Graduation isn’t your key to a good career (or good life.) It’s more complicated than that. Image Source

A college degree is worthless?!?? Am I crazy? A study blogger suggesting that a college degree isn’t everything and a can of Red Bull probably sounds a bit strange. Forgive me but I am a bit strange. I consider that a good thing.

In fact, worthless is an overstatement of the value of a college degree without what I’m going to talk about. If you spend thousands on a college degree that can’t provide you with a return on investment then it’s worse than worthless. It’s very very costly.

I’m going to be making a case that there is something significantly more important than getting a college degree. A college degree can help you with this but it’s not what will give you a good career. And no… it’s not only about the major you pick. These are factors but they’re not what you are really looking for.

What you really need to be looking for is differentiation.

Do you want to get a list of 24 ways to differentiate yourself to employers? You can access that list for free in our free members only area.

24 Differentiators That Can Make Your College Degree POP To Employers

What Made A College Degree So Valuable

The better your competition looks, the more you’re going to have to stand out. Image Source

In 1965, college degrees were rare. Only a small percentage of the population could enroll in college. An even smaller percentage could graduate from college.

Employers did not hire these college graduates because those college graduates were prepared for their job. That’s what a technical job training is for. A college degree was a more broad approach of training. Its purpose is to separate the wheat from the chaff.

College graduates were a tiny percent of the population. Only the best and brightest could get a college degree. It was a sign that a person was one of only a small number of graduates. They had experience that very few people could compete with. They were different.

Millions and millions of college degrees are given out these days.

College degrees have become a big (and very profitable) business.

Grade inflation is making the apparent skill level of graduates look lower and lower (whether it’s true or not. The perception is changing. That is bad for the average student.)

Have you ever heard someone tell you that a college degree is now a prerequisite for a good job?

That’s exactly my point. A college degree will no longer separate you from the average student. It may offer some advantage (particularly if you have a technical training) but it’s not all you need.

What Is Differentiation

No employer wants to hear about how hard you work. They just want to see it. Image Source

Differentiation is what makes you different.

What makes you different from the millions of other graduates this year?

  • Do you have a technical training? Tons of students do.
  • Do you work exceptionally hard? Well… most students think they do.
  • Do you have a great head of hair? That’s something but really… it doesn’t last forever.

If you want your college degree to be valuable then you need to stand out from the crowd.

A college degree is not differentiation because it’s almost a given. You need to prove yourself with something other than a college degree.

Why would an employer be crazy to give the job to anyone other than you?

Answer that question.

If you can’t immediately answer that questions then check out our free members only section for some ideas:

24 Differentiators That Can Make Your College Degree POP To Employers

If you don’t have a strong answer then you’re going to need to luck out to get a job. Maybe someone will pick you. Or they won’t. Maybe your student loans will eat you alive working minimum wage or maybe you’ll pay them fine because you stumble to the right spot. Not having a good answer is a break even proposition.

If you want to guarantee you’ll have employers begging for you then answer this question well.

It’s called a USP; a unique selling proposition. What makes you unique?

You Don’t Even Need A Logical Answer

The sad truth is that you don’t even need a logical unique selling proposition to get a good job.

I’ve illustrated this with my own experience in the past. This time I thought I’d give some of the readers of this site a chance to explain it. Thanks to all the readers that contributed their stories (please notify me if I’m not telling your story right.):

Reader Story #1

The worst problem you can have is not standing out enough to get noticed. You can look like a fool 9 times to look like a genius once. Image Source

If you’re graduating with an arts degree but want a job in selling pharmaceuticals then you could say:

You’ve got hundreds of business school graduates you can hire and use the same boring tried and true sales strategies that your clients have seen thousands of times. The clients will listen while they’re bored out of their mind. An arts school graduate knows how to sell an image and create value out of nothing.

Dana pulled this off magnificently.

This doesn’t even make much sense. A business student definitely spends more time selling. They probably have more sales experience. They probably know more about the process.

That doesn’t really matter though.

You just need your USP to sound valuable to a single person to make it important. You can say this to ten employers. 9 of them might not understand the argument but the one employer that appreciates it will weigh the argument much more than telling them your GPA.

Having a logical USP is even better though…

Reader Story #2

Stand out. It helps. Image Source

One college graduate created a USP by interning with a company’s biggest competitor. He got an offer from the company he interned with. He asked that company’s competitor if they’d be interested in an interview because he “knows the competition inside and out.” He got a higher offer.

James ended up negotiating for an even higher wage after that.

Reader Story #3

One medical student created a consulting company in college about a niche medical treatment. She knew more about it than anyone in the industry before she even graduated. Despite having no profits (but plenty of revenue,*) she was able to sell the business and have a hugely unique selling proposition on her resume.

*She brought in a ton of money but it was all spent on the business. She didn’t make any money on it until she sold it. The reality is, she made a huge profit off the business from her future available job options. She’s instantly a leader in her field.

A college degree isn’t worth the paper it’s written on if you can’t find a way to differentiate yourself from every other college graduate.

Have you ever noticed that guy that picks his nose in the back of class? When he graduates, he’s going to be showing off his degree to potential employers too. Don’t get categorized with that guy!

Do you want to get a list of 24 ways to differentiate yourself to employers? You can access that list for free in our free members only area.

24 Differentiators That Can Make Your College Degree POP To Employers

A College Degree Is Worthless Without This…

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4 thoughts on “A College Degree Is Worthless Without This…

  • May 22, 2017 at 5:15 pm
    Permalink

    Thanks for sharing my story Aaron!

    You told it perfect.

    Reply
  • May 22, 2017 at 5:14 pm
    Permalink

    I think this also comes down to majors. Some jobs are looking to hire virtually every student out of college. You’re almost guaranteed a job if you pick right.

    Reply
    • May 22, 2017 at 5:24 pm
      Permalink

      Majors are definitely a factor.

      This is one of the challenges I’ve noticed.

      Picking the in-demand degree isn’t easy. In four years, a lot can change. As soon as a major shortage shows up, it’s too late to gain a major benefit from it because everyone is already moving to take advantage of the higher wages.

      Naturally, there are better options like the classic STEM degrees but it’s not a sure thing. You still need to end up getting that job when competing with other graduates. This article is all about how to compete within whichever major you picked.

      This is a great comment. Majors are more important than most people like to admit.

      Reply

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