In my last post, I stated that blacks would be better off if they spent less time complaining about being victims of white supremacy and more time taking personal initiative to participate more fully in the upwardly mobile American economy. Of course, this applies to all Americans who would like to better their station in life, not just minorities.
Today I would like to discuss some specific ways to accomplish this. For example:
- 30 million workers in the U.S. have abilities to earn 70% more than their current job pays. This applies especially to workers without a four-year college degree. It typically requires a combination of personal initiative, foundational skills and perhaps additional preparation such as an outside course or company sponsored training.
- A revolution in how people – high school students, college-goers, midcareer adults, and others – are prepared for the labor market, has occurred in the last decade. A variety of public and private organizations are providing the leadership in implementing this program.
- Here is a list of 20 specific skills in great demand in today’s workforce.
- Finally, here are some suggestions from Linda Chase, who created the company Able Hire to especially help people with disabilities build rewarding, successful careers.
How to Enter the Business World
If you’re entering the job market for the first time in years — or the first time ever — it can be difficult to know how to make your mark. Our guide offers advice on how to make the most of your job search and land a role that will bring you personal and professional fulfillment.
Getting A Degree
You always hear about those famous, influential business people who took the market by storm despite not having a degree. This can fool you into thinking that college isn’t necessary but remember: they’re famous because they’re rare. The vast majority of successful business people have gone to college and took it seriously.
College isn’t just a chance to learn (although it is that). It’s also a chance to build vital connections. Your network can make or break your ability to succeed, and college is most people’s first chance to start building up that network. Take advantage of professional groups and networking opportunities, and always go the extra mile to foster connections.
As far as what kind of degree you’re interested in, ultimately it comes down to what appeals to you and what you’re good at. It’s always wise to pick a degree that lends itself to both traditional employment and self-employment in order to keep your options wide. For example, studying IT gives you the technical skills companies look for, but also plenty of self-sufficiency. Accounting and technical writing offer similar career outlook flexibility, but these are far from the only options. Look through degree offerings and see what excites you.
Most degrees will require an internship before you graduate, and for good reason. Simply put, your coursework is not enough to prove to companies that you know what you’re doing. After all, many people can pass a class without any of the skills you truly need to succeed in the business world.
However, landing a good internship takes a lot of the same work finding a paying job does, because you’ll likely be competing with other qualified candidates. Do plenty of practice interviews and learn how to sell your strengths — this will serve you well at the collegiate level because many of your peers will not know how to interview well.
The Job Hunt
Once you’ve earned your degree, it’s time to find your post-college job. This is where that network you built in college comes in. Hiring managers love meeting people that come highly recommended by someone they know within the company, so make sure people in your network know you’re searching, and don’t be afraid to ask for an opportunity directly. You’ll have a far easier time getting in the door with an ally at your side.
The business world may take some work to break into, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make your mark. Find your allies, keep focused on your goals, and don’t be afraid to speak up for yourself. The road might not be easy, but it will be worth it.
Conclusion. There are a huge variety of opportunities for all Americans to move up the ladder of economic and social success. Of course, a certain amount of hard work and perseverance will likely be needed. But individual initiative is the primary ingredient for success. Good luck in your endeavor!
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Our nation’s “higher education” institutions uniformly lack a publically accessible reporting process regarding the success of their “matriculants.” Let’s begin with the basics for college undergraduates. Of each Freshman class who were still full-time students 90 days since enrollment, how many had achieved a Bachelor’s degree within 5 years? And, at ten years after enrollment, did the college regularly pursue/report any on-going monitoring/support commitment with each successive Freshman class as a basis for enhancing the prosociality character of their educational community? If there is no transparency about the character of each undergraduate college’s throughput, there would be no way to assess its efficiency. Remember, the availability of student loans currently implies that every University will eventually be captured by Parkinson’s Law (viz. ‘work expands to use the resources available’).
I agree that the federal government student loan program is a huge mess. I don’t mind giving some forgiveness relief to former students but first the system should be reformed to stop the problem.
First of all, prospective students should be strongly warned about the huge debt trap they’re getting into. Avoid expensive schools which don’t provide full scholarships. There are lots of excellent low-cost colleges and universities out there.
Students from low-income families are eligible for Pell grants which should cover most of their official college expenses. Work part-time if necessary to pay for living expenses.