Locating success before the big commencement speech
By: EVAN CARLEN
Earn a university degree and get a job: this formula has worked with relative success for over fifty years. Increasingly, however, in many fields today the formula is no longer works.
This is because of the recent credential inflation — inflation due to the fact that so many more people today are enrolled in college than in the past.
In fact, the number of students enrolled in college has doubled since 1996.
Most people think the best way to combat this trend is by going to school longer than their counterparts. More school equals more opportunity, evidently. While this theory is not incorrect, it will land someone fresh into the workforce with hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. More school does not need to be the answer.
Employers are looking for things other than a piece of paper when seeking the future employees of their business.
So instead of going back to school and going further into debt, do the things that will set you apart from someone who holds the same degree as you.
One way to do this is to get yourself involved. Universities create and provide a bounty of opportunities on campus to get involved in; particularly clubs, fraternities and other extracurricular programs. It is not enough to just be in these programs. If you want to seem like the well-rounded candidate to an employer, you need to take positions of influence to leave your imprint on your campus.
Many have graduated all degree fields with 4.0 GPAs but very few have sent email after email to get the funding a club needed for that trip to the New York convention.
You are setting yourself apart from your classmates and showing determination instead of wasting a seat in a university class you could have taken online at home. Furthermore, keeping your grades up along with displaying involvement shows versatility and management skills: both skills that are imperative in the workplace.
Another way to set yourself apart is to delve into your area of work. Get yourself known among those in the field you are pursuing before you graduate.
If you want to be a doctor like myself, a good way to do this is to shadow any doctor that can stand you.
Start with your doctor and then ask him to refer you to another doctor.
Be thirsty for the knowledge these doctors have obtained over the years that could never be learned in the classroom.
It might also work to become an assistant for someone in your field. Becoming a nurse’s assistant may not be glamorous, but you will constantly be in the setting you are working towards – the one described in your textbooks. Take notes, listen, stay late, come early, never be afraid to ask what else you can do.
Even if 99 percent of what you do is ignored, you still have the one percent edge that sets you apart from everyone else.
You know what else you will have?
Peace of mind in knowing you have become confident in your field. This swagger will show in your interview and be the light to the employer’s dark cloud of doubt.
While knowing your stuff is obviously crucial in any skilled profession, getting your foot in the door can be a lock difficult to pick. But if you do everything you can and take advantage of every opportunity that arises, you will find that many of the keys to that lock are not found in textbooks.