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From College to CEO: What Makes the Difference Between a Degree and a Career?
Going to college to get a degree that will position you for a career earning a stable and comfortable income until retirement--it’s the dream of many young adults fresh out of high school looking for something to do with their lives. Unfortunately, life doesn't always pan out that way for everyone who earns a degree at a prestigious institution, as sometimes other factors can stop them from developing the full potential of their would-be career.
You see, some people are able to become successful CEOs without going to college, some do it while attending college, and others have done it before graduating high school. Still, we know that although a degree is not the sole denominating factor in corporate success, it is indeed a useful credential to have on your resume. With that said, there are at least a few differences between the successful college graduate and one that winds up earning the same amount as a non-graduate:
1. Setting Expectations Low Initially
One major problem that some overzealous aspiring CEOs and entrepreneurs have is that they're unwilling to demote themselves or lower their salary expectations in the beginning. The fact is, when you're talking about rising to the top of a company, most CEOs have worked their way up, some even from entry level positions. Don't be afraid to consider a less than optimal job if it seems like it might offer an opportunity for experience or elevating to a higher position. If you do a good job in any managerial position within a well-known company, that will eventually wind up being a good reference to use when trying to land an even better position in the future.
2. Expanding Sources of Employment
Another mistake young job hunters often make is limiting their sources of possible employment. You have to be ready to pick up and move if the right job presents itself, and you have to know exactly what you're looking for and go after it through as many different avenues as possible. Be sure to sign up for every major job advertising site and continuously research better ways to find new job leads.
3. Ability to Market Yourself
Finally, without the ability to market your own abilities and experience, a degree by itself will typically not impress a hiring manager to the point of convincing them to make a decision. You have to know how to not only present your skills and strengths on paper in the form of a resume, but also how to orally convey these attributes in an articulate manner during face-to-face job interviews. According to Aubrey Chernick of Candle Corporation, the ability to market your abilities are just as important as the abilities themselves.
Going Back to the Drawing BoardSometimes all it takes is going back to the drawing board to figure out why it was you got your degree and how you can modify that original plan to create a new game plan. You might just need to reconsider the industry you're using your degree for, or how you're approaching prospective employers.
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