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  • Mark Olivito

Competing In The Job Market

Updated: Mar 15, 2022

The most practical and often cited reasons for attending college?

To get a better job!

brick by brick, apprenticeship, career success

The key word there is better, which implies better than a job available to those who do NOT have a degree.

So let's talk about the role of the degree to get that job vs experience.

What the degree will do that is most visibly noticed is allow you to get an INTERVIEW. Interviews tend to be a competitive process, employers may screen hundreds of resumes to line up 10 interviews. If the job description MANDATES a degree, then USUALLY those 10 people that interview will all be degree holders. Sometimes exceptions are made, and often "or equivalent experience" is put at the endo of Bachelors degree or equivalent....

So the key area to think about is WHO gets awarded the job out of the 10 people that interview? Lets say they are all degree holders and all relatively early in their careers.

Any guesses?

The one who will get the offer is a combination of the following factors:

  • Interviewed the best. They were ready, compelling, likeable and prepared. In other words, their product (themself) was packaged perfectly.

  • They had something different. Some real world experience applicable to the job or provide reason to believe they can transition to a productive employee quickly.

College graduates are often frustrated when they don't receive the offer and they get some feedback: "The other candidates had more experience."

The age old dilemma:

"How can I actually gain experience if nobody will give me a shot?"
Lesson one:
Get to work quickly.... A J-O-B. Experience will always matter. They want to hear about your jobs, what you learned, what you produced, what you struggled with and overcame, more than your excellence in micro economics or the finance club.

Just assume this "experience" question is going to happen. The WORST thing someone going to college can do is do 4 years of college and NOT work, at all. That's a recipe for struggling to find work, it screams "4 year partygoer!" Get a minimum of 2 full time summer internships, 3 is better. Better yet? Go to a co-op school where 1 year of full time experience (or more) is built in. I had 4, 6 month full time co-ops at the country's larges food manufacturer, and that resulted in a fulltime offer upon graduation.

Co-ops and internships not only provide experience, they provide a built in on the job interview for post graduation prospects. Think about it, what's better for an employer to evaluate your potential, a 2 hour interview, or 60 days of full time employment?

Of course, the reverse is ALSO true, employers often do NOT extend offers to their interns. That sends a message too.

Let's talk about the Brick by Brick Apprentice.

Your doing both.....working near full time while simultaneously getting your on-line education. Lets look 4 years down the road, and assume your successful progressing through your roles at PAVERART and simultaneously getting your degree. What will you have compiled? How about these 5+?

  1. The same degree, completed online.

  2. $20k+ in the bank

  3. No Debt

  4. 4 years at PAVERART, progressing through 6 critical skill areas with a rapidly growing leading small business. Quantifiable results across major business functions. Multiple references.

  5. A digital portfolio and blog documenting every step of the journey, work, education, goal setting and mentorship.

I've been a hiring manger of college grads and non college grads for over 20 years. If the Brick By Brick Apprenticeship graduate comes into

the interview. I've interviewed the "standard, inexperienced college grad with a healthy amount of debt." If that standard candidate was in a group of others AND the candidate with #1-5 from the Brick By Brick Apprenticeship program......guess who MY money is on to get the job, all else being equal?

In the real world, Pedigree (your college degree) does matter, but every year it matters less and less. What's MORE important is what you have achieved, what you have built, and DEMONSTRATED skill, knowledge and results orientation. What Brick by Brick is focused on? Experience and results orientation, and education in the process. That's a powerful combination when competing in the job market.

Note: The above EXAMPLE assumes that at some point the Brick by Brick Apprentice may want to pursue a job opportunity outside of PAVERART. That is the real world, but it's also not out of the equation that PAVERART will grow, create new businesses and have new opportunities for different, higher level jobs where you may wish to lead and continue to grow with us! That is a great outcome and one we expect to be very realistic.


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