Hiring Posts

Why a Bachelor’s Degree Won’t Get You Hired: The Experts Weigh In

At skillset, we’re always trying to think of ways we can help people expand their knowledge, develop their career, and gain more confidence in their jobs or in their job search. That means, by definition, we’re helping people move beyond the mindset of “I have my degree, now I need to find a job that matches it.”

Increasingly, that takes us to the question of “What does a modern job candidate look like?” “What should one look like?” It seems more clear than ever that job seekers and professionals need more in their arsenal than a college degree.

There is definitely a debate to be had about whether or not attending a four-year anniversary is the best way to prepare for one’s eventual career at all, but most serious professionals (and employers) agree that it’s the best place to start.

But that’s just it: A bachelor’s degree is more of a starting point than the defining characteristic of your career, or certainly of your qualifications.

To dig deeper, we asked several employment experts to give us their thoughts on how close a four-year degree got candidates to being “qualified” for a specific job opening. Their answers are enlightening.


On the Value of the Real World:

“I actually don’t think a “degree in X” is enough for most positions these days, so in the future expectations will shift towards also having actual real-world experience of some kind as a minimum, as well as (if relevant) a degree.

It’s so easy for anyone to get experience while they’re studying – maybe even while they’re still at school, before they start their degree – that when an employer is faced with ten resumes from graduates who are all academically similar, with similar degrees from similar colleges, excellent marks/GPAs and so on, they have to then start looking at the real world experience the applicants have gained so far in order to decide which one of them to hire – or even bring in for interview.

Online Classes, Misunderstood Expertise and Futuristic Bull**t: This Week in Skills

We saw a bevy of news and commentary this week that indicates the modern education and skills assessment industry is becoming restless with the status quo. Cutting-edge educational models are now covering cutting-edge concepts, innovation is making everyone look like an expert, and people answered one million questions on Skillset.com.


The Future of Education

The next generation of education and learning tech continues to be driven and influenced by the things that modern workers are already doing, as John A. Byrne noted that the best new Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) center on leadership, finance and—believe it or not—3D Printing.

This aligns with the general sense many have had over the past couple of years that the contemporary “maker” culture of creating, building and selling one’s own product, which is so popular among millennials, will continue to creep into the world of higher education.

The edX blog is frightening purists again by publishing survey results showing that 87% of students say they gain as much or more from online courses as they do from traditional in-person classes, and disagreement may not matter if you agree with Steven Mintz, who reimagined undergraduate education this week by embracing “the ideal of the student as the creator of knowledge.”


Career Planning and Development

Robert Scoble implored us to see through futuristic bulls**t by focusing on substance over buzz, which dovetails nicely with Penelope Trunk’s anecdote about how the invention of the tractor made young people seem like expert farmers overnight, even though they weren’t.

They were actually just experts in farm machinery, and eventually needed to find that extra source of knowledge, experience, and vision to truly become great at what they were doing.

The analogy, of course, is Generation Y and their superficial expertise with the Internet. Turns out you also need experience to think strategically. That, and good lunch manners during your interview.


Professional Certification

On the home front, Skillset added 500 much-requested situational questions to its PMP exam sample question database, which surely helped on the way to eclipsing 1 million questions answered by our insatiable userbase.

Elsewhere in project management, Conrado Morlan advised project managers to “see success first” if they want to think like an elite project management professional, and Andy Jordan reminded us that project managers need to work well with program managers if they want to achieve that success.


Every week, we go through the best writing and news about education, career development and professional certification and review it here. Check back often to stay up to date on the future of learning technology.