If I Could Do College Over Again

…I probably wouldn’t go. What?! 

Most careers aren’t linear. That means there isn’t a straight/direct path to finding a job in most fields. 

Certain industries require a degree or amount of schooling to even qualify, so in those cases you have no choice. 

If you fall outside of medical, teaching, engineering, etc. your college degree isn’t worth much. 

Let’s take my situation as an example. I graduated with a B.A. in Psych and my first job out of college was as a Youth Pastor which had no correlation to my education. 

If I could do it all over again, these are the 3 areas I would focus on:

1) Building my Network. It’s all about who you know. Friends, and friends of friends, will find you a job. They’re instant referrals and immediately bridge the gap of trust. If you’re not reaching out to people you know, start. If you are, keep doing it and asking for more introductions.

2) Taking more Internships. There’s no way of predicting whether you’ll actually like or be good at something until you do it. Experience is the best teacher. Trying different jobs is a more productive way of identifying what you want to do than dreaming is.

3) Work in Sales. Arguably the most important skill in business. You can read/talk about it, but you’ll never get better at it unless you do it. Whether you want to work for someone or be your own boss, you have to learn how to sell your product, service and/or yourself. 

College sets you up for a few career options, but if it’s not a prerequisite for what you’re going to do after college, you’ve got to weigh the cost vs. benefits. College doesn’t prepare you for the real world. Experience in the real world prepares you. The three skills I mentioned above can be learned prior to college. No matter where you are in your career, follow this advice and you’ll significantly increase your chances to be employable. 

Side Note: As a career coach, I advise people not to apply for jobs online through third party sites like Monster, CareerBuilder & Indeed. You’d have better odds winning the lottery. In fact, studies show less than 1% get jobs through those sites. 

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