Education or Experience – What Do Employers Want More?
It’s becoming increasingly difficult for young professionals to stand out from the thousands of other graduates who have turned their tassels and entered the workforce.
According to a study by Harvard Business School, employers believe that applicants with a college degree are more “job-ready” than those without. Specifically, employers feel that candidates with degrees possess more hard and soft skills than non-degreed candidates. But is a degree the only thing you need to prepare you for the “working world?”
The answer is no. The study showed that employers value real-world experience and credit and community work outside of the classroom setting to be just as valuable as the college degree. Lamark Shaw, director of Career Services at Daemen University, agrees.
“At Daemen, we are trying to teach students to embrace the process instead of hurrying up to graduate,” he said.
Embrace the process
Shaw feels that students tend to rush through classes to get their degree but may be missing out on vital learning opportunities outside the classroom setting.
“Daemen offers many opportunities for students to become entrenched in their communities both on and off campus,” said Shaw. “We do a lot of workshops and seminars like Networking Like a Pro, and our CFE 97 class which preps students for their internships by conducting mock interviews, do’s and don’ts of resume writing, the importance of soft skills etc. to help prepare students for what comes after college.”
Stephen Covey, author of the highly rated book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, is a favorite of Shaw’s. He feels one “habit” in particular – start with a clear destination in mind, is a great learning tactic for students.
“When we can use our imagination to develop a vision of what we want to become, we are then able to use our conscience to decide what values will guide us. It helps to evaluate the meaning behind the end goal which again points to the idea of being part of each day and living outside of the classroom while also attaining your college goals.”
A place to start – and keep going
With more than 450 different sites that partner with Daemen, students have a wide array of internships and volunteer experiences at their disposal.
Kyle Young, executive vice president with the Bonadio Group and a long-standing partner of Daemen, said that experience outside the classroom is crucial to any career no matter the industry.
“In public or private accounting, it’s especially critical to gain real-world experience to see how you can shape your career and play a broader role in a company. When pursuing internships, try to do more than what’s required. Particularly in our industry, there’s so much variety available in tax and audit and this way interns can identify the best fit for personal career goals.”
Young also feels it’s just as important for businesses to engage with colleges to support students needs, “Supporting the communities we live and work in is one of our top priorities, and a huge tenet of our Bonadio Purpose. It’s also something we strive to teach our interns.”
He added, “As a Daemen alumni myself and a Buffalo resident since graduating nearly 20 year ago, it’s great to be able to give back to those at my alma matter. Bonadio has taught me the “& More” philosophy, which extends way past helping our clients and employees.”
Shaw likes Bonadio’s “& More” philosophy, adding that students are the architects of their careers. “There are so many possibilities that await them both inside and outside the classroom.”
Whether an organization, student government or campus activities team, there are many ways to grow outside of the classroom. Learn more at https://www.daemen.edu/student-life
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