Will this Course Get me a Job?

comments by John Mason Principal ACS and author of 140 books.

It is a common belief that studying a particular course leads to a particular career. All evidence however would suggest there is on the whole, little correlation between what you study and where you work. There is no doubt that good quality education does lead to improved employment opportunities.

Some colleges and schools do quote success rates and promise all types of things about the sort of job you might get upon completing a course.
It would be lovely if things were so simple, but in reality, they are not.

Truth is getting a job and having a successful career will depend upon many things, and the course you do is only one of those things.

Next, you need to understand that ALL of the following things are going to have an affect upon your success:

1. Knowledge of Core aspects of your Discipline -specialist knowledge is always valuable, but more is always preferred.

2. Knowledge in Related areas in a broader discipline -people with a broader knowledge base are more often than not particularly attractive to employers because they can be used for other jobs if need be.
Courses that are broader based therefore give you a better attraction for employment.

3. Management and possibly business skills - some people have the qualification, but never go to management level because all they have acquired is the ability to pass exams, which is not always the same as the ability to manage well.

4. Good Contacts/Networking -we develop this, some courses don't. Often it is who you know not what you know.

5. Attitude and clients more often than not will employ people largely because they communicate an attitude more in tune with a particular organisation/business.

6. Ability to think laterally (or outside the box)

7. Uniqueness -Many employers have said to me "why employ someone who has the same skill set as everyone else...I want someone who can bring something different to my business".

There are other things which come into play that are more important in some situations and less in others. One is Licensing

Sometimes a very specific course is needed in order to get a licence to operate (eg. To use a chain saw, to register with a certain government body, to spray poisonous chemicals or do plumbing etc). -Another is Marketing -some things can give you a marketing edge, for example having written a book, being a radio personality talking about gardening, aligning yourself with a local nursery for getting landscape work, or advertising you have a qualification.

The "official" accreditation or "approval" of a qualification is only necessary when the licensing factor comes into play; and unfortunately qualifications designed to satisfy that requirement frequently ignore or go weak on other factors explained above.

We at ACS put our emphasis on everything other than licensing. Anyone can go and do a short course to get licences but the bulk of career success depends on a combination of everything else.

People who appreciate what I'm saying here are probably in a better position to succeed than those who do not -long term at least.
We believe training through our school is as good as the best anywhere; but at the end of the day, your success or failure is going to be affected by a lot more than just what you study. We try to help you with other things like networking and developing an appropriate attitude toward the industry, and an ability to think laterally; but some people develop these areas better than others and you will never know unless you try.


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