Open Your Eyes: Diploma: Just a piece of Paper?

By Stephanie Cochrane Posted June 3, 2009

Millions are stressed because of the slumping economic status, but perhaps those who should be the most worried are too young to realize it. “The rate of joblessness is still a sobering toll,” said President Barack Obama to Yahoo News. Students coming out of high school and college possibly face the most difficult task when it comes to finding a job. A high school diploma goes far, but does it go far enough?

Today’s super-competitive job market is demanding more experience and higher credentials. Companies have always reasonably favored the graduate student over the applicant holding a GED, and in this job market, students should strive to be the most qualified candidate for a job. “It’s a tougher market and some companies are cutting back younger workers: last in, first out. There are reports in the press that some companies are rescinding offers to recent grads, leaving the young folks in the lurch,” says Kate Wendleton of The Five O’clock Club.

What do young people need to do to succeed in the competitive job market? Wendleton says students need to be more expansive; setting your sights on one specific goal may not be the best route. It is wiser to know your strengths and have a few backup ideas than it is to seek employment from one specific company. Also, get real work experience through college. These days a degree can set a crucial foundation for a strong career, but experience can set you one step ahead of the crowd.

Working summer camp for four years probably won’t get you as far as working an internship at a business in your field of interest. The problem that arises with internships is that not all are paid and most students in college need money. The importance of internships is the specialized training, so obtaining any job that provides constructive experience is a wise choice.

The significance of a diploma is rising, but what is more important is the application of one’s ability and knowledge.

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