Joshua, I noticed you help MBA’s who are frustrated with their job search. I’m not at that point yet, but I have dilemma. Although I earned an Executive MBA, I’ve worked in an operations environment for the past ten years. Most of the jobs that require an MBA ask you have 1-2 years experience in accounting/finance/P&L. I don’t have experience in either of those. I am contemplating going back to get a graduate certificate in accounting and also considering the health care industry. However, I’m afraid if I earn a certificate or degree, I still won’t be considered because I don’t have the experience. What would you suggest? Thanks, V.P. Dear V.P., I totally understand this dilemma. Experience or education? It’s a catch 22. I don’t qualify for the industry I would like to work in, so I need an education. After I get an education, I still don’t have the experience…so did I even need the education? I would like to offer a few things to consider when making your decision about this. Let me preface this with a statement from the core of my values, I believe there is no higher pursuit then education. However, I do NOT think education is the only factor in having a successful career. Here’s why. The quantitative parts of our resume, such as years of experience, level of competence in certain skills and the level of our education fall into a category I call “commodity.” As you already know, a commodity has no unique qualities. It is traded at a price the market will bear, no more and no less. Commodity trading is an economic indicator because it has NO surprises. “I can trade candidate 1 with candidate 2 because this one has one more year of education than the other,” is a common thinking pattern for hiring managers. Plugging into this mindset is the surest way to the middle of the resume pile. At the very least, it get’s you a 30 second glance at your resume. At the very best, it get’s you an occasional interview.
October 11, 2010