Attention Millennials: Your Degree is No Longer Enough

I remember sitting there in his office. It didn’t make sense.

There I was, applying for a job as an anatomy professor in a doctoral program. But there was one major problem.

I was the least qualified applicant on paper. I had a master’s degree (I needed a doctorate), and I never took anatomy.

He didn’t understand why I was applying for the job. The meeting started with his arms folded and a skeptical look on his face. He wanted to know why I was there.

But I had something different, and I knew it would make me stand out.

The Truth About Your Degree

In a 2014 study done by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, it was found that 27% of college graduates work in a field related to their major.

The average cost of attending a private four-year college is $34,740 per year. For public universities, the cost is $9,970 for in-state and $25,620 for out-of-state students.

That’s a lot of money to spend to not work in your field. 

The Truth About Your Calling

We were all created with a purpose. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Our lives are a collection of experiences – from birth to where you are now and beyond. If you attended university and left with a degree, you have that degree for a reason.

There was something about your experiences that lead you there. And often, your degree is an indication of your calling.

That doesn’t mean that if you studied education, you have to be a teacher. But there are experiences you had while pursuing that degree that can lead to your calling.

The Truth About Where Many People End Up

When I was doing my Master’s degree, I had a specific purpose. I wanted to go on for a Ph.D. and then become a university professor.

But things changed when I realized that I hated research. I didn’t want to subject myself to the amount of research needed to get there. All I wanted to do was teach. And I knew that I’d be committing myself to a life of research.

What did I do? I gave up on my dream of becoming a university professor. I concluded that it wasn’t for me.

This is where so many of us end up – we give up on our dreams. We look at our current circumstances and what it would take to get us to where we want to go. We realize it’s much easier and more comfortable to settle.

Or we apply for that job and don’t get it because we aren’t “qualified” on paper. If I had applied for a university professor’s job after my Master’s, I wouldn’t have gotten it, regardless of my ability.

So, we settle for what we can get. In my case, it was teaching at a high school. In your case, it may be where you are now.

But the reality is – that can change. Especially today! There are practical things you can do to show your expertise. And you can do it in a way that makes you stand out in a pool of applicants.

And if you’re a millennial growing up in today’s society, you are already familiar with what it takes.

You see it every day, but you may not have caught on to how it all comes together. In the rest of this article, it’ll become clear.

The Beauty of The Internet

When I was in high school in the 90s, things were quite different than they are today.

If I wanted to research a specific topic, I’d go to the library. There were computers there that could tell me where to find the right books.

Then I’d go to those books, borrow them, or make copies of specific pages. Finding information was quite the task.

Today, things are different. All the information you will ever need might be in the palm of your hand right now as your reading this.

The technological advancements in recent decades have made access to information easy.

Unfortunately, we take this for granted. I want you to say this next line out loud:

THIS ENDS NOW!

Step 1: Sharpen Your Skills

Anything you need to learn is available online, often for free.

Do you want to learn to play the piano? Go to YouTube and search for it. You’ll find tons of lessons.

Are you struggling to put together a business plan? Google can be your friend.

Can’t figure out how to do something on the job? There’s a blog for that.

Much of the knowledge we need to sharpen our skills are available within minutes of searching.

Step 2: Show Your Growing Expertise

Many of us are already doing step 1. We know that the internet is an excellent resource for finding information. We use this information regularly.

But we haven’t transitioned to being a source of that information. It’s easier to show your growing expertise than ever before.

Start creating YouTube videos related to the job you want to have in the future.

Create a blog and put content out there. You may not have all the answers, but you have a lot of them.

So create your platform online where you can serve others in the field you want to serve.

You don’t have to wait for the job to start doing the work. Start doing it today.

The resume is dead. Replace it with a living, breathing online platform that provides value.

If you need help getting started with this, check out my free training here.

Step 3: Use Social Media to Your Advantage

Yes, I know – you love watching those awesome inspirational pics on Instagram. Those YouTube videos are hilarious. TikTok is entertaining.

But the reality is that most of us use these platforms in a way that wastes time.

Here’s a great thing. These platforms are second nature to you. Here’s the even greater thing. The older generation struggles to understand these platforms.

Be the young one that demonstrates how to use these platforms well.

Update your social profiles to reflect the person you are becoming. Do you want to work in the non-profit sector?

Update your profile bios to “Passionate about providing value to the non-profit sector”. It doesn’t have to be precisely that, but you get the point.

Then, share content related to where you’re going on your profile in a fun and engaging way.

Get to the point where people see you as an interesting person who is passionate about a specific topic.

And leverage your social media profiles to grow your blog or another platform.

Step 4: Leverage Your Platform to Land Your Dream Job

Now you don’t only have a degree. You have a platform. You have demonstrated your growing expertise.

When someone Googles your name, they find a wealth of resources related to your passion.

Apply for the job and highlight what you’ve built. You will be the only applicant who has gone above and beyond in this way.

You will be different, and your prospective employer will love this.

Qualified applicants are often turned down because they lack the experience.

I say don’t wait for the experience. Instead, create the experience. 

How the Story Ended

As I sat there in his office, I asked my prepared question:

“Can I show you something I’ve been working on?”

“Sure,” was his response.

We went to his computer, and I pulled up my blog. It was a biology blog I had been working on over the previous year.

On the blog, I posted all kinds of interactive videos I created. The videos covered advanced topics like human physiology and neurobiology.

The YouTube channel had amassed over 30,000 subscribers at that point. Over 13,000 people were using my blog every month.

With an amazed look, he turned, pointed at me and then back at the screen.

“You did this?” he asked?

“Yes, I did,” I responded.

That’s when everything changed. He promised that I would get an interview and took me to meet everyone on the committee.

He introduced me as someone interviewing for the job that made an amazing website. I felt like he was a proud parent bragging about his son.

To make a long story short, I became Professor Leslie Samuel.

You can stand out too if you follow the steps I covered in this article.

Remember, your degree is not enough.