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Ever Considered a Post-Graduate Certificate?

16 September 2010 17 Comments

Candice Bromfield

By Candice Bromfield

“I’ve graduated with my undergraduate degree. I can finally land my dream job!”

Sound familiar? Of course it does! Once upon a time, pursuing a degree was something big. If you studied hard and maintained good grades, a degree was your passport to securing a top job. When I was in high school– not that long ago– I thought that once I had my Honours Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies, employers would be lined up outside my door to offer me a job. What a flawed thought!

Nowadays, having a degree is almost comparable to finishing high school and with the severe financial crisis and enormous changes in the workforce, grads have to find alternative ways of making themselves more marketable.  All of a sudden that valuable investment starts to diminish in value. The result? An unnerving feeling of disempowerment, disenchantment, and disappointment; a natural jolt to the body!

A CV full of university-acquired skills is no longer the deciding factor for today’s recruiters, who can afford to be highly selective as they want to see work experience.

Upon completion of my degree, it dawned on me that there was a high chance I would remain unemployed, as my work experience was not enough. With that in mind, I enrolled in Sheridan’s Corporate Communications post-graduate certificate program. I felt as though I needed to better equip myself, have the right skill set and confidence to step directly into the workplace. Though there were challenges and at times still are, I’d have to say it was a wise decision and by no means do I have any regrets.

My advice? Utilize all your resources and carefully consider your options. Ask yourself, how can I stand out? What can I do to fast track my employment chances? An eight month college post-grad certificate is a great option because there is an internship component, which allows you to gain hands on experience before entering the job market. Again, employers want to see work experience.

Here’s why you should consider the program:

  • It has a practical orientation with real-life cases and assessment. In lieu of focusing on traditional exams, it is assessed through assignments which are directly relevant to your current career and existing projects.
  • You are at the greatest advantage when it comes to staying relevant in this constantly changing environment. With its small classroom size students will receive optimal teachings desired. Students attending these programs can feel relaxed and at home in a positive environment.
  • You can gain hands-on experience, build your portfolio, improve your teamwork skills and develop networks with people in the field compared to the theory gained from university. The professors are second-to-none and bring a wealth of knowledge and real-world experience to the program.

One should note that post-graduate programmes are not easy. In fact, they’re quite demanding, fast-paced, intensive and require a major commitment of time. If this sounds like something you can do, a program like this is perfect. Rest assured, I’m by no means saying that a post-grad certificate will automatically guarantee employment.

More importantly, I’m not discounting the fact that you can get a job with only a degree (or even without). What I’m saying is the world has drastically changed and with high unemployment rates, specialising at post-graduate level can augment your skill set and make you a stronger job applicant. Opportunities are limitless. Make the best of it. Invest in your future.

Special contributor Candice Bromfield works as a Public Relations/Marketing Consultant, Freelance Writer and Event Host.  You can reach her at [email protected].

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  • JR said:

    I loved every bit of the article Candice. You are a very captivating writer. More students should read this as you clearly and succinctly said exactly what they need to hear. It’s s shame how hard it has gotten out there but it’s nice to know there’s still hope. I will be sending this out to my friends. Sway should and ought to be happy with your contributions. Again, wonderful piece!

  • Jason Matthews said:

    I believe collages are great, because it cut the BS and get straight to the point. However, your academic direction will vary based on your target career. Bill Gates, Michael Dell, and Steve Jobs, just to name a few, all did not complete university or collage and are currently billionaires. This is not to say avoiding tertiary education will land you big bucks. All three mentioned billionaires are entrepreneurs at heart. It would be safe to say higher education is not a requirement for being a successful entrepreneur. Want to be a doctor? That’s a total different ball game. With regulations and other red tape, it is almost impossible to be a doctor in North America without proper academic credentials.

    The best advice I’ve gotten regarding my career is to first research what skills are in demand then resolve to acquire those skills. Coupled with a well sough after skill, you should have some degree of passion and aptitude for the target career. Also, the brightest often don’t get compensated the most. Take for example, the Mutual Fund Investments industry. A fund manager can make more than a million dollars per year and his academic background is a just B.Comm and CFA. While the researcher that works for him has a PhD (and a list of abbreviations behind his name) and only makes $80k.

