Connie’s Career Corner “Is a degree enough to be successful?”

Tip for the day: If you want positive career growth, improve your skills.

Q: Dear Connie: I am struggling on my job. I have a degree but that does not seem to be enough to be successful. Do you have any suggestion on improving my situation?

A: Dear Needs More: Education is a valuable tool needed to enter many desirable positions in the workplace. It is not uncommon for a job to require a specific level of education before you can be interviewed for that position.

Many people who lose their jobs find themselves undereducated. A person may have been able to obtain employment many years ago without having a high school diploma. Now, we are finding that entry level jobs are requiring a minimum of a G.E.D. or high school diploma.

Though you have accomplished a bachelor’s level degree, there are other skills that employers value and deem necessary for you to be success in a job. It may be time to develop your skill set in areas outside of your formal education in order to continue growth within your career.

A survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) reported that employers see three general areas that employees need to improve. The biggest group of failings reported by employers is in communication skills, specifically lack of writing skills. Other employers report that face-to-face communication is a problem because of the preference for e-mail communication. Interviewing, presentation skills, phone skills, and overall interpersonal skills are lacking, also.

The next group cited a lack of good ethics, analytical and problem-solving skills, initiative, specific computer skills, flexibility, and professionalism. Also, mentioned were independence, patience, and the willingness to work long hours to get the job done.

The third area was the lack of work experience in new college graduates. Some companies see the need for internships and any type of hands-on experience.

Compare the above attributes to your work skills and begin now to improve the ones that you find deficient. Also, give yourself time to improve on any of the mentioned skills you may be lacking. It will help you grow if you are able to find someone who has work experience, good interpersonal skills and work ethics to mentor you through this beginning phase of your career. Learning how to work is as important as learning the specific task that is needed for a job.

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