If I Was Running A Company…Graduate Degrees

This is not a good time for new graduates (undergraduate and graduate) of getting a job.  They’re only hope is landing an internship or an entry-level job just to get a foot in the door.  Sadly, there are a few openings of those positions.  An easy solution is to get a graduate degree that you’re still honing your craft.  That might be true 2-3 years ago, but with all the information that is available, is it really necessary to have a graduate degree?

There are only a few positions that need graduate degrees from being a doctor, an architect, an engineer, and a lawyer.  A graduate degree in those areas is required because there’s an additional skill beyond what you learn and think.  Those positions are essentially a minor league farm system for firms in those areas.

What about the professional services positions like finance, communications, human resources, and others?  Although a graduate degree would be nice on your resume, it should not be a requirement in these jobs.  There are some positions that require or “strongly recommend” a Masters or MBA and some might be hesitant to apply for those positions.   Is there a way to go around it?  Absolutely.

Let’s be honest, if you are in a professional services position like myself, you’re expendable.  There are many financial, HR, marketing and communication positions.  If you’re doing a bad job, the employer can find someone else from the street and do the same work.  So, how could you differentiate yourself from the others?  You literally have to throw the kitchen sink.

Have the basics like your resume, cover letter, and references, but do not stop there.  Do some networking, build your social media profiles, join groups and follow your peers.  Then, study your position, the industry, and potential employers you want to focus from the resources you’re given from your local public library to the interwebs.  When you have the knowledge down, try to blend your knowledge, skills, and interests and start a blog.  Write a few posts of your experiences and ideas on how to tackle a situation and be very specific about it.

When you have all the materials needed, try to integrate your blog to the rest of the social media sites.  Also, start creating business cards with your contact information, background, your social media profiles and your blog website.  When you’re at a networking event, write your name on your badge and include your Twitter handle.  Then, follow-up on your contacts with your new signature line with the same things I mention on your business card.  It’s all about integration and if the recruiter loves what you’re doing, you might get a pre-screen.

A graduate degree is expensive, yet it brings a prestige to your resume which is great and all.  However, I would want employees who care about their craft.  If you’re willing to share your knowledge to an organization, do not be afraid to be out there and forward everything to a recruiter and flaunt it.  At the least, you might get a shot in a pre-screen.  .  The blog and social media would not help you get a job, but there will be someone who will give you an opportunity and when that comes…Seize It.   That is what all this information is there in the beginning: opportunity.  When you land a job, do not stop.  Continue writing your blog and still continue to learn through the different mediums because you never know the future will hold.

A graduate degree might cost a lot of money, but learning is priceless.  Don’t forget that lesson;  it might come up in an interview or a meeting.

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  • I will be attending Ryerson University next year with the intentions of becoming a journalist. However, the media front is a little uncertain and I’m left hoping it all clears up by the time I graduate!

  • @ericahawleyscime I think print journalism is dead, but journalism is still alive and well. I would go to an organization that accepts both the old methods and social media. NPR here in the U.S. is an example.

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