Education can hold a key role not only finding a job, but also landing one that offers both financial and intrinsic rewards. Your level of education can affect both the breadth and depth of jobs available to you. You typically can apply for a broader range of jobs with more education, and the jobs you can get are usually yield greater pay and chances for upward mobility.
One of the basic advantages of education is that it protects against unemployment. In essence, the higher your level of education, the more likely you are to find work. This is proven in the 2012 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' "Education Pays" report. The unemployment rate of high school dropouts in 2012 was 12.4 percent. This was approximately 49 percent higher than the rate among people with a diploma, and nearly 64 percent higher than the rate for bachelor's degree holders.
Higher education also provides greater protection against job loss and greater ability to find new work during slow economic periods. A 2012 report from Georgetown University's Center on Education found that college grads were significantly less likely to lose jobs and much more likely to find new work from 2007 to 2010, the period dubbed the Great Recession. The report showed that from 2007 to 2012, people with a diploma or less experienced a minus-10 percent net job change. Those with a bachelor's degree saw a 5 percent positive change.
While the bureau data showed higher overall levels of employment as education rises, technical or career-focused education can also affect career options. Two-year technical, trade or community colleges grew significantly in the early 21st century, especially during the recession. Students have found employment options with two years or less of training in fields such as auto and diesel, welding, horticulture, culinary, mortuary science, dental hygiene, early childhood education and viticulture.
Education also affects your ability to gain promotions and change careers. In some cases, workers in semi-skilled or entry-level careers might only have a diploma or associate degree. To move into management, a bachelor's degree may be necessary. Additionally, workers who want to find a career in an area they have passion for may find that a return to school or additional certifications are necessary. Someone moving into a career in sales may need to take college courses or certification programs in sales.
The skills acquired during a college degree program help students obtain jobs and perform well in them. For many students, college is a chance to experience different social settings and a diverse range of people. Learning to develop relationships with peers is important in a career. Additionally, students, develop one-on-one, small group and large group communication skills.learn how adjust to different social settings and gain better communications skills. They also develop strong critical thinking skills. According to a December 2012 Forbes.com article, critical thinking and active listening skills are among the skills most likely to help someone get a job.
Students can take advantage of resources available at their schools near the end of a degree program, as well. Instructors are often happy to write letters of recommendations and refer students to contacts for employment. This is especially true when students have proven themselves to have talent and character in and out of the classroom. Along with networking opportunities, students can use their career services office to get resume, cover letter and interview help. Employers also commonly submit jobs through school career offices for posting to graduates.
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- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Education Pays...
- Georgetown University's Center on Education: The College Advantage: Weathering the Economic Storm
- Bloomberg Businessweek: Matching Education to Jobs
- U.S. News & World Report Education: Finding the Value in a College Degree
- Forbes.com: The 4 Job Skills Most Likely To Land You a Great Job
- Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images