An overview for some of the pathways to a good career that don’t require a college degree to get started.
Most professionals didn’t know what they wanted to do right away. The majority of those who did go to college are working in a field that is outside of their college major. This doesn’t means that college has no value but the idea that going to college will guarantee success is a false one. Conversely, not attending college does not mean that you are a going to be failure. If you want to pursue a good career but aren’t sure if college is the path for you, there are options.
Questions you might be asking if you are unsure about college.
Help finding a job without a college degree.
A college degree may make your resume more presentable and possibly give you an upper hand on other applicants but it does not guarantee employment. If you don’t know what to do, why not find an entry level position for a job in a field that peaks your interest? You can provide for yourself while you are figuring things out and you may find something you enjoy. Service based industries such as retail, food and construction are always hiring. You may get rejected or you may get hired. If you get rejected ask them what you would need to do in order to make yourself a more appealing applicant. Continue to seek out opportunities in fields that interest you.
Keys to dealing with employment rejection:
Explore career pathways through the skilled trades.
In the not so distant past, it was common for young people to enter into an apprenticeship program as a career pathway. In the simplest terms, apprenticeship means you are learning from someone who has experience in a skilled trade so that you can learn that trade and thereby earn a living doing the same. In most areas the formalized apprenticeships are offered through labor unions for work including electrical, plumbing, automotive, mechanical and construction. Companies in the construction industry that provide services including: property restoration, remodeling, asbestos abatement, landscaping, roofing, painting, HVAC and so forth are eagerly looking for applicants who are trainable. If you can bring the character traits of being honest, hard working and willing to learn you will find that there are opportunities to build an enduring career for yourself.
Find your local community college career center.
There are so many resources out there for people looking for employment. A simple search of “employment resources”, “career assistance” and/or “job opportunities” with your area will pull up options for local help. Your local community college will have resources for community members, even if you are not a student, such as these from Pierce College in Puyallup, Washington:
Learn to succeed by attending a trade school.
What is a trade school? According to The Simple Dollar, “A trade school, also known as a technical or vocational school, is an educational institution that exists to teach skills related to a specific job.” Attending a trade school can provide specific training in a field that often can lead more directly into immediate work opportunities. Trade schools often are less expensive and require less time to complete. There are trade schools for various industries including animal science, business, legal, medical, technology and skilled trades.
Reach out to a temporary employment agency.
If you need to work but aren’t sure what you want to do, applying with a staffing agency is a good way to find short term assignments that allow you to try multiple jobs. Temporary labor is utilized by various industries to fill needs during their busy seasons, seasonal work and to fill needs within their organization. Some staffing companies, such as Staffing Partners in Eugene, Oregon, will even provide assistance with basic skills and training to help prepare you for success with a local company.
Seek out local, county and statewide employment assistance.
There are agencies in your city, county and state that are set up to help you succeed in your employment search. In Washington state Monster.com, a popular job search website, has partnered with state, local and nonprofit agencies to provide training and employment help. This outlet is titled WorkSource offering, “Job seekers access to thousands of jobs and advanced job-search tools to find career opportunities more easily.”
Pursue job skills help from the federal government.
Another option includes programs funded at the federal level such as Job Corps. These programs offer hands-on training in growing industries. While Job Corps targets persons between the ages of 16 and 24, the requirements beyond that are rather broad. Eligibility includes a commitment to improving your future and the need for job skills training to get you started on your career pathway. Programs like these often do not cost the participants anything and can provide those that complete them with skills as well as a clear pathway to gainful employment.
There are many paths to success, intentionally develop yours.
There are many ways to make mistakes. As long as your mistakes do not include violating laws, ethics or human decency, most of these errors will not permanently hinder your life path. You can choose to learn from your own mistakes or you can be wise and learn from the mistakes of others. The important thing is to learn so that your mistakes are not wasted. Similarly, there are many ways to achieve success. The important thing is to try to chart a vision for where you are headed and what you want to be. This is a lifelong pursuit and will evolve as you develop personally as well as professionally. There are so many opportunities out there. The first step is the most important, move forward and keep going.
Thoughts on personal and professional development.
Jon Isaacson, The Intentional Restorer, is a contractor, author, and host of The DYOJO Podcast. The goal of The DYOJO is to help growth-minded restoration professionals shorten their DANG learning curve for personal and professional development. You can watch The DYOJO Podcast on YouTube on Thursdays or listen on your favorite podcast platform.