It used to be that graduating with a bachelor’s degree was enough to secure a decent job, but things have changed, and nowadays, many companies are looking for candidates with master’s degrees. While some grads are adjusting to this reality by pursuing advanced degrees straight out of college, this isn’t a financial option for everyone. Luckily, there are ways to beef up your skills and make a decent living even with a bachelor’s.
That’s according to Aisha M. Taylor, co-owner and chief consultant at TAYLORMade Professional Career Consulting. In a recent piece for Black Enterprise, Taylor shares five tips for ramping up your skills and increasing your chances of moving your career forward without going back to school.
1. Seek Certification — In many fields, certification or specialized training programs offer low-cost alternatives to grad school. For just a few hundred dollars, Taylor writes, you can “enhance your resume and qualifications” and make yourself more attractive to potential employers.
2. Grab an Internship — College grads have youth and drive on their side, but they often lack on-the-job experience. While some may scoff at the idea of working for little or no money, internships are a surefire way to learn the ropes. “Internships look great on your resume and if you perform well, can often lead to a full-time position with that employer,” Taylor writes.
3. Get a Side Gig — That bachelor’s degree might not earn you a big fat paycheck, but that doesn’t mean you’ve got to live on ramen noodles. As Taylor writes, there are countless ways to make extra cash — especially if you have special talents or interests. “You’d be surprised at the boost a side hustle can give your career and your bank account,” Taylor writes.
4. Get Into Professional Organizations — In business, it’s all a matter of who you know, and a great way to establish and maintain relationships is to join professional organizations. While getting into, say, the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA or the National Association of Black Social Workers (NABSW) might cost you a few bucks, it’s money well spent.
5. Consider Relocating — “A bachelor’s degree faces less competition in some rural or underdeveloped cities, and as a result might make it easier to find employment,” Taylor writes. If you can’t find what you’re looking for in Los Angeles or New York, look elsewhere. The country and suburbs ain’t so bad.