5 Things to Consider When Furthering Your Education in a Job Search
Next Thursday, I will receive my MBA. Since graduating with dual majors many years ago, I had planned to go back to school. I thought about law school and business school. But then life got in the way. I had a comfortable job with good benefits, and a very generous vacation time. I also got married and had two wonderful children. I did not think I could fit school into my life, and I did not want to take time away from my children. But when my younger was just a year in a half, I got laid off from my job after 12 years.
After looking for work for a few months, I found the job market to be very difficult, and all the jobs I pursued required a master’s degree. Two months before my last day of work, I enrolled into a local MBA program. I could have taken classes over the years and received tuition reimbursement, but now, when I was being laid off, I finally enrolled in graduate class.
Three years later, and after being underemployed for almost two of those years, I will finally receive my degree, and be able to add the letters, MBA after my name on LinkedIn. Was it worth it? Am I receiving offers of advanced pay and better job offers? The answer is complicated. Pursuing my degree allowed me to intern in a new field that I thoroughly enjoy, and finally land a full time job in this field.
My current position is in a non-profit, so my pay is much lower than my previous pay from the full time job I had three years ago, but I finally enjoy and look forward to going to work on Monday, and finally am ready to thank my former employer for laying me off. I do believe that my degree along with a couple more years of experience in my new field will pay off.
Here are 5 things you should consider when furthering your education in a job search:
- Affordability – There are a lot of options, from public, private and profit colleges. The difference in each is price. A well known school may help you land your first position, but after that, your accomplishments will determine your future, not the name of your school. I have met a number of MBA grads from top universities who have been looking for work for 6 months or more.
- Look for real world experience – Companies are looking more at experience and training than academics. Programs that offer internships or volunteer positions will be more valuable in helping you land your next job, than purely academic programs.
- Will more education pay off – Education is an investment. Be sure it will pay off. Racking up student loans only to find yourself in an even longer job search, with student loans to boot, will not improve your situation. Be sure to consider the return on investment. Will employers be more willing to hire you with an advanced degree? Will you be able to demand more pay? Does this field have a bright outlook? Be sure to do your homework.
- Goals – Consider what your goals are? Are you hoping to receive better job offers with an advanced degree? Do the positions you are pursuing require an advanced degree? What you hope to achieve?
- Practicality – After considering the costs, return on investments and your goals, the decision about going to school really comes down to whether or not it is practical. Even if you have the money, you need to consider if you have the time. Are you at the point in your life where you can dedicate the time and effort to continuing education?
While I just completed my MBA, I do not have high student loan payments, as I choice a reasonably priced state school. I also researched positions in the field I was pursing, and found that a master’s degree was required for entry level positions. Finally, I found a way to fit my education requirements into my life and balance school, family and work. I have talked to many job seekers who did not take these steps, resulting in high student loan payments, and no job offers.