Education or Experience: Find Out What Will Help You Land Your Dream Job

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Have you ever wondered what matters more: education or experience? Most of us are seeking new employment opportunities and finding ways to market ourselves. The job market is very competitive, and people are striving to get the best education and experience. Job seekers are competing to land the perfect job. What catches the hiring manager’s eye is the question?

As a job searcher, we need to enhance every skill we have ever used to look for better opportunities. The battle that has been age old is what should be considered more important, skills or experience. If experience, what kind of experience is valuable. A college degree gives you credibility especially if it's a reputable college. But can skills take place of experience?  Can experience substitute formal education?

Most of us would agree that hiring managers usually place emphasis on formal work experience. Although the ideal situation is to have work experience and a degree, especially doing that at the same time shows how hardworking you are. Furthermore, it shows motivation and resilience.

On the other hand, going through a college degree program gives a person in-depth knowledge in a field. Most people will agree that a degree is also considered a proof of intelligence and hard work.

In addition, a college degree does not end at that, the relationships built and the soft skills acquired add to the experience. Education sets the pace, and the knowledge would accompany one into the workplace. On the other hand, experience revolves around a lot of trial and error, but formal education can add the theory to it where perhaps a possibility of an error is much reduced.

Determining whether one is better than the other is a tricky matter. Another way to look to at it is how much you really gain from the actual experience whether that is formal work or a college degree. It all comes down to the individual and how much they have acquired.

Everyone picks up different things around them. The differences in approach and the overall living/mental and personal condition of a person really contribute to what you pick up. The personal struggles of every individual are different, some examples of such hindrances include language issues or learning disorders. In addition, mental and health issues are often ignored. All this indicates that everything combined creates different experiences for different individuals.

There are ways to take away more from each life experience. It boils down to how much one really strives to gain experience. This applies to both students or professionals. Between degree and experience, it should not be an either-or situation. To stand out from the crowd, what can people do to gain more experience and add value.

 

Here are the things that one can do to gain more experience at work, at school or in any walk of life:

 

  1. Ask questions: Be curious about different skills and ask people around you about them, think about how you add value. Think ahead about your professional life and what other opportunities there might be.

  2. Ask for feedback: Whatever you do, ask for feedback from coworkers, classmates, professors, bosses. This also helps you stand out from others, and while giving feedback you can also develop a relationship with the people giving it.

  3. Volunteer to help: Look around and offer to help someone with their tasks, it might sound like more work but it's also an ideal opportunity to learn.

  4. Build relationships: Talk to people and ask questions. Learn about different people and not only about the professional aspect but also different cultures, cuisines etc.

  5. Ditch your comfort zone: Only doing things that you are afraid of or have never tried will lead to enriching experiences.

  6. Challenge yourself: Focus on contributing and taking up challenges (sensibly) push yourself a little each day. If you have no knowledge about something, try to learn that since it enriches your thinking abilities. Push your boundaries a little each day.

  7. Learn from others: Watch people who are successful in your field of work, ask questions and be curious. Take initiative to talk to someone. Most people like it when another person shows interest in them. Most importantly, learn from other’s mistakes.

  8. Make a portfolio: Keep track of your work, and compile what you are proud of the most to show potential employers. Set goals to enrich your portfolio.

  9. Find a mentor: Learn from someone who is an expert. You would be surprised how many people are willing to help and share.

  10. Take risks: Wrong decisions lead to right decisions, do not be afraid. Be wise at the same time about the risks and its impact.

  11. Reflect: Focus what you have learned and how to take that skill further, do not forget to thank the people that helped you and gave you feedback.

  12. Believe in yourself: You need to have a vision, learn new things and strive to prove yourself. Also, believe that you can teach others your skills, this helps to add confidence.

At the end of the day, it's all about how you add value to yourself. It is what you store in your mind as references matters. Eventually, with time these references become intuitive. In addition, invest in developing your personality. Obviously, this does not just end here. The value added needs to be communicated through interviews and resumes. The enriching experiences also help communicate the self-value with confidence. If you are convinced that you can add value to a company backed up with examples, the hiring manager will be too!