A student of mine approached me this week seeking advice on how to increase her professional competitiveness. I asked her what skills she possessed and her response was simply, “Well, I’ll soon have a college degree”.
Her response is quite common amongst students. Why is a job expected or entitled after graduation? It has been said that a college degree is now considered the new high school diploma. This means that the majority of applicants out in the market already have a college degree, thus making a college graduate more generic. It certainly doesn’t guarantee anyone a job after graduation. Often times, employers complain that their “educated” new hires lack basic qualifications and struggle to keep up in today’s evolving business climate. So what does it take to stand out from the hundreds of other applicants?
I recommend that students have an extra talent or skill before graduating to set them apart from their future competition. There are a couple skills which do that. The first skill is to learn a second language. Globalization offers you great opportunity to succeed in many industries, presupposing you have the ability to communicate with different cultures. If you want to be the most competitive and desired applicant or qualified employee, know a second language.
Another skill is customer service which should incorporate cultural competence. As our planet blends into one big melting pot of nationalities, ethnicities, languages, religions, and beliefs, you’re ability to communicate and build relationships with people very different from yourself, will lead you to larger networks and therefore more opportunities for success.
Lastly, become technology savvy. I know this skill can be scary and intimidating for many of you but it is necessary for most careers. Even competence in basic computer programs will increase your worth as an employee. In the next few years, our world will experience significant change due to technological advancements. For example, social business is a force moving at immeasurable speeds that everyone can benefit from. Don’t fight it or avoid it, understand it and master it. Only a small percentage of people use social media and social business in its most effective measure.
Within the next few weeks, I will invite industry leaders within Higher Education, Social Business, and Cross Cultural Education to join me via video blogs to contribute towards our conversations regarding how these skills can increase your competitive edge within our global market.
5 responses to “But I Have A College Degree….”
It is true that many of us rely on our diplomas to do the work for us, but when everyone applying for a job opening also has a diploma we need to bring something greater to the table. We need to actively engage ourselves in the world, languages, and technology to have the advantage over our competition! Great post and thanks for reminding us to find our extra talents!
Thanks for the post Rachel. In the next few weeks, I will be discussing on how students and other professionals can further increase their competitive skills.
I recommend students learn how to create an effective personal brand by blogging and tweeting and having a good Google + profile and professionally personal Facebook page 🙂
Your advice has personally helped my professional image. I feel like I’m a real competitor now. Thanks Bret.
After looking at various websites, I found that there are some very commonly heard reasons of why to get a college degree:
You’ll make more money
Job-application edge over non-college graduates
You’ll hold up better during recessions
You’ll have more opportunities available to you
You’ll always be marketable
Longer And Healthy Life
Although these reasons may seem to be correct, they are outdated. Just like the blog said, a college degree is becoming more generic in this generation. This may be a great contribution to our nation and it’s educational stance but, I feel that to some it lowers the achievement of a college degree. This could be discouraging or encouraging. Some may be discouraged by their accomplishments not being recognized and the want of higher ed may go down. Although, this could very well be encouraging, this could engage the average people in competition in the ordinary employment field. Job applicators will have to “stand out from the rest” in order to receive a job. In the blog, I do favor all of the skills that the writer introduces and believe that that is the future of the career field.