Tag Archives: College graduate

College Degree Usefulness

I’ve wondered for years the purpose of having a college degree. Everyone, at one time or another spend years and a huge sum of money to obtain a college degree. But when we are actually in the workforce, all the things we learned are never used. So the question is what is the purpose of having a college degree?

I have a degree in Bachelor in Business Administration, majoring in International Marketing. If I have to estimate the percentage of time that I have to use what I learned from my undergraduate degree, I would say less than 5%. Majority of the resources I use during my career depends on common sense, logical thinking and on-the-job training. Sometimes I find that it is wasteful to spend so much time and effort in getting the degree that I wonder if going to obtain a college degree is a big “rip-off”?

I recommend watching this video by CNBC on college cost. It demonstrates how some graduates went above and beyond to get a debt and a degree.

There are certain fields and professions do require undergraduate and graduate degrees. For example, a medical doctor or a chemical engineer. These are highly specialized field that will require a deep knowledge of their field to ensure that they are capable to perform in their line of work without any errors. Any mistake could be catastrophic, and even lead to death.

Today’s blog is to go over some points why an college degree is still necessary. Having been working professional for 20 years and spending time interviewing potential employees, I still find a college degree is a good measuring tool to determine if the person is reliable.

College Degree Opens Doors

Without a college degree, I can assure you that many employment doors will not open for you. When there is a job opening in a company, the Human Resources (HR) can easily receive thousands of potential candidates. Before HR recruiter can find the best candidate, his job is “weed” out the weak candidate. The first criteria they use is if the candidate has a college degree. After passing the initial screening, the hiring manager will have his turn to review the resume. Again the first criteria to use is if the candidate has a college degree with good Grade Point Average (GPA).

College Prepares Graduates to Meet Challenges

A college student goes to a university not only to study. These higher institutions help prepare the future workforce by instilling certain values and what to expect once they graduate. For example, they are usually group projects and assignments in the junior or senior year. This is essential in the work environment because majority of the work will require team work. Other example includes writing dissertation. This comes in handy when we need to write report for senior management in a multi-national company.

College Degree Creates Curious Cat

While universities can never prepare each graduate for all eventualities, at least they help create a sense of curiosity when it comes to learning. Not all of us are born with the smart. When we don’t know the answers to certain subject, we research on the subject. This is very similar when we are in the workforce. It is impossible for us to know everything. For example, sometimes I would receive an ad-hoc request to present a subject to the senior management. Instead of sitting in the dark I would research on the subject and also reached out to subject matter expert (SME) to prepare the talking points.

Communication is Key

I have always been an introvert person. I was never comfortable communicating in front of a crowd. I found my experience at Baruch College, CUNY, was so helpful that I learned how to prepare myself in public speaking. Speaking with my college mates, professors and in some of the classes prepared me as I climb the career ladder. In my 20 professional career, I have hold meetings, speaking in front of a large audience and met with the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of one of the largest companies in the world.

Several of my son’s friends decided not to attend any higher education. I’ve also read news about some Generation Z young adults decided not to follow the norm. While admire them for their decisions trying to break the institution will only lead to failure. Obtaining higher education remains an integral part of our society. Unless there is a “sudden” change in this mindset obtaining bachelor degree remains a major milestone for everyone who wants to succeed in this modern society.

Getting the Job of Your Dream

How do you get the job of your dream? There is no clear and easy answer but there are certain things you can do to increase the chances. For most college graduates who recently graduated, this has become much more harder.

When I graduated more than 20 years ago, the job prospect during that time wasn’t great. At least there were opportunities if you look for it. In the US today, things have gotten worse. There are multiple factors such as current state of the economy, the political environment (i.e. trade war with China), the influx of college graduates, the changing industries have make job prospects much more difficult.

While getting the “dream job” has becoming more difficult, it is not impossible. Here I list several things that you can start to increase your chances of being employed higher. These points are generic in nature so they should be applicable to all professions.

Don’t Follow Your Dream

What? Isn’t this an oxymoron; the title says “Getting the Job of Your Dream” but the thing to avoid is “Don’t Follow Your Dream”? Yes, this is quite true when it comes to getting a job in current environment. Most young people who just graduated from high school have high lofty goals. But in reality this is a lot more difficult to achieve when most of them do not have the necessary experience. The worst is for those who want to be something when there is no possible way for them to achieve. Believe it or not in my experience and what I’ve observed, a lot of professionals achieve their goals by luck not by plan.

Some high-schoolers who are getting ready to go into college want to work in a field that they dreamed of when they were younger. Some like music so they want to be a musician; some like art because they are good at it during school but not knowing there is not much job in the art industry. Some believe they are really good in singing; being a singer is the way to go when there is only one in a million chance they will become famous. Don’t be a psychologist because you love it too much. The thing that will kill someone’s dream is when they realized that they spent years study the field and finding out that that field is in “freezer”.

Be Open to Other Opportunities / Be Flexible

This brings to the second point, be flexible. Going to higher education is a goal in itself and not many have the real privilege. However, once there be flexible enough to change your focus of study if needed. Using the examples above as an example. If you decided very early that you are good in art, you need to be flexible enough to learn to adapt. For example, if you learned during the first year that being an artist is a dying field (i.e replacing by mobile applications) be flexible enough to change your major. be open minded and start looking for other opportunities. If you invested too much time in the “dying” field during your junior and senior years there will be no way for you to turn back.

Start Early

It is important for high-schoolers to start early in investigating what are some of the opportunities that are available once they graduated from higher education. If you start late, especially during the junior year in college, then it will be too late. Starting early will help you planned ahead on the fields you want to study. It will also help you determine what major you want to study, by keeping in mind that you also need to be flexible to change if necessary.

During the exploratory stage in high school will also help you in deciding what other extra-curricular activities you want to be involved in. For example, if you really like to be in nursing join a hospital as a volunteer. That will assist you in determining if you really like the nursing field. It is much worst to find out that you hate tending to sick patient after graduating with a nursing degree.

Don’t Think Like You Deserve It

I’ve seen my share of recent graduates who think they deserved to be hired. After being a manager of several multi-national companies for over 20 years, I’ve met with multiple recent graduates who think they deserve the jobs. All newly hired employees must go through the rut and earn recognition. Unless they proof they deserve to be recognized the other option is to be bypassed them from being hired or being promoted. I remembered years ago when I delegated an audit work to an accountant at Arthur Andersen and I was met with a hateful look. The end result was I bypassed him for any other audit work. I also interviewed multiple candidates for an internship at my current employment. The altitude I’ve seen in some of the candidates could only be described as condescending.

Be Mindful of Your Resume

The resume is an important piece of document that many graduates often overlook. A badly written resume could only result in a miss opportunity. A resume is the difference between getting your foot in the door or getting the resume placed in the trash. Every company who is hiring goes through thousands and thousands of resumes just for one job opening. Literally the recruiter or hiring manager will spend less than 10 seconds to decide if he or she wants to continue to read the resume. Once the resume makes it to the desk, the hiring manager will spend less than a minute to peruse the contents. Bad presentation, typos and badly written English are some of the causes will end the resume in the trash can.

Do Your Homework

It is essential that every candidate who are being asked to an interview to make every effort in doing his/her homework. Be prepared such as perform some research about the position and the company may seal the fate of any job prospect. I remembered when I went to my first interview I made the blunder by thinking Coca-Cola Bottling Company as the same as the Coca-Cola Company. Needless to say I was not considered for the position.

Don’t Bullshit / Don’t Be a “Yes” Man

In an interview, do not every lie. Deception can be easily picked up by the interviewer. Never say or express anything that you are not comfortable in demonstrating. If the interviewer captures you lying in the resume and in the interview, the likelihood of being considered for the position will be very slime. Another pet-peeved of mine is meeting yes-man candidate. I’ve candidates agreed with everything I asked and said during an interview. Candidate who challenges and asks difficult questions mean the person does his/her homework and is ready to perform.

I won’t claim that by following the points above will definitely help you get the job. There are a lot more books out there that will discuss this subject in details. The points above are something that I observed and my help you to be a better candidate among seas of other applicants.

If you believe I miss anything, feel free to comment.