Posted June 03, 2014 by

Will a degree further your career?

Group of young college graduates and their professor at graduation

Group of young college graduates and their professor at graduation. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Earning a degree has traditionally been the way to stand out from the crowd when it comes to finding a job and furthering your career. But as more and more of the US population graduate from college and studying becomes more expensive, is the qualification losing its value?

There is certainly a lot to be said for experience as well as academic achievement, but a degree can still have huge benefits, especially if it’s from a college with a great reputation such as the American University or Ivy League colleges. Here’s how studying could further your career and how to ensure you spend your time at college wisely.

Choosing the right subject

Many people decide which subject to study at a university at a very early age. For some the choice is obvious- they are passionate about the subject and what to forge a career in a related profession. For others the decision is more difficult, particularly if you haven’t found the subject that inspires you yet.

As you’ll be spending thousands of dollars to fund your studies, it’s really important to consider what benefit a degree will offer. If you’re not studying a subject because you’re passionate about it, will it give you a better chance of getting a well-paid job? Speak to a careers advisor about the decision and weigh up the benefits of further education. If a particular degree course doesn’t greatly improve your career prospects then is it really worth spending all that money?

Research degree courses and the skills they will provide you with before making that all-important decision.

Don’t be afraid to take time out

If you are unsure what you want to study, or even if college is right for you at all, consider taking a gap year to gain skills and experience. A break from academia can be a really valuable thing, and a gap year can be a positive addition to your résumé if you spend it wisely.

Perhaps you can volunteer, or work an entry-level job in an industry that interests you. Job seekers that can prove they have experience and applied skills as well as good academic achievement tend to stand out from the crowd when it comes to getting a job.

Making the most of it

Of course, there are a lot of distractions in college, and studying may sometimes take second place to socializing. Whilst your grades might not suffer in the first year, after that you’ll need to put your studies first if you really want to get the most out of your degree.

You’ll also need to take advantage of all the extra opportunities that come your way if you want to stand out from all the other graduates in your year. Consider relevant voluntary work or positions in college clubs and societies that will add to your skill set.

The more relevant experience you can add to your résumé when it’s time to look for a job, the better.

By staying focused and widening your skill set, you could really make it count.  A degree from a well-known college or university, such as an American University could very well further your career and increase your chance of getting that dream job.

Article provided by Jose Capelo who has years of experience in business and recruitment. You can find him on Google+.

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