If you want a job after you graduate from college, what’s the best degree to earn? Recruiters and head hunters would probably tell you that the most wide open career fields are health care, computer science and engineering, where there are lots of jobs. That’s good advice, but not everyone can get into those programs, and not everyone likes doing the work they involve.
If computers rattle you, math baffles you or the sight of blood makes you faint, what do you do then? You plan a career path that takes you to places where you can enjoy your work. Here are a few steps to find the right degree – or to find the right job without a four-year-or-more degree:
- Google ‘hot jobs’ and research other fields with lots of opportunities
- Check out community colleges for 1-year and 2-year degrees in relevant fields
- Focus on skills needed in the contemporary job market, not degrees
- Avoid spending thousands of dollars on irrelevant degrees
You can have 20 degrees, but if you don’t have the right skills, you won’t get a job just because you graduated from college. Employers are now more interested in “what you can actually do.”
Case in point: Neither Steve Jobs who started Apple nor Bill Gates who started Microsoft had college degrees! Both dropped out because they were more interested in developing new ideas in technology. Don’t go that far — unless you know for sure you have a marketable idea. Most small business owners do not have college degrees, but keep in mind that nine out of 10 businesses fail in the first few years.
Take a serious look, instead, at your skills, abilities, talents and experience. A resume that is loaded with valuable examples of what you can do will trump a list of degrees anytime. Use strong action verbs to describe your skills. Be specific. Use details. For example, your list of skills should start with something like:
- Excelled in English classes and communicate confidently in Spanish
- Established new sales territory in northern Ohio, exceeding sales goals from the start
- Organized neighbor-to-neighbor campaign for the American Cancer Society-Columbus OH
If you have a college degree(s), put it (them) on the bottom of your resume, rather than the top. It’s never a bad thing to have a degree, of course, but it’s no longer the only thing.
Marketable skills,abilities, talents and relevant experience count just as much or more.