Career Social Commentary

Education vs. Experience

I recently read an article about the closing of one U.S. college. The article also predicted that more schools would be closing over the next few years. Part of this is related to declining enrollment rates. Students are worried about being in debt as well as the possibility of not landing a job after; all very reasonable concerns.

It’s a very sobering feeling when you’ve worked so hard at something, dedicating your time and depleting your resources, only to be doing something totally opposite of what you went to school for. I know this feeling all too well as documented in my guest blog post, “What College Didn’t Teach Me.”

The never ending question that I and many others in this predicament have is this: How can I get the experience if no one will hire me?

Many job postings that I come across require sometimes three to five years of experience. That’s impossible for someone who has just graduated. Even if a person has been out of school for that amount of time, like myself, those years surely haven’t been spent in the actual field of study.

So this is what it boils down to, the degree or experience. Which is more valuable, in a sense? Would you be willing to train the right candidate even if they didn’t exactly meet the years requirement but they had the education? What are your thoughts on this?

The College Grad

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  1. Reblogged this on Résumé Mojo and commented:
    I absolutely love that question: how can I get experience if no one will hire me? I love this question because I’ve been there. Fresh out of college, degree in one hand, hopes in the other, only to find out all those years in college felt such a waste in the current job market. It seemed like no one was hiring and those that were only wanted candidates with relevant experience. And I had none. But I found the answer to that questions. Although it took me some odd jobs and two years after the fact to find that answer, there is a least one way I know to get the experience to get hired.

    1. Thanks for your comment! One thing I found helpful is to never give up and to always be actively seeking ways to perfect your craft!
      What is your secret?


      1. My secret, which isn’t much of a secret — was freelancing. Put my skills out there for hire. It was the best way to test whether I could do what all that education paid for as well as explore if it was something I really wanted to do. And of course, experience. That was the biggest reward.

      2. I agree. Freelancing is definitely a good way to gain experience. I’ve had one freelance gig post- graduation. I still have the invoice as an ambition to keep working at it!

      3. Oh, yeah. It’s definitely something that is a constant if you really want to put yourself out there. And you gotta deal with all the rejection out there as well. But I have it has paid off and has made me so much more confident in dealing with prospect and current clients. Don’t get me wrong, I value the education I paid for, it just hasn’t paid off yet. So in the meantime, I did what I had to do.

  2. It is very sad that Sweet Briar College and it possibly being closed. I know a few girls that attend that all female private school, and it is very sad. As a soon to be grad, I feel sad for all those girls who haven’t had the chance to graduate from that school, and will have to start all over or look for their new college “home”. But in general to the idea that students are afraid of debt and that being a reason not to gain a higher education is so sad. That there leaves many brilliant and capable individuals helpless, and struggling to meet ends meet, unless they find other opportunities, that might take them twice as long to reach the level they would like to be at. What would also be great, is for there to be more encouragement for young adults, or even older adults to attend a trade school. There are many jobs out there that make good money, and you pay a significantly lower tuition then colleges. But it is all depending on the individual. Some may thrive in an all hands on environments, and some others might prosper in a classroom setting. There are plenty of options.

    1. Thanks for your comment Zelda! It is very sad when any institution closes its doors. It leaves so many with uncertain futures. I’m from Philadelphia where the school district is in serious trouble. Dozens of Public schools have closed their doors just last year. If people are denied education at that stage, it makes me worried about their ambition to continue on to college. Fear of being in debt and job security shouldn’t be a reason why anyone would deny education. I certainly don’t regret going to college. It has opened many doors for me and I’ve met some really amazing people. It hasn’t been an easy road but you have to chase your dreams no matter what! Good luck in your endeavors!


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