By: The Mesa Messanger Editorial Staff
With jobs getting more and more scarce, and employers hiring less people without work experience, college is no longer a time to party- it’s time to grind.
According to a Georgetown University study, “63 percent of all job openings by 2018 will require workers with at least some college education” (Projection of Jobs and Education Requirements Through 2018, Georgetown University, 2010). One of the main ideas taught in a senior project portfolio class is “value proposition”. This comes to be one of the most important aspects of being in the job market and interviewing. Value proposition is what someone has to offer, that is going to be the extraordinary factor that sets one apart from his competition. In our current culture, it has now become a very normal step to go to college after high school. America has made sure to tell every young student how important it is, and that it is what will get them the job that will make life happy. Hate to break it to ya’, but that’s not longer the case. Now everybody has a BA/BS or at least an Associates Degree. This is no longer a “wow factor” to employers. We have made it into something expected versus an asset that is going to make an applicant stand out. Work experience now, is what a college degree was then. It’s what is going to make applicants stand apart from all others.
Secondly, the Grand Valley has always been known to be a mysterious little town, where no matter where one goes, there is always someone he knows who knows someone they know, who knows someone they know, who knows him, who so on and so forth. There is a momentous hidden factor in having work experience during college, and that is networking. People move up in their field by knowing someone to help get them there. Students have to be connected and involved in the community and the businesses around them if they want to have a successful career in those community member’s companies. It is far too easy to get caught up in a GPA, how many clubs to be in, and getting involved around the school with projects. While those are all good things to worry about, don’t forget about the world outside of campus. The students who gain an understanding for the culture, the people, and the business, are going to be the ones to keep the Valley alive, and get the jobs they want.
Lastly, not only are students going to learn MORE technical skills, and become an expert in a certain duty, having a job during college is a skill all on its own. Between the time balancing, the amount of tasks and goals to accomplish everyday, are some of the most valuable skills that an employer can find in applicants. Not to discount the serious motivation that it takes to get a degree, but those who can live a life outside of campus and be involved within both cultures, are learning more real-world lessons and are experiencing achieving on a higher level. “When I look at my organizational skills, and keeping track of everything that’s going on in my life compared to others who don’t have a job, I’m honestly shocked at how they even make it through their week,” says local Colorado Mesa University student Samantha Hunter.
This is not to say that students need to find the most relevant, and demanding jobs while in college; however, in order to not be another student statistic that went through the pains of getting their degree, only to not find a good job, or rather a job at all, and end up in debt, working in a position they could have got without going to college, something different must be done. It is important though to find a job that is going to add to your value proposition (what you have to offer employers). For example, if a student wants to be in sales, then working a customer service job at a retail store may be good because the skills she gains adds to her value proposition of having experience dealing with customers needs, even if it won’t be for cute shoes and blingy shirts. What’s important is that students gain the experience and start networking now- not after they need to support themselves.