Tag Archives: college

Did College Prepare You For The Workplace? Take Our Poll!

Job Seeking and Career Advice PollLast year, Woods Bagot – a global architecture and consulting studio released a survey asking whether or not recent college graduates are ready for today’s workplace. Of the more than 500 C-suite executives surveyed, 70% believe fewer than half of the graduates entering their companies have the skills to succeed in entry-level positions.

What do you think? Did college prepare you for a successful career? Do you think completely achieving any higher education or a training program gives you the necessary skills in the modern workplace? Let us know in our survey below.

Guest Post: How to Get the Most Out of a College Career Center

Get the most out of a College Career CenterWhether you’re a current college student or recent grad, you might be struggling to find a job. Recent labor statistics suggest that almost half of recent college graduates have difficulty finding work and those who haven’t obtained their degrees yet often have even more difficulty. College career centers can be a huge help as you search for jobs. The career experts employed by your campus career center will be able to help you network with professionals, find job leads, and maybe even get a job. Of course, whether or not you have a good experience at a college career center will largely depend on the amount of effort you’re willing to put in. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your college campus center experience:

Bring your resume
Your resume is your most important job search tool. Unfortunately, many inexperienced jobseekers don’t spend enough time creating exceptional resumes. The college career counselor you meet with will be able to help you edit and format your resume to make it more impressive to potential employers. Your career counselor will also be able to give you some tips and tricks for tailoring your resume to specific job openings that are of interest to you.

Explore all the resources available
The career center at your current or former school may be able to offer you career tests, interview lessons, and access to the school-run job bank. Take advantage of all of these resources and whichever other resources the career center offers. A career test may help you focus your job search, especially if your academic background is in the liberal arts and you aren’t quite sure what you want to do professionally. Interview lessons will help you feel more at ease when you eventually land interviews. And you may be able to find a number of promising job leads on the school-run job bank.

Don’t expect a job to fall in your lap
The career counselor you meet with will have connections in the professional world and may be able to get you a few interviews. One of those interviews may turn into a job, but there are no guarantees. You’ll need to spend a lot of time on your own applying to jobs in addition to the steps you take with your college career counselor. In this economy, finding a job requires a lot of hard work on your part. Until you land a full-time gig, your full-time job should be applying to jobs. This means you should spend the bulk of your time during the day reaching out to potential employers, filling out applications, and searching for jobs.

If you have access to a college career center, you should absolutely set up an appointment to visit it. You’ll receive valuable advice and guidance from career counselors. Just remember that it’s ultimately up to you to put in the hard work that finding a job requires.

Kate Willson is a freelance writer and blogger who writes about higher education, job searching, and technology for collegecrunch.org and other education-related sites. Kate appreciates your feedback. Please leave your comments and questions below!

Career Possibilities Without College Degrees

jobs without college degreeThere’s this little technology company, you’ve probably heard of it, called Microsoft. It only has 90,000 employees and a revenue of more than $70 billion in 2011. This wildly successful company was founded by Bill Gates, who was the richest man in the world during the early 2000s. There’s actually something very interesting about Bill Gates that many people don’t know.

He never graduated from college.

While he is an extreme example of success without a college degree, there are things you can do to achieve your career goals without attending a university. Here are some hints to help guide you when looking for a job without a degree.

Start at the Bottom and Give it Time
Sometimes slow and steady wins the race, especially if you’re just starting out and have very little experience. Consider industries that let you work into management positions without a college degree like real estate, aviation, sales, construction, or transportation.

The entry-level jobs in these industries may not be the highest paying jobs compared to jobs requiring a college degree, but if you demonstrate hard work ethics and grow in experience, you could move into higher paying jobs. It won’t be overnight, but it’s obtainable.

It’s All Who You Know
Employers are much more likely to promote hire someone they know and are familiar with compared to a stranger. That’s why it’s important to connect with people inside and outside your desired industry. If employers are familiar with your accomplishments and abilities, when possible, they will be willing to look past college degree requirements.

Make sure your resume and cover letter are in top shape. Include a phrase like,“did not obtain a bachelor’s degree” or something to that extent on your resume so it will get picked up by applicant tracking systems’ keyword searches. That way, you’ll have a better chance of talking to a decision maker.

To help get your foot in the door, call employers and ask to schedule an informative interviews to find out what skills and abilities are most needed in your desired industry. You will improve your interviewing skills, make strong connections, and develop a stronger career plan.

Expand Your Skills
To help develop your skills and experience, consider taking an apprenticeship, freelancing, volunteering, or working through a staffing agency. These are excellent ways to learn real skills and experience from highly skilled mentors to position you to move up in your career without a college degree.

Do some research to see if you need any specialized certification or skills to be qualified to work in your desired field. Those are great questions to ask during an informational interview or when being trained by someone. Some certifications might not be necessary to work, but can help you develop and grow your skills so you can market yourself better.

There are several different paths you can take to achieve your career goals. You just have to find the one that works best for you. Hopefully, you can use one of these suggestions above and find real success in your job search. If you want to learn about some great jobs that don’t require a college education, check out this list to help you get started. What are some of your success stories of finding a job without a degree?

Poll Says Degrees Still Valuable, but Readers Share Frustrations

In our July monthly poll, we asked readers if they thought that this year, with high unemployment rates and a highly competitive job market, higher education is still worth the cost.

The results were mixed, but 50.3% of readers said that yes, they did think higher education is still valuable in this economy. At the same time, 32.9% of readers said that they did not think higher education is worth the cost, and 16.8% responded that they were not sure.

Comments on the poll illustrated that mixed feelings run deep when it comes to the value of higher education, especially in this economy. Some shared frustration, bitterness, and even anger about attaining college and advanced degrees but still struggling in a difficult job market.

Others offered insight into the value of work experience. One shared, “I just wouldn't recommend going from undergraduate to graduate school without any real work experience. It will be even harder in my opinion when you graduate.”

Another said, “A degree doesn't provide anyone with a guarantee. It does tend to open more doors than those who don't have a degree, but that is about it.”

So, as the summer wraps up and universities prep to welcome a new wave of students, will you be joining them? If so, are you planning to work to gain experience while you go to school? Are you looking for a different way to learn about your industry? Share your higher education plans for this upcoming semester in our comments section.

Not Sure About College? 3 Ways to Further Your Education

GuyWLaptopAs the next school year approaches, many are talking about whether or not to return to school. Some are considering another bachelor’s degree or even a master’s degree to land a better job, get ahead at work, or even change careers. But, that’s not the only way to go. If you’re thinking about going back to school this fall, check out these three different ways to continue your education without hitting the books in a university setting.

Vocational School

If you’re interested in learning a new trade or switching careers, check out the vocational schools in your area. These schools offer specific training and first-hand experience for a variety of occupations, including electricians, culinary artists, and emergency medical technicians. Plus, many classes are offered in the evenings or on a short-track, making it more convenient for working adults to complete the coursework over an abbreviated time period.

Online Courses

If you have Internet access and are fairly self-disciplined, consider registering for an online class or two. Many universities and technical schools offer a wide variety of online classes, whether you want to learn another language, improve your computer skills, or increase your knowledge about an industry. These courses are great for individuals who need a flexible schedule to complete their coursework.

DIY Learning

Studying on your own gives you the most flexibility with your schedule and the materials you cover, but you have to create your own regime. If this is your preference, start by checking out your local library, industry- or topic-specific magazines, and online publications to find credible information on subjects that you’re most interested in. Then, simply begin reading. Also, look for workshops, seminars, and training courses at little to no charge in your community through civic organizations, libraries, churches, and professional associations. You may not gain a degree or certification, but at least you’ll be able to stay up to date on the latest news for your occupation and industry.

Continuing your education doesn’t have to be a daunting task or limited to a higher-education degree. By focusing on your goal and considering your options, you can quickly be on your way to furthering your knowledge and enhancing your career, whether you choose to go back to school, take a few online courses, or study on your own.

This Year, Is Higher Education Worth the Cost?

Summer may be at its peak, but just around the corner, another school year waits. Not just for children to return to class from summer vacation, but for a growing number of people in America, from the unemployed to those with newly minted degrees. 

This year, a rising number of unemployed Americans are returning to school to improve their knowledge and skills in an increasingly tough job market. In fact, many community colleges reporting their largest enrollment spikes ever attribute the increase to the need to meet the demands of a highly competitive job market.

To cope with the monetary strain of higher education, many high school graduates are simply opting for a low tuition option such as in-state or community colleges, rather than ivy league, gold sticker institutions.

Many new college grads, who faced a dreary job outlook upon their recent graduation, are opting to go straight into grad school, fearing uncertain immediate employment future. In fact, the National Association of Colleges and Employers reported that 26% of new grads planned to go on to graduate school, up from 24% in 2008 and 20% in 2007.

So, with all this emphasis on going back to school, we want to know what you think. Is it worth it to get a college or graduate degree in this recession? Let us know by voting in our poll below.

 
Are you struggling with the decision of whether or not to enroll in higher education? Looking to increase your skills, or hoping a degree will help you earn a higher paycheck? Share your thoughts on higher education in our comments section.