For a Job, Choose Training-Education Carefully

In a previous post I emphasized the importance for seeking out specialized training as part of an effort to get a new job. In that post I mentioned a related need to look for training that prepared for an actual job, meaning one that really exists. In this post I want to focus on that element.

The Disconnect Between Education and Jobs

For many years I have been perplexed about the disconnect between educational opportunities and jobs that really exist in the marketplace. Sometimes there seems to be little relationship between the two and public awareness of this reality seems minimal.

Just the other day I was made aware of this once again when a friend related to me how her daughter had just graduated from college and found there was no employment opportunity in that particular field without an advanced degree that was not readily available.

This kind of experience is not unusual. Furthermore, it is a serious financial problem for many people. With the cost of education being what it is now, students commonly graduate with excessive debt and need a good paying job to help them pay their student loans. It is not a good time to discover that you need re-training in order to get employment.

Education-Job Relevance Not a New Issue

This sort of experience is not new. One example I have shared before comes from my friendship with two students a few years ago who graduated from a college with degrees in computer science. They were at the top of their class but couldn't get jobs because the programming languages they learned were not the ones needed in the marketplace.

The reason for this problem was apparent. The classes offered in the program reflected more the background and experience of the professors than the needs of the business world.

It is a serious mistake to take any course of study for granted as a pathway to a job. It is equally a mistake to take the representations of any educational institution as to the the job opportunities to be expected for their graduates.

Make Sure Your Training Is Job Relevant

Before undertaking any educational program which you expect to prepare you for a job, there are two basic sources to check out. Do not depend on third party sources, not even independent career counselors, although they may be helpful.

First, interview some people who are doing the work you want to do. Ask them about their training and how they got their jobs. Be as specific as possible.

Second, and most important of the two, contact several top employers and ask them what they expect in the people they hire. Find out what is usually lacking in candidates they turn down. Ask about other qualifications they look for in addition to formal training.

Choosing the Right Education

To make your educational choices relevant to your career needs, the key is to accept your personal responsibility to check out the facts and to think carefully about the best sources to rely on. And don't neglect the obvious: the time to do this is before signing up for any training!


  1. James-

    You’ve developed a great site. sir. I’m loving it. And your statement about the disconnect between our higher education and jobs is very much true. College is nothing more than a survey of your job-path these days. A really expensive survey that cannot be justified in terms of the price tag.

    We need to fix this issue pronto because the colleges aren’t preparing kids. We need to overhaul how colleges work. We need to transform curriculum’s into hands on doing versus heavy learning.

    College students would benefit more if they walked into their classes every day knowing they were going to work with the current tools of their trade instead of reading about how the career is laid out. Colleges are not “training”. By the time a kid graduates the field has advanced light years beyond the education he or she obtained.

    I caught onto this and started learning the tools my communications trade (I was a Mass Comm major) in my own time away from school. I think that Emerson or one of the classic American writers said it best when he penned, “To do the thing is to have the power.”

    With that said, college kids need more real life doing.

  2. Thanks for commenting, Clay.

    Everything you say makes lots of sense. Unfortunately it is not only higher education, but our total education system from top to bottom that has become out of touch with the real needs of students. We used to lead the world but now in all the basic skills including such essentials as reading, writing, and math we are mediocre at best.

    Hopefully we will see a turn around in the near future. It is great to hear more and more people recognizing the need and interested in seeing a change. Again, thanks for sharing.

    Good Success
    James Salmons

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