After spending endless hours at the library for that MBA and thousands upon thousands of dollars at law school, nobody really wants to make their foray back into the real world thinking that they just wasted their time and money obtaining an extra degree.
But as a recent article published on the Harvard Business Review (HBR) Blog Network says, for many students graduating this month, this is the harsh reality of a "useless degree".
In her post on Harvard Business Review's website titled "How to Brand a 'Useless' Degree", Dorie Clark (author of Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future) offers recent grads a few pieces of advice on how they can use their educational prowess to their advantage? even when the path to success seems a little rocky.
1. Identify Your Skills
The curse of pursuing higher education is that you probably don't have much experience to pad your resume. Luckily, you do have the education and skills from that education at your disposal. It's not necessarily about applying what you learned in school directly to your potential career, as much as it is applying the skills that you developed. Things like time management, written communication expertise, and public speaking are all very valuable skills for any profession that you may have picked up along the way in earning that master's degree.
2. Focus on Your Uniqueness
As Clark says, "You're never going to win the argument that you're better qualified than someone who has studied a relevant business discipline -- so don't even try. You're differently qualified, and your unique perspective may be just what the company needs to move to the next level." In fact, some business journals are even reporting an uptick in the number of liberal arts majors being recruited into Fortune 500 companies. Companies looking to pool a diverse staff will be excited that you want to offer your unique skills to their firm.
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3. Play-Up ALL Work Experience
Even if you haven't had a relevant internship or job in your industry yet, focus on playing up whatever work experience you do have. Regardless of how meaningless you might think the summer you spent as a nanny or those long afternoons working as a writing tutor on your campus might be, these jobs may be credentials that can serve to impress potential employers. Just remember, it's all about how you market your experiences.
4. Network, Network, Network
As Clark notes, "In a world where business is driven by personal connections, it's been a powerful vehicle to engage deeply with others." You can never underestimate the power of a personal connection or relationship. Take advantage of every opportunity to meet and connect with new people.
After all, you never know who will help you finally land that dream job.