The foundation in American society is a landslide of shifting/failing/(insert word here) education. The existing model isn’t sustainable in the current environment – not because the educators are doing a bad job or that the institutions are necessarily problematic, although those things could be factors. Rather, the issue is a derivative effect of the Internet, globalization, economic collapse, and ultimately failures in leadership due to lack of vision and understanding.
I recently spoke to a group of students at my alma mater, Palm Beach Atlantic University, on the topic of career development. The room comprised mostly junior- and senior-level students so this was a topic of ongoing conversations that seemingly had a lack of answers. I took a poll of the room asking the very simple question: “On a scale 1 to10,how hard do you feel it is to get a job in your desired industry?”
The average student response was 8 out of 10, which comfortably leans toward the difficult-impossible end of the spectrum.
My philosophy and advice, as someone who left the corporate world without a job, was that you have to take a page out of the many famous innovators’ books and create demand for yourself. I followed that question by picking out a few students asking them, “What’s your major?“ Communications. “What have you done to be the best communications person you can be?” I have a degree. The reality is that degrees are static. Degrees do not effectively articulate your ability to execute in an environment or that you can create value and effectively deliver a return on investment.
Creating demand isn’t easy, and it’s not something that is typically taught. Creating demand requires vision, astuteness, and an ability to execute in such a way that people are attracted to your work, so much so that there is an acquisition of some kind. So in the example above, that same communications student could create a video reel of himself on camera then publish it to a YouTube channel, get feedback on social media, write a blog about why he did it and what the content of the video represents, contribute to a publication, and document the results. Then he can analyze the results and determine if the content he produced was something people wanted to watch and build a case study around his learnings. Now we have something tangible that lives outside of a static piece of paper. Taking action in this manner will likely attract prospective employers and could ultimately result in an acquisition of the student.
Likewise, if that same communications student knew who he wanted to work for, he could back into that company’s value chain by creating value with the very same experiment mentioned above. In that light, the propensity for a job acquisition would be significantly higher than any of his peers with just a degree.
Taking these things into account, it’s apparent that entrepreneurial thinking is not inherent. Furthermore, connecting the dots from awareness to acquisition is not innate. There are many variables, some unforeseen, that contribute to creating demand but the laws of attraction remain the same.
Lean in and explore your aptitude, test the impossible, and create demand in an environment that seemingly lacks the understanding of how to do so. Now you have a leg up on the competition so take strategic action in order to achieve your desired outcome.