Turns Out That Degree Doesn’t Guarantee Anything
So much for attending college and earning a degree. College was held in the highest esteem at one time.
Now people wonder if the cost and time is worth it. Nothing is a guarantee today. Was it ever? If so, it certainly is less now, especially a general liberal arts degree. While enriching one’s mind, a degree doesn’t always translate to dollars and cents—or a future.
To go or not to go to college has been pretty much a no-brainer when it comes to opening doors… except in this economy, which changed everything. Throw the books out for all rules are out the window. Some grads are lucky and get hired quickly. Many have huge loan debts and live at home. There’s been so much written lately about the pros and contradictions of a college degree. One day you might read that employment stats are up for this year’s grads, another day, you might read the opposite. There are plenty of articles advising people on what degrees lead to lucrative jobs and some articles that say you don’t need college at all for certain other professions.
One thing is for sure: Colleges will have to shore up their placement departments and develop dynamic effective placement services with go-getter job developers and coaches—in order to stay competitive and offer students (and the parents who pay for education) more bang for their buck. Having a tireless, aggressive placement initiative in place with documented proof of placements for their grads will definitely create demand…
For new grads, an internship is the best foot in the door, short of a job offer. An internship offers valuable experience, something for a resume, contacts—and a possible job offer inviting one to stay on permanently. Ask. Employers are more open to offering opportunities that they don’t have to pay for.
You can’t afford not to make that sacrifice if you are living home. Don’t discount the value of work ethic from part time jobs during school or after. Many a CEO started out flipping burgers at McDonald’s.
For the older worker, if you have some college, list the college name, city and state, no dates and leave out the words, “courses in.” Just write Liberal Arts or Business Administration and leave it at that. Some college under Education is better, of course, than none. You can have a heading, Education and Continuing Professional Development or just the latter if no college at all. Then list all vocational training and corporate seminars or certificate programs earned through corporate affiliations.
But what if you don’t have a college degree and never attended—and have no other formal education beyond high school? And you need a job NOW because you have family responsibilities and obligations and don’t have four years (eight at part time night school) or the finances to back yourself? And what if you’ve worked in a certain profession for years, was laid off, and now a prerequisite to returning to the field is a college degree?
You’ve got to try and make employers want you anyway! But how?
Take one course at a local college and list it on your resume. Write a blog on a subject or topic of interest to you or related to your profession. The writing doesn’t have to be fancy or of Pulitzer caliber or even very long in length.
You will have to stand out. Volunteer at a local community organization for the betterment of community or mankind. Partake in a project of restoration or in an eco-friendly sustainability program. Start something. “Life” credits go so much further. Even some colleges recognize life credits and sometimes you can translate an experience into 3 or more credits on a transcript.
You can even say in your cover letter or during an interview, “Life experience cannot be completely measured in degrees or amount of book learning. While those respectable things are invaluable, uplifting and inspiring in one’s journey, the patience and “soft” skills one develops over a working life, that enable one to communicate effectively, the compassion and understanding of those less fortunate and suffering, the organizational and business savvy mastered on the job—those of the things that determine that fine line between school and real life. All these things are equivalent to a college degree and—in the end—get the job done.”
Be a standout. Might it work? Maybe. But you have to try. You have to own your own worth. What you’ve accumulated let no man take away from you. And let’s hope that someone making the hiring decision also sees your worth.
-By The Job Enthusiast Who Won’t Rest ‘Till Everyone Is Put To Work!
Read about more helpful resources from The Job Enthusiast here.
Art by Patrick O’Leary