Thursday, September 19, 2013

When Employment and Education "Experts" Collide

The Chronicle of Higher Ed's article Employers and Public Favor Graduates Who Can Communicate displays ambivalent attitudes and a complete lack of real world experience--not by students or employees--but by managers, employers, and professors that peddle such nonsense to students and the community-at-large.

What nonsense you ask?  Being "well-rounded with a range of abilities" will land you that fab job you've been dreaming about.

Why the attitude?  Here's why.  If a company is hiring for a position that requires a Bachelor's Degree in marketing, finance, or business, it doesn't matter that upper management or your local professor believes "Being well-rounded with a range of abilities is more important than having industry expertise because job-specific skills can be learned at work."

Upper management is never going to meet that well-rounded person because that well-rounded person will never pass the initial screening process.  This kind of well-meaning, blather does NOT help those entering the job market.

Job seekers have to meet the job market where it stands and if professors or upper-management employers want a reality check, go read the want ads.  Nobody is looking for a "well-rounded" individual with a wide "range of abilities," they are advertising for persons who have a "B.S. Degree in Business, Healthcare Administration, Accountancy or Finance."

I completely agree that a "well-rounded individual with a range of abilities" is a desirable employee indeed, but the person opening the envelope (or email) is simply doing their job when they are told to send the "Thanks, but no thanks" letter to all applicants who don't have the required degree.

Worst of all are students who feel that just having a degree--any degree--will take them somewhere, and while that may be true, all it says to employers is that students can stick out five more years of school, but I guess that is something.

So professors, do your students a favor and have them focus on really learning something in college, whether it is finance, humanities, marketing, or history.

Students, I ask you once again what's your major?


  1. I think this article reveals some significant, and possibly surprising information to a lot of college students. Although many of us have had entry-level experience in retail or service, we do indeed believe the "being well-rounded is the key to employment in this economy" that is constantly recited to us.

    Ultimately, employment comes down to meeting certain requirements and fitting the right role, and no concrete statement can universally capture the exact formula for success. We will all ultimately have to take the first step in bridging the disconnect between education and real world employment by experiencing the difficulties and success of searching for a job.

  2. I think this article truly reveals the social situation that a lot of college graduated students find that it's extremely difficult to find a job, which is highly appropriated to his major and offers a high salary. Because the employers may think that the experiences in a firm could be more valuable than the knowledge which we learned from the college.
    However, in my opinion, the college graduated students also have some advantages which the experienced employees are not equipped. The most obvious one is youth. As we all know, the college graduated students are normally the youngest employees. That means they have more passions and potential in the future. They have much more time to figure out what kind of jobs are mostly fit for them.

  3. A great point is brought up about what is the expectation of what a college student (and eventual graduate) should be. I think that since we decided to go to college "well-roundedness" has been stressed greatly as a way to gain an edge on others with the same qualifications; and this edge was used to get us into college. Now in my case, being well rounded was first removed from the equation since I'm in community college where admissions are open, but now has been reintroduced alongside the transfer process. What does this have to do with employment? Well it seems to me that since we've been told greater achievement is attained through our "well-roundedness" that we (and those guiding us) use it as a blanket rule for all achievement, especially employment.

  4. This article speaks loudly to beginner college students--and how crucial it is to learn skills directly related to your future career, as well as networking yourself during college. This is especially hard for those students who are struggling in the search for the perfect major because it delays their time in college to network, participate in extra curricular activities and most importantly, interning in the field directly related to their major. While these tasks are very important in landing your dream job after college, it's almost a little sad that college is no longer a place to explore and discover yourself and your skills. In my experience, to earn your degree in the "normal" amount of time, the process seems very rushed and stressful. It seems as if you should know your intended major and career before you even start college to successfully make it after college. How am I supposed to develop these hands-on skills for my career during my college years, when I still need to choose my career?

  5. This article shows the social situation that graduated students can not find a job appropriate to their major, since the employee think what students study in college is not practical. A good point is that how student spend their time during their college life. What kind of knowledge professor should teach student? What kind of knowledge students study is practical? Or what kind of knowledge students can be applied in their life. However, this is not mean that students do not need to study "well-rounded" knowledge, which is the foundation of their value of the world. Students need specific knowledge to support our job. Students need specific knowledge to accomplish their final goals.

  6. What this article says is important. Even though people who are well-rounded with a range of abilities are desirable, people are not required to have such skills when they do their job in actual situation. Moreover, when people try to take a wide range of abilities, they cannot concentrate on one thing. Therefore, I think that it is more important to focus on specific kind of major than take a wide range of abilities. It is because job seekers pay attention to not only what students achieved but also what they gained.

  7. Being a second quarter Freshman at a California State University, you seem to find quite a few professors telling you to explore majors and find what is right for you, and although I do agree with the idea that you should attempt to be happy with your career choices, you really need to be aware as quick as possible! If you spend too much time "finding who you are" you loose precious time to gain the skills and requirements needed for the degree, and-or job, you are trying to obtain. As stated in the article above, employers are looking for specific requirements, and need ways to sift through applicants on a regular basis; a great way for them to do that is deny anyone that generalizes their abilities. If you spend 4 years of school taking random courses and end up with a "wide range of abilities" you are not properly prepared for a business's area of demand. I completely agree, that area of focus is desperately needed. And although I wish it could be simpler, that is how life goes. You have to be ready for whatever comes at you and stay strong in your decisions.

  8. I think this article shows us what job seekers are looking for. Job seeker want to focus in a a specific job for what they want in the market. In college, Professors should focus more on the students major rather than trying to well-round them on their skillls. this article points out that professors or the schol shouldn't waste our time trying to well round us and should just teach us what we came there to be. Students need to learn specific knowlegde and it has to be short and simple and right to the point or people would be wasting their time and money.

  9. I am currently majoring in criminal justice, but I have thought about changing my major to biology. Getting a biology degree has a big range in health careers - such as doctors, dentists, and nurses - and especially in biological careers, whether you want to be a lab technician or a biology teacher. The criminal justice major allows you to have a career specifically under criminal justice admin, but there are a variety of careers, from being a sheriff to a crime scene investigator. So how does talking about these majors relate to this article? It's kind of like what Bruce Lee once said: "I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times." Well, the article emphasizes on how "experts" say it's good to have a little variety of skills in every category. The majors give one degree that can open doors to a variety of jobs. So, the bottom line is: it's better to be very skilled on one subject rather than having a little skill on every subject. I used to think that having "a lot" of skills would be necessary to have a job, but now I realize that "a lot" of skills AND the skills they're looking for would boost one's potential to get hired.

  10. I have changed my major three times since I have started my education here at East Bay. Now I am finally happy with my major choice which is Kinesiology with an option in Exercise, Nutrition, and Wellness. I feel like this will lead me to a world of different options which could lead me down into healthcare which is where I really want to go. Students should focus on one degree that can lead them to different careers and have doors open.