Anyone looking to find their first job today or anyone trying to re-enter the workforce becomes immediately aware how differently 21st century employers view job candidates. This can only be described as a competitive environment. And, for those persons with jobs, there is new pressure to perform at higher standards. For those workers looking to advance, experience alone is simply not enough.
The delicate balance between experience and education has never been more important to workers and their employers. There is so much supply that experience and education no longer assure candidates that they are the most qualified applicant or the best candidate for advancement. Employers want more and demand more of their employees than ever before.
If you have years of experience, employers want to see initiative and know that employees are taking self-improvement courses or gaining knowledge outside the workplace. If you have a college or university degree, employers want to know what experience you have in the profession, with technology and what leadership training you have.
The private and public sector have come to realize that the whole package is what counts. Gone are the days of the last century when employers hired college graduates and spent months and years training them to perform in a closed corporate culture where workers stayed for their entire career. For the most part, today’s workers can expect to work many jobs for many different companies. The key is to get in the door and be able to perform immediately.
When Education and Experience Are Not Enough
So, what is it that today’s employers want to see? What is so different about today’s employers and their cultures from the previous generation?
Honestly, everything is different. The key words for today are technology, collaboration and open innovation. The closed corporate cultures of yesterday are now open cultures where collaboration serves as the means to bring new products and services to market in the quickest way possible at the best possible price.
To succeed in the global marketplace, collaboration is the key. Corporate cultures must have a collaborative disposition from the top-down and from the inside-out. This takes new-age thinking, new-age training and new-age leadership skills.
Businesses look more like teams than ever before. To win in the global marketplace, it takes a concerted effort that usually embodies other external providers from other industries and workers in very different settings. There is not a lot of willingness to hold new worker’s hands and a definite intolerance for workers who cannot adjust from a closed environment to an open environment, internally or externally.
Recognition of this is seen in the way colleges and universities are preparing students for the workplace. Internships are in. Work-study programs are in. Cooperative work placements are in. And, they all provide a good deal of workplace insight as well as educational support.
The Next Level
But, it is the next level that counts. The next level is where currently employed persons and new candidates take the extra measures to be the most desirable, the most credentialed worker.
The next level is what separates the employed form the unemployed. It is this level that separates one candidate for advancement from another.
David Karp, the founder of Tumblr, is the world’s newest billionaire. He has a high school diploma. Mark Zuckenberg of Facebook and Bill Gates of Microsoft never graduated college. Education is not enough. Experience is not enough.
A commitment to a career must be ongoing. Successful careers are marked by persons who took the extra measures, received the extra experiences and the extra education and then continued to approach their career with the latest technology. They wanted an edge and they found it. How will you find your edge?