You graduated from college. Congratulations! It doesn’t matter how long it took to get your college degree. The important thing is that you have your degree. Now what? What will you do next?
It depends on you! A college degree isn’t a guaranteed ticket to financial security. Some college graduates earn the same wages than a person without a college degree.
In my last book, I wrote about Hanna Newburg who has a master’s degree in library science. Due to the lack of local jobs, her best option was a $10 an hour library assistant job located hundreds of miles away from her hometown.
What can you do to avoid having Hanna’s luck?
Stay relevant. There are some industries with rapid growth. They are growing so fast that certain knowledge and skills become obsolete or irrelevant in a few years.
I know because it personally affected me. I graduated with a college degree in automotive technology in 2009. Ten years later, almost half of my knowledge and skills aren’t relevant with the automobiles produced within the last five years. In twenty years, two-thirds of my knowledge and skills will be irrelevant in diagnosing and repairing the newest vehicles.
Another example is the marketing industry. Many marketing students learn about the four P’s of marketing: product, price, promotion, and placement. It may seem like a timeless philosophy, but the current state of marketing has changed things over the years. Digital marketing is the new marketing, and it’s being barely taught in universities.
The best way to keep your industry knowledge relevant is by taking continuing education courses. For some fields, you can enroll in courses sponsored by your employer (e.g. Toyota, General Motors, etc). For other fields, you can enroll in courses offered by niche organizations. One example is HubSpot Academy. They offer several marketing and sales courses that can be completed online for free.
If you can stay relevant in your industry, soft skills can enhance your career success. Unfortunately, many people overlook the power of having excellent soft skills. These soft skills include communication, flexibility, integrity, professionalism, and work ethic.
Did you know that 75% of long-term job success depended on soft skills and only 25% on technical skills? That’s what the experts found in studies from the Stanford Research Institute and the Carnegie Mellon Foundation. In another study conducted by Harvard University, 80% of career achievements are determined by soft skills and only 20% by hard skills.
If you stay relevant and have a great set of soft skills, professional networking can further enhance your career success. LinkedIn is the best professional networking platform to do it. You can connect with people through groups, trending articles, and interacting with social posts.
You can also subscribe to LinkedIn Premium to improve your job search, grow business, or unlock sales opportunities.
The Last Word
So, you can have success after college. Although, it won’t only happen because of your college degree. Success requires your maximum effort! So, let me ask you, “Are you willing to give what it takes to reach the finish line?”