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Academic Studies: Here’s How to Start Your Career Right

Author: Elazar Pinkovich
The relationship between academic education and wages and how it should be strengthened.

The academic year begins with great fanfare and hundreds of thousands of students head to various universities and colleges throughout the country, most of them undergraduate students.

These students will all be knocking on the doors of the employment market in the coming years, with a clear expectation – to improve their employment and economic status as a result of their studies. Is this a realistic expectation?

Let’s let reality do the talking: 36% of academics say that in retrospect they would have chosen another profession and 11% of them would have given up their academic studies in favor of diploma studies or vocational training. The conclusion: Before choosing what to study, it is worthwhile to think and examine how to improve the chances of integration into the labor market upon completion of your degree.

Is college education worth more money at the end of the month?

Yes and no.

The Central Bureau of Statistics has published many wage studies over the years, all of which have a clear answer: – There is a clear correlation between a person’s education and his salary, and the higher his education, the greater his chances of earning a higher salary and the greater his chances of being employed.

But, and this is a significant grief, these gaps are not immediate. They do not manifest themselves immediately upon graduation. They take shape throughout the employee’s career.

Is the answer uniform for graduates of all professions?

Of course not. In professions for which there is greater demand in the labor market, the level of wages is already higher at the point of entry to them. This wage level is significantly higher than the wage level in other professions. Thus, for example, a beginner programmer earns more than a social worker with several years of experience in the profession. Of course, salary level is not everything, and the choice of occupation should not be based solely on it. Also economically. When choosing an occupation, it is important to take into account the tendencies towards humane or real professions, the work hours required in the field of occupation (alongside family aspirations), the person’s pleasure factors and interests, and his dominant skills. If you chose a profession only because the salary level is high, but after a few years you burned out and left its workforce – there are economic consequences.

What can be done to improve the chances of integration into the labor market upon completion of the degree?

  1. Gain practical experience as early as possible: The promises of the various institutions to “make a school for the labor market”, prepare you for practical work and more are only successful recruitment slogans, but in the test of reality – practical experience is the primary factor influencing considerations of hiring. Advance the acquisition of experience to the days of the degree itself, whether in work as close as possible to the desired field of occupation, or in parallel volunteer activity or in student work for potential future employers.
  2. A long journey begins with a small step: a career is a long journey (about 40 years of employment) and in order to reach the desired destinations it is important to plan the journey in advance. Invest time and thought in choosing the jobs you are applying to, check which employers you aspire to reach and what knowledge and skills are required and which you have not yet acquired.
  3. Compromise is not a concession but a strategic step: the aspiration to get the dream job with the dream employer is important, and alongside it it is important to know how to compromise in order to take the first steps in the job market. Now that you have chosen a long-term path for yourself, determine the principles that are important to you, and make compromises in terms of salary, job characteristics and type of employer in order to enter the labor market. Remember that it’s easier to replace an existing job with another than it is to find one when you’re not working.
  4. Don’t look at the pitcher but at what’s in it: Sometimes the position of “account manager” may be empty of real content, while the position of “customer coordinator” may have the job characteristics you need in order to advance. Choose the jobs according to the characteristics of the job and the required skills and not according to the degree given to them.
  5. “You are first ya kaza”: The aspiration to lead, to lead, to manage is worthy and welcome, but the way to the top of the pyramid passes through the collection of “co-pilot” roles. Don’t rush to take on roles before you’ve even gained the experience and skills to succeed in them! Choose roles and managers that you can grow and learn with.
  6. Connections are not protection: there is no person without connections. Family, social or just a chance acquaintance. In an era when “friend brings friend” is one of the most central and significant recruitment tools for organizations (allowing both the organization and the candidate to know more about each other), strengthen connections and acquaintances, meet friends from the past, show up to recycling parties (even if you are sure that everyone there has done better than you – they are the ones who will help you succeed) and use the human tendency to help others. Today you are helped and tomorrow you will be of help.
  7. What is it for the sake of the name “New Media”? We live in a world where everything is visible to the world. Between a tweet and a status and a photo to musing, we don’t need to come to an interview for a long time in order for the employer to have a first impression about us. It’s a good idea to maintain accounts in the virtual world. Make sure these accounts reflect you as you’d like to be perceived “out there.” Participate in professional groups, especially on LinkedIn, where you can both learn and express yourself, making sure that your “virtual world” serves your real life. You should also check what brings up a Google search when typing your name – no doubt the interviewer will check it.
  8. “The world is a stage and we are all actors” (Shakespeare): When we are engaged in job search – every moment is a potential interview and we are all marketers. Walking to the grocery store, working out at the gym, taking a walk on the beach, and a family event – all of which we may meet people who will help us find our next job. Be proud of the fact that you are a job seeker, share information with those who meet you, present yourself in a short and eloquent manner and take advantage of every opportunity and every meeting for self-marketing.

Good luck.

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