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Academic achievements and real-life experience, which is more important?

I can probably say that I am good at academy, but I merely have real-life experience. Some of my friends always tell me that no matter how high GPA I have, without work experience, it is impossible to find a satisfied job after I graduate from college. However, I don't think so, and it doesn't make sense at all because without knowledge, how can you find jobs and in what reasons, the employer will hire you? #professor #counselor #recruiting #employer

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Julien’s Answer

Hi Carmen,

This is a very good question, let me give you my 2 cents.

I come from France and the education system is very different there but to summarize, I have done a business school. I was quite good at school and had the opportunity to do several internships (3 in total). My education gave me tools, taught me about project management, dealing with different types of people, communication, language etc. and also provided me with a network of people. These things are important and have allowed me to find my first job.

School however didn't teach me my job. I was actually not sure at all about what I wanted to do and I ended up being lucky nailing a job at Google. I had to learn new things to perform well and that's what real life experience is about, it's about self improvement, you'll grow by doing things and working. There is nothing better than real life experience to test your skills and learning new things.

If people tell you you won't be able to find a satisfying job just after your graduate, don't listen to them, how can they possibly know? They're not you. While you're still studying I would encourage you to try figuring out what you really want to do and gaining experience. You don't have to work in a company to start doing things. Let's say you like photography, all you need is your smartphone and a basic photo editing app to get started and maybe after that you'll invest in a DSLR and start using Photoshop and Lightroom and you'll become a professional Photographer.

The good thing is that you live in a society where there is this thing called the Internet where you can learn pretty much anything, talk to pretty much anyone so use the resources at your disposal to go and create your own experience. Read, volunteer, watch videos, there's so much you can do!

Oh and to finish this long paragraph, here is an article I think you'll find super interesting: How to Get the Job When You Don't Have the Experience

Hope that helps!

Hi, Julien. Thanks for sharing the examples and the great article. That helps a lot. Now, I am more clear about what I should do next. Carmen H.

Awesome, glad you