Getting a college degree is no longer enough to land a job after graduation. Today’s students must take into account not only what they would like to to with their academic training, but what employment opportunities will be available by the time they graduate and how to promote their skills to attract future employment.
According to Celine James in a recent article, Who Should Decide Your College Major, there is strong need for academic programs to better reflect job market trends and for students to be aware of which academic programs will satisfy economic demands by the time of their graduation. The article states, “As a student, your potential earned income and long-term job prospects should weigh heavily in the decisions you make about majors, degrees and programs… and to weigh the research with your own personal interests and needs”. In addition, the article introduces some federal funding efforts and legislation intending to incentivize specific degrees in order to help satisfy future employment needs.
Deciding on a college degree or major can be a process to which requires significant consideration. Pennsylvania State University has shared that 80% of college students are undecided about their college major during their first semester and that 50% of college students switch majors at least once during their academic career. Penn State recommends that students begin to investigate their academic/professional interests early and provides helpful resources to do so. One example includes “Major Decisions” written by Michael Leonard. Remember, while deciding on a degree or major, be sure to balance your academic interest with its practical application in the job market 4-6 years for now. The next step is to begin marketing yourself for that employment during your college experience.
Two previously discussed examples of how students and faculty can increase their attractiveness for employment include College = Employment and Social Business in Higher Education. Students must now more than ever, build a professional profile marketing them as a viable job candidate. Teresa Crane discusses a few strategies that students can practice during and after their academic career to increase professionalism and stand out from their competition. In her recent article, Career Skills You Won’t Learn in School, she shares the following strategies to become more professionally attractive:
- Identifying Potential Employers
- Establish Your Online Presence
- Develop A Job Search Strategy
- Networking Skills
- Job Searching Skills
- Cover Letters
- Job Interviews
- Job Offers
- Persistence Skills
- Future of Work
Finally, if you’re an international college student in the U.S, it can be more difficult getting a job after graduation. These students often struggle with additional challenges including language, legislative, and cultural barriers. In response, many of them are now outsourcing new resources that link academic preparation with professional development to enhance their likelihood of post graduation employment. One educational service includes How Leaders Should Lead Institute (HLSL Institute) which specializes in cross-cultural adaptation in the U.S. International students receive help before, during, and after graduation through an individualized academic plan to manage academic requirements, professional goals, and the skills needed to achieve those goals.
CRUX: Getting a college degree is no longer enough to land a job after graduation. Today’s students must plan ahead for long-term employment trends, create a personal brand to market their qualifications, as well as consider new professional development options.
I wish this fall semester’s students much success.