Dean’s Desk: Unpredicted Career Paths
On May 6, the Wall Street Journal’s website published “The Job Advice You Wish You Knew How to Give,” in its Work & Family column. It describes the challenges fresh graduates face when finding the right job to launch a career.
One of the key points made by the author is that young graduates can expect to find themselves in unpredicted career paths, for any variety of reasons. The statistics are that while “93% of grads believe they’ll land a job related to their college major, only 60% who graduated in the past 12 months” actually do so. The author cites an expert who argues that graduates “need to build practical skills much earlier than in the past.”
Coincidentally, I recently had lunch with two KSU Trustees, both of whom made their careers as business owners. Chris Pike owns Landscaper’s Select, a wholesale nursery, and Chet Austin grew Tip-Top Poultry into a major processor of chickens before selling the firm a couple of years ago.
At lunch, I ask both gentlemen how they got into their respective businesses. It turns out neither of them intended on entering their industries at the outset of their working careers. In fact, both of them got into their firms by joining friends who needed expertise or financing, or both, just when a budding enterprise required it. They recognized when they were at the right place at the right time and made wise investments of their energies and resources.
In other words, both men created great successes in unpredicted ways, foretelling the paths that the Wall Street Journal is predicting for many of today’s graduates.
As a plug for the College of Professional Education, the author also suggests that job seekers “acquire technical, analytical, and interpersonal skills not taught in college classes.” This applies to people of all ages, including those who are starting and redirecting their careers. A professional certificate program is a fantastic credential for demonstrating competencies in a chosen field. Certificates also compliment undergraduate or graduate degree programs. Pairing professional and academic programs creates solid resumes.