are applying for jobs and networking. After a while it can get overwhelming to get asked this question.

How can you Help: Share your advice, professional connections and career tips with them. This is a win-win. They will learn some tools to help them with their career and you will be an unofficial mentor! Offer some job leads in their field.

3. What are you going to do with that degree?:

Think about it. This is not a nice question to ask a recent graduate. They worked hard to earn a STEM degree from their University and picked their major for a reason. Some recent graduates know what they want to do, while others do not. There are many career pathways for recent graduates with STEM degrees. Soon they will find the right pathway.

How can you Help: Tell them about the myIDPtool and talk to them about their career goals.

4. What are you going to do now?

Recent graduates have many things going through their minds. The last questions they want to hear are questions that are too personal. For example, stay away from heavy questions such as: What are your life goals? Have you start thinking about different financial plans?

i dont know the answer

How can you Help: Instead ask them how can you help them achieve their career goals.

5. Why do you want to go to school again?:

Some recent graduates have higher education plans. I am an advocate for higher education. If you know a recent graduate avoid referring to going to school to earn another degree as “avoiding the real world”. Some recent graduates want to earn another degree so you should respect their decision to do so.

How can you Help: Graduate school, medical school or any other type of professional school is hard work. Instead encourage them to go to school and support them. If you have tips on preparing for standardized tests or writing personal statements share them.

P.S.: I am not saying these are bad questions. We have to remember there is a right way and a wrong way to say something. Before you ask a question think about how they will feel? Place yourself in their shoes and this will tell you if you should ask them or not.


What was the #1 question you hated when you were a recent graduate? Share below.

Just in case you missed some of the posts in my recent graduate series here are the links below:

Recent Graduate Series

10 Gift Ideas for Science Graduates

7 Tips for Science Recent Graduates

7 Things NEVER to Say to a Recent Graduates

Overcoming Post-Graduation Blues


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