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Ask an Expert: Will My Degree Get Me a Job?

Ask an Expert: Will My Degree Get Me a Job?

Many college students ask "how do you plan academics around a career?"

By Peter Vogt, Monster Career Coach

June 02, 2009

Will a business degree get me a job? And if so, what types of business degrees should I look into?

Answer:

No degree will get you a job all by itself. It will most certainly HELP you get a job; it just won’t GUARANTEE you a job.

If you’re already in college — or you soon will be — this is a question you should to bring to a career counselor at your school’s career center. You’ve got a lot of exploring to do if you want to make an informed decision. You need to see which majors are offered at your school, learn more about what each of them entails, and get a better sense of the types of jobs each of them might lead to.

Whatever major you ultimately choose, definitely supplement it with hands-on experience – internships, co-ops, part-time jobs, volunteering. The No. 1 mistake college students make is leaving school with little or, worse, no experience.

I am currently pursuing a BS in Information Technology from the University of Phoenix Online. Will I be given the same opportunities with an online degree as with an on- campus degree?

Answer:

The question you raise is an important one. Employers reactions will probably be mixed. Some won’t notice that you have an online degree, some will notice but won’t care, and some will view it negatively. It’s the latter group that you need to be most concerned about. Be prepared to defend your online degree and illustrate its strengths and what you got out of it. Some employers simply don’t understand what today’s online learning is all about.

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Generally speaking, it seems employers are more likely to react positively (or at least neutrally) to your having an online degree if you already have another degree from a “regular,” bricks-and-mortar institution. That is, if you’ve worked in the “real world” for a while — after having gone to college — and you then decide to get an ADDITIONAL degree via distance education, then that’s okay in employers’ eyes.

Some employers might be more worried about someone whose ONLY college experience was/is online.

If I take five classes each quarter, I will graduate in the spring (along with hundreds of other students). If I take three or four classes, I can graduate at the end of fall quarter. Ignoring the obvious difference in terms of tuition, is it better to graduate with a pool of other new grads or to go into the market at a time when most students are still in school?

Answer:

The time of year when you graduate isn’t that big of a deal. College students and others with an academic connection tend to place much more emphasis on the fall and spring “seasons” than the business world does. No matter when you graduate, jobs will be available and you’ll be competing with others for those jobs.

Get more advice from career expert, Peter Vogt.

While you could save yourself money by taking more classes each quarter, the risk is that you’ll take so many classes at once that you’ll overextend yourself — and perhaps do worse in them (from a grade standpoint) than you would have otherwise.

Also, keep in mind that you should get some experience before you leave school – an internship, a co-op, a job, or even volunteering. So you may want to take fewer classes in order to build the real-world experience that is critical in today’s job market.


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