APS TALKBACK RESPONSE- “What obstacles do you face when trying to obtain employment?” Part 2
For those of you who may think a lack of formal education is a set back, there’s hope! A certification may serve better than a formal college degree. Look into work keys or a technical college degree. There have been quite a few times that we (APS) have been told that it is hard to find jobs that match technical skills with college education. We believe this to be true. I mean think about it, just about everyone knows someone who has attended a 4-year institution only to end up in an industrial or retail job.
These facts raise the question of whether or not a degree from a 4-year institution worth the investment? We have been told that after high school this is the next on the list if we want to tale the next step toward success only to find that employers are turning people away under the premise that they are “over-qualified”, but when they try to get into the field they received formal education for they are deemed “under-qualified” due to lack of experience. This is a classic case of “damned if you do, damned if you don’t.”
Many times in these cases salary is an issue. Most people want to be compensated based on the level of formal knowledge they may feel like they have in the field after making the investment in an college education. The salary request may be too high in the eyes of the employer because they, like the candidate, are making an investment as well. Each person on an employers payroll is there to produce a product which should bring some form of return to the company. Some employers are skeptical of graduates because they aren’t sure if their formal knowledge will produce the same product as another candidates applied knowledge.
The difference between the two is the classic case of “book smarts” vs “acumen” or “experience knowledge”. It even comes down to the skepticism that comes with being sure that a graduate fresh out of college is sure that the career they have chosen “for now” is what they want to do for the rest of their lives. It is the job of the employer to think long-term. Therefore, short-term employees could cause a conflict. Gaining experience in a field is tough especially when an employer is not willing to give you a shot without experience; the name of the game is internship. This may be exactly what it takes to get your foot in the door.
Let’s say this is the case; a solution may be to start your own business. That way you will be able to generate the salary you want and live what you think your terms should be. Before doing this I will offer some advice from my experience. In business your result is based on your performance. Therefore, it is a matter of applied knowledge + effort= outcome.
I will be frank from an employer’s standpoint Age is a double-edged sword when it comes deciding whether or not to hire someone. The benefits of being at the older end of the spectrum are maturity and experience. This makes the employer more confident because they know they don’t have to make sure that person is on task. When you take micro-managing out of the equation, there is more room to grow and build a company. Pair age and good work history and you have an ideal candidate. One that you can count on an deliver results according to your expectations.
One setback to age is longevity. Depending on the position, some employers are looking for candidates that fit into their long term vision, at times that may be looking to identify the person who will eventually take the reins one day. in our society we have grown accustomed to people over the age of 55 to being planning for retirement, but with the retirement age rising it has made it harder for people applying for entry level positions to rise up the “ladder”. Which causes few entry and middle management positions to open up because senior management just won’t retire.
Gaps in employment may also be a difficult barrier to overcome. It’s tough to get back in the workforce because you’ve been out for so long. One way to counter this is to stay active and on top of things. Keep your resume sharp and up to date. Volunteering will demonstrate consistent background of being productive. When the opportunity arises to get back in the market you will be able to showcase these things as long as you are documenting your experience on your resume. When getting back in the market, remain humble because you may have to work your way back up the corporate ladder. Just remember everything is a process and best way to move up is to improve your work ethic and demonstrate why are valuable rather than expect it.