College Degrees Are Not a Guarantee

is a college degree worth it

A lot of students attend college thinking that they are guaranteed a job upon graduation, but this could not be further from the truth. The job market is getting more and more competitive, and a higher percentage of the population continues to graduate. More college graduates automatically translate to less job opportunity, unless the student was above average and has the credentials to stand out. College is truly a great idea and will be a life changing experience for anyone involved, but you need to lower your expectations upon graduation. Having a college degree won’t guarantee you a job, but there are definitely some steps you can take to make it easier. Having a degree is a huge accomplishment, but it might require some polishing.

A college degree isn’t a guarantee:

Internships

One of the best ways to strengthen your application is to accept an internship. Nowadays most of them are paid, but the salaries are always much lower than average. However, for these types of positions, it’s not about the money–it’s about the real world experience you get. Often times workers will be hired to the same positions post-graduation, but they also open the door to finding similar job opportunities at other companies. Don’t waste your summers as a college student. Get into the workplace as soon as possible and start building your professional network. It will help you land a great job after graduation. Having an internship on your resume will allow you to stand out from the rest of the pack.

Type of Degree

When you are choosing a college degree, it’s always recommended that you pick an area of study that is interesting. However, you also need to consider which types of job opportunities will be available, and what path of study you’ll need to take to get there. Many people will warn about pursuing certain liberal arts degrees, but there are certainly plenty of job opportunities for these individuals, although they might be a little harder to find. For the most part it’s easier to find a job when your major is more specific. Finance majors to go finance & accounting jobs, engineer majors go to engineer jobs, etc. For someone who majored in history, the opportunities will be broader and more abundant, but the jobs will be harder to find. You don’t need to jump at the first job opportunity, so take your time to make sure you are applying for the right jobs.

Sense of Entitlement

When looking for a job after graduation, it’s important to lose your sense of self-entitlement. Just because you attended college doesn’t mean you are guaranteed a job. You need to work for it. If you are having trouble finding work, you need to locate the true source of your problems. Maybe your resume needs a tune up, or maybe you need to work on your interview skills. A college degree is a requirement for landing many jobs, but it’s only a small part of what human resources will actually look at. They will dive into former references, your resume & cover letter, past work experience, and even your criminal background. Still not landing jobs? It’s time to reevaluate your strategies. The credentials might be there, but if anything else doesn’t add up it will have a negative impact on the strength of your job application.

The Only Guarantee

The only thing you are actually guaranteed when you graduate from school is the piece of paper stating you completed this accomplishment. That’s it. Prove to human resources that you are qualified for and deserve the job, and more offers will start rolling your way, because a degree isn’t everything. If you are not landing the positions you want, something needs to change. Reevaluate your job application and resume and make some changes to improve your overall profile. The job offers will follow.

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Matthew Welch

Matthew Welch is an SEO strategist, content marketer, blog manager, and sports enthusiast from Boston, MA with a collegiate background in Natural Resources and Environmental Studies from the University of Connecticut.

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