Once upon a time, it was common knowledge that a college degree practically guaranteed employment. However, the rules have changed. Students, both young and old need to understand that a college degree alone isn’t enough to stay competitive in today’s job market. Pay attention, because there are plenty of reasons why your college degree just isn’t enough.
First off, a degree no longer sets you apart from the pack. Today, high school students are pretty much expected to go to college. Boomers are going back to college. Plus, there is plethora of specialized technical colleges. So, there are millions of other people with degrees looking for jobs just like you. While the realization of the importance of obtaining a degree is wonderful, this shift in thinking took college graduates from the front of the line and placed them right in the middle. This eliminated the competitive edge that a degree once provided.
Then, there is college degree dilemma, experience. It’s hard to land a job without experience, but you can’t get experience until you land a job. In today’s job market, experience trumps a degree every time. So much so, that there is a push to keep seniors and boomers in positions past traditional retirement age in many industries. This is due to the fear of losing knowledge and experience that recent graduates and young professionals do not have. Even in industries that are intertwined with rapid technological, legal, and medical advancement, experience is the door opener and closer.
A degree doesn’t change the landscape of the labor market. Recession, recovery, no matter where you may think we are this labor market favors employers. Employers have their pick among the crème of the crop for each and every position. Jobs that were once considered entry level positions are being fought for and won by job seekers with mid and senior level experience. And no industry is safe. Even in careers with traditionally high demand, the number of job seekers far outweighs the number of positions. Applicants are finding that they must be the total package just to secure an interview.
Finally, your degree doesn’t change where you are. Believe it or not, your location has become just as important as obtaining a degree. Economic recovery is happening more quickly in some cities and states. In areas where hiring is slow those with just a degree to their credit will find it nearly impossible to land a job.
It’s a humbling reality for all recent graduates, both young and old. But, the fact is that a college degree just isn’t enough in today’s job market. Regardless of your major or the type of position that you are seeking today’s candidates must have more to offer than just academic achievement.
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