It is a common commencement joke to congratulate graduates on their transition from student to unemployed. Education is something greater than trumped up vocational training. It teaches you how to do things and lets you explore your passions.

These are the things that you are bringing to the job front. Keeping your talent, tenacity and passion as your focuses is what will land you that career job that will launch you into the rest of your life.

Becoming Skillful in Your Career

If you do not have a degree in your career field, get one. If you have one, then get more. Education will make you more marketable and more education will let you specialize in the part of your career that will give the most satisfaction. People with a degree have a lower overall unemployment rate. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, high school-educated people have an eight percent unemployment rate whereas those with a bachelor’s degree have less than a three percent unemployment rate. Higher degrees also mean more money and better overall jobs.

Certifications, specializations and continuing education all make you more employable and able to command better job opportunities. Open format universities are making it easier and cheaper to earn these specializations. Coursera is a good example. You can take classes online from established universities and get a certificate in the topic. They are not the same as an actual degree but, for an employer, they do show mastery of a subject.

Making Your Passion Into Your Brand

A writer writes. An engineer creates. To paraphrase Stanislavski, there are no small jobs, only small employees. If you are starting out in acting, then off-Broadway shows are just as important as Broadway productions because it is more career-focused then waiting tables.

joyful girl

When looking for that perfect career opportunity, you are your brand and your brand message is your passion. Take a step back and analyze your image. Start with your social media account. This will help in two ways. First, it will give you an insight into yourself. Let’s use the budding actor as our example. If the actor’s Facebook feed does not show images from the latest play and inspirational quotes from DeNiro, Streep or Hanks, then it is missing something and our actor may want to examine the image being portrayed.

A good look at social media accounts also gets you ready for the resume writing and interviewing process. Nearly all recruiters use social media and around 75 percent of jobseekers under age 30 found their job via social media. Your resume and your social media accounts will be highly linked while you are trying to find that perfect job. Make sure that both are searchable and full of job-specific passion.

Know What Companies Are Willing to Pay

It is a hard fact that some jobs simply pay more than others. It is one of the reasons that passion is so important. If you are in it for the money, then you may be very disappointed. Teachers are consistently some of the lowest-paying jobs, whereas engineering is generally at the top end. A good way to know how well you will be paid is to use the Bureau of Labor Statistics job search information. This will give you information on the national averages and you can negotiate from there.