Career Exploration – How Joining a Professional Association Can Advance Your Career

Every generation believes that they are unique, like no generation that ever existed before. Millennials may be the first generation that is truly different. Unfortunately, many are finding that their education and digital skills have not prepared them for a career.

Education has traditionally followed two paths.

  • Trade schools: Students are prepared for a specific job, be it auto repair, IT, graphic design or electrician. These students are somewhat like the modern version of an apprentice, who would spend years learning a trade. Medical school or law school could be considered elite trade schools.
  • Universities: They were originally focused on teaching logical thinking and intelligent debate. Students were taught subjects such as Latin and Greek that did not have any career application for most students. Friendships made at universities would be very important in later years. The purpose of universities was typically not to prepare students for a specific career.

Many of today’s students have been seriously shortchanged. Their education did not focus on either critical thinking or career training. Many students choose majors that are interesting, but unlikely to lead to an actual job. All they have to show for it is student loans.

Getting a job becomes a very frustrating endeavor.

  • The skills gap: Employers complain that too many applicants just don’t have the necessary skills for the job. Over 80% of hiring managers report that it is somewhat difficult to find someone with the required skills, even for an entry level job.
  • The skills perception gap: Students graduate with an unrealistic opinion of their skills that is not shared by prospective employers. Even when they recognize that many of their peers are lacking in skills, 95% don’t believe that this also applies to them.

One problem that these graduates face is that they have no genuine knowledge of what someone working in a particular career actually does. Career Exploration with people who have practical knowledge is invaluable. Finding a mentor could be an incredible career boost.

This is very unlikely to happen on social media, but could happen by joining a professional association. You will meet intelligent professionals who spend their working lives in the industry. You will hear discussions of ideas and opinions that will dramatically broaden your knowledge base. When building a career, knowing the right people matters. People help each other out. It may be old-school, but it works. To learn more, visit Cue Career.