SAGE ADVICE FOR RESUMES, INTERVIEWING, AND MORE!
- By bruce w clagg
Am I Doomed Without A College Degree?
Although the numbers and percentages have been rising over the years, examining the most recent data (2012) states that 39.4% of Americans between ages 25 and 64 have an undergraduate degree, or above. Said another way, 60.6% of Americans between ages 25 and 64 DO NOT! Is that a career “kiss of death?” The Institute of Education Statistics estimates that 40% of attendees at a four-year college drop out before completing their degree. That said, many return when they are ready, or more mature to complete their studies. A Degree DOES pay-off in the long run and perhaps in the short run, too!
First of all, I have always believed that several things are required to obtain a position and advance it into a lifelong career: Get educated; do your job well and then some; continue to “grow” through appropriate certifications, additional, pertinent degrees, improve communicative skills, and much more.
That said, what about that 60.6%? Are they doomed to try and survive from governmental assistance? NO!! Well, I suppose if one is lazy and unmotivated; doesn’t realize that time flies by; doesn’t care, then perhaps that is fine – millions do it today! Some have no choice (or do they?).
Money, or the ability to pay college tuition is the #1 reason people do not attend college according to a recent Gallup Poll. I have another belief – that college is not what most of the 60.6% want in their future for a myriad of other reasons. What’s wrong with that? Bill Gates, currently the 2nd richest man in America, and was THE richest man, doesn’t have a college diploma, dropping out of Harvard to start a small company - Microsoft! He took a huge risk. Most successful entrepreneurs and executives have also and continue to do so!
Obviously, Mr. Gates had a talent for “high-tech,” although it was virtually “no-tech” when he entered the game. He saw a need and a potential market, had and developed the skills, and went for it. More than 90% of new businesses fail!
Joining the military is a great option for some, but let’s take “Trevor,” one of those in the 60.6%. Trevor has a High School diploma, or GED, and is “good with his hands.” Trevor likes fixing, building, designing, say…muscle cars, motorcycles, surfboards; you get the idea. Perhaps Trevor enjoys plumbing, electrical, computers, welding, landscaping, and performs these tasks well around the home, and maybe for neighbors and friends. TREVOR HAS SKILLS!
Trade Schools are still scattered throughout all major cities and throughout America. They are far less expensive and require less time than the average college/university and can improve upon Trevor’s skills and even help find him his first job! (These trade schools also fall within “Get educated,” above!)
You may chuckle, but I’m convinced that my plumber (who started his own plumbing service after working for a major, plumbing firm for a few years) earns more than does my Doctor with 20-some years of formal education, internship, and specialized certifications! Don’t you just flip when your plumber hands you the invoice?!
Even if I’m wrong, that plumber makes a good living, sets his own hours if he chooses, and pretty much picks and chooses the projects that he wishes to work. Not bad. Most of employed Americans can’t do that. If he does outstanding work, satisfies his customers, and markets well, he will be successful!
Be true to yourself and your family (or future family) and if college isn’t for you, don’t despair – recognize those skills and talents that you have. Most trades are dying for new people despite this lousy job market! You can make it and maybe become the next Bill Gates, if that is what you want! By the way, I have no intention of dismissing the ladies! Women have a myriad of skills and talents that may fit into some mentioned above, but I can think of MANY to add!
College grads, don’t despair either. I know that it’s tough out there at present, so invest in a professionally prepared resume with a certified, professional career coach and expedite that career search. Even pro athletes have a coach! Applying and interviewing have changed A LOT! Your thoughts?
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Hello! I'm Bruce Clagg,
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