The Job Search

Why Your College Degree Won’t Get You A Job

If employers hired people because of their degree, why would they need to go through an interview process?  Many people think the point of going to school is to get a degree when the real point is to gain valuable skills through the entire college experience.  College is a training ground and whereas the degree is merely a credential, the experience is what is valuable to obtaining employment.  How you decide to maximize your college experience to transform yourself into a more valuable candidate for the job market is what will make a difference but it won’t be any guarantee to landing a job.  Your degree is not a golden ticket.

Getting A’s in School isn’t Enough

Getting A’s in your classes doesn’t necessarily mean anything in the real world.  If you want your college education to be meaningful, you must take what you learn in class and find opportunities to apply it in the real world.  You must build a positive reputation in the real world and you must demonstrate a pattern of achievement through the use of your skills.

Don’t Think Your Degree Will Translate into a Job

College students need to wake up and realize that today’s job market is arguably the most competitive it has ever been and there is no such thing as a guarantee.  If a credential is all you’re searching for, go to college and get a degree but be prepared to be disappointed if you think it translates into a job offer.  If you want to make yourself more valuable and believe an education will help you improve your skills or acquire new skills, these are the right reasons to attend college.  However, you must do much more to compete in this job market.
Here are some things you need do to make yourself more valuable:

  1. Get Experience – Work to learn. This means volunteer, seek internships, join unpaid projects, or consider starting a business.  You’ll learn through the process and this is what makes you valuable.  The credentials will be the icing on the cake.
  2. Build your Brand – Have a strategy to build your reputation graph.  This will help you be effective at the reverse job search.
  3. Find Mentors – Surround yourself with mentors who can provide valuable insight on how to achieve your goals.
  4. Build Relationships – Build relationships with people and never burn bridges.  Stay connected with others that you meet as you volunteer, take part in internships, and get experience.
  5. Get a Career Coach – All the skills and accomplishments in the world won’t help you much if you can’t market them to employers.  Career coaches can teach you effective ways of marketing yourself and can help you develop a career strategy.

2 Comments

  • Advising someone to get a career coach without giving examples of what or who or where a career coach is, is useless advice.
    Are there companies that specialize in being career coaches? How do you evaluate the credentials of a career coach? How much does a career coach cost?
    If they are not professionals, then is a career coach virtually the same as a mentor?

    • Maureen,

      I’d have to disagree. If one were to advise someone to earn a college degree as advice to compete in the job market, would one also have to specifically tell the individual what degree, from where, how much degrees cost, etc.? The truth is that there is so much variation, the individual must do their own research to find what works for them. It sounds like you don’t understand the difference between a “mentor” and the specific profession of career coaching. This may present an opportunity for you to conduct your own research on this specific profession. Where can you find a career coach has many answers. For instance, if you are in college, check to see if your college offers such services. Check with the National Career Development Association or start with Google. Costs also vary. There are those who want answers given to them and those who realize they must independently research their interests and solutions that make sense for them. I advise that if you want answers to the questions you raise, start researching – you’d be surprised how easy it is to find answers.

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