Sunday, May 12, 2013

Your Degree Does Not Make You Special

By Kira Zuber

Going to college was never a question for me.

You went to middle school. You went to high school. And then you went to college. It’s not that I didn’t have a choice, or that my parents didn’t give me a choice. I just never thought about that choice.

Does everyone go to college today? No. Do a lot more people go to college
today than they did 30 years ago? That’s for sure. The New York Times reported
that more than 30 percent of American adults hold bachelor’s degrees in 2012. This
stands in stark contrast to the mere 10.7 percent of college educated Americans in

Why should you care? Are you are currently searching for employment? Having your bachelor’s
degree in the professional world no longer makes you special. You are expendable.
If you don’t want the job being offered for that salary, another college grad will
come searching and be happy to take it.

Further, there is the competition of those who have been fired from their jobs due to downsizing. Many people from this group have their bachelor’s and work experience, which makes your bachelor’s worth even less. Many people with their bachelor’s degree are now being forced into jobs which require only a high school education. The Chronicle of a Higher Education published an article on this subject entitled, “Millions of Graduates Hold Jobs That Don’t Require a College Degree, Report Says”.

This overflow of people with college degrees impacts the professional world. In an effort to distinguish ourselves, there is a new pressure to go out and get another degree.

In my case it was a J.D.

A warning to the reader: BEWARE. If you think you need to go out and get that “additional”
degree to spruce up your resume . . . so does everyone else. Therefore even more
people are getting degrees, and once again you are no longer special. The Huffington
reported last summer that only 55 percent of the class of 2011 had full time
jobs that required a law degree and lasted more than a year.

This is not to say not to go out and get that second professional degree. If you can, you should. After some despair of my own, and thinking I would never find a job, I found out a J.D. can be extremely useful for a variety of jobs. It shows an employer you have analytical skills, fundamental knowledge of the law, people skills (as long as patent law wasn't your specialty), and the dedication to go through three years of hell and to then take the bar. BUT a J.D. in and of itself is not the complete answer. I would advise you to still try to further distinguish yourself.

Sorry if this was all a bit depressing. It wasn’t meant to be, truly. I guess it was meant to say WAKE UP!!! It’s a rough market out there, and we are all desperately trying to get jobs. Do not count on the fact that you have a degree of any type to get you ahead in the job hunt. It is of utmost importance that you get out there and (sorry for the extremely trite and clichéd expression) “be all that you can be.”  Learn more languages than everybody else. Be the person who bothered to send the thank-you note. Remember peoples’ names. Dress well. Be courteous.

Take advantage of every opportunity. The best piece of advice I have received so far on this subject was, “try your hardest.” It sounds simple, but it means a lot. If you want something, go after it. Do research. Look into how can you make yourself the best candidate for that job and proceed accordingly. And perhaps if trying your hardest doesn’t get you the exact job you wanted, it will provide you with an opportunity. Opportunity isn’t going to find you, you have to go out and find it.

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