    Find a career that is in demand and resolve to acquire the skills needed to fill that demand.

  • Nadine Williams said:

    Very well said Candice, and I agree wholeheartedly! A young friend of mine landed a STELLAR job at Sick Kids Hospital after completing a Post GRAD certificate at Georgian College …….IN NO TIME AT ALL!:):) making MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOCHA MOOOOOOOLAH!

  • Elena said:

    Hey Candice….

    Another article that took my breath away…I love how you can relate to alot of students and show them there is still HOPE….I will be postin this again to spread the word and to show others that have no HOPE that there is still a chance out there they need to take…You are on point with everything and made me as a read feel the need to go back to school and achieve something else:) Thank you!!

  • Cassandra said:

    Well written and artuiculated article Ms. Bromfield. You captured the issue well and I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of it. You brouht mor elight to this problem with so much ease. Well done, I applaud you!

  • Horace said:

    Hi Candice, as someone with many years experience in hiring in the corporate arena as well as years of mentorship in success principles, I agree that the job market has changed significantly and continues to change rapidly. While taking some post-graduate courses is a good option for those who want to have additional qualifications, I would recommend that people try to establish what they really want in life first, and then decide whether more formal education or finding a mentor or group of mentors to teach and guide in the principles that will help them achieve what they want is the way to go. On a more general level, when hiring, I find those who demonstrate an eagerness to learn and are self starters have always turned out to be the best candidates, even if they have some of the experience we are looking for. In addition, I highly recommend a reading program with success principle books such as Think and Grow rich, How to Win friends and Influence People to name a couple. Books improve the individual in all areas of their life including their work life.

  • Jason Matthews said:

    @Horace good advise. Dale Carnegie is a great read!

  • Kaci said:

    A very interesting read. Well said.

  • Roger said:

    Very enlightening piece Candice. I really enjoyed it. You write very well. Keep up the excellent work and thanks for sharing your knowledge. I’ll certainly pass this on.

  • Shemroy said:

    Hey Candice,

    This was a great article and it also hit home personally. I’m a bit of a differnt situation. I attended college first and couldn’t land the jobs with the salary of my expectatoins so I had to upgrade to an undergraduate degree (still in the process of pursuing). Education as well as networking are very important.

  • NJ said:

    This was quite an enjoyable read Ms. Bromfield. Great topic and you certainly opened up people’s eyes to other possibilities. It’s true, I notice that postgraduate certificates go unnoticed by many. If they decide to go on to further studies it’s usually in the form of a Masters. Not many think of going the college route; so I applaud you for bringing light to this matter. It’s a wonderful approach to being successful, in the work world. GREAT JOB!

  • AEJ said:

    Great article Candice. You write so well and to the point. But all is not lost for colleage graduates. It’s just that it is the longest recession since the Great Depression. But things will change and young grads will be soon be able to find a job. Thanks for sharing your insight with your readers.

  • physiotherapist said:

    This is actually a well thought out post, thanks.

  • autoversicherung vergleich said:

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    - Kris

  • Stephanie Williams said:

    I agree with you all the way Candice.

    Your piece on obtaining an Applied certification in conjunction to having a degree prior, is definitely something grads should consider because of the hands-on skills one learns that can be applied to both the workplace, as well as the “real-world”.

    I can relate to this article completely, especially because, like you Candice, I am a Communication Studies Grad, and decided to enhance my skill set through a post-grad certificate in PR which I’m enjoying very much.

    Great Read!

  • Gina said:

    @ Jason Matthews, it would help you if you took a class on spelling. At first I thought it was a typo-error, you misspell it again. collage-a school of higher learning is spelled “college”

  • Selena Gomez said:

    It is a bit discouraging to feel like your undergraduate degree doesn’t feel like such an accomplishment (even though it is!). Everyone has one now. It costs an arm and a leg, but without it you may be stuck at a job you hate. I’ve been contemplating going for my Masters for quite some time now. Thanks for your insightful article.

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