More than ever before, opportunity abounds for those with a diverse wealth of real-world knowledge but no sheepskin to show for it.
With most colleges around the country facing downward-trending enrollment rates, companies have a choice: frantically snap up college graduates before their competitors, or realize that the next essential innovator may not hold a degree at all.
Talent can come from anywhere, with or without traditional higher education. The world’s top companies know that real-world skills and experience are often the best teachers and can broaden their nets to catch young talent hailing from unlikely places.
Explore why hard-earned, real-world experience has been surpassing diplomas and how you can turn your knowledge into actionable steps to success.
- A college education isn’t for everyone—and even if it is for you, there are some serious skill gaps in the system.
- Missed skill development can be a detriment to future success and overall well-being.
- What you learn in the classroom may not fully translate to the workplace, but learning on the job produces rapid skill development that compounds over time.
Skills vs. schooling: 3 factors to consider
Students constantly weigh the pros and cons of continuing their education versus turning to the workforce directly after high school. The accepted norm that students absolutely must continue their education becomes a more dated idea every day, for many reasons.
1. Higher education isn’t for everyone
Obtaining a college degree is a difficult, if not sometimes completely unattainable, goal—and it isn’t all just about the money.
- Traditional classroom settings aren’t suitable for everyone. Some people perceive college to be faster-paced and more difficult than high school, making it an unattractive concept to those already struggling in an academic sense.
- Huge commitments must be made young. The pressure to choose a lifelong field of study that is both lucrative and enjoyable is daunting and can cause prospective students to forgo college altogether.
- Time constraints make it hard to commit to higher education fully. Students with jobs, children, and other obligations find it challenging to create a schedule that allows for classes and other demands.
- Tuition is a huge factor. Student loans, grants, federal aid, and scholarships are still no guarantee that the mounting cost of a college education is manageable for everyone.
There are thousands of unique reasons people have passed on college education—what’s important is realizing that all of those reasons are valid. It simply isn’t for everyone, but that doesn’t mean those who do not attend college aren’t brimming with creativity, innovation, and drive.
2. Classroom know-how doesn’t always translate
Despite popular belief, what’s taught in the classroom may not always apply to the workplace.
- Hypothetical scenario teaching: Even when based on actual events, the in-class scenarios, cases, and examples are a poor replacement for real-life experience. Instead of supposed circumstances and possible outcomes, real-life experience develops real-life skills like problem-solving.
- Developments outmode the education: When students secure a job in their chosen field, the information they paid for may be obsolete (particularly true in the tech, medical, and legal fields). Those who learn on the job stay up-to-the-minute on new techniques.
- Impressive credentials aren’t always worth it: A degree from a prestigious school only proves the student is skilled at academia. It doesn’t always mean that they’re a good fit or can do the job well. Workers can know as much (or more) and do an excellent job without the expensive degree.
3. Degrees are not a guarantee
There is nothing more crushing than realizing the degree that costs many years and thousands of dollars doesn’t mean job security in a field. Over 40% of college-educated people in the United States have had to take jobs in unskilled positions that do not require a degree at all—let alone their specific degree.
Because degrees don’t promise a lucrative job, having valuable experience and real-world skills is necessary to stay ahead. The world is trending in a direction that will ultimately value what you can do over what you learned to do in theory.
Real-world skills that college doesn’t teach you
Despite what’s taught in school, there are still considerable gaps in the system—vital building blocks of future success often go completely overlooked.
- Setting career goals: Understanding your strengths and weaknesses allows you to set realistic goals that can change as you grow.
- Networking: Learning how to get out and make meaningful connections is key to assembling teams, clientele rosters, and a valuable cast of characters.
- Task prioritization: Understanding that you must prioritize some tasks over others allows you to make the most of your time.
- Utilizing feedback: Interpreting and using feedback to make effective changes keeps you constantly evolving into your best self.
- Selling: Learning to sell doesn’t just mean selling stuff. It means selling your ideas, your personality, and your knowledge, making you a must-have part of any team.
Each of these is considered “essential skills” as determined by the World Health Organization.
Because these real-world skills are often underdeveloped, the average young professional can be at a disadvantage. Vector wants to change the game—now previously missed or unlearned skills can be developed and honed, all while making money.
Young professionals can still get ahead
You deserve a workplace that offers practical training and skill development that you can carry with you for life. Make the most of your time and close the skill gap by joining a winning team. Get all the real-world experience, tools, and techniques that laser-focus your skills and make you the best possible version of yourself.
Whether you’re a student or traditional schooling wasn’t for you, you can still get access to the best teacher of all—real-world experience.
Start your new career within the week. Contact us today to request an interview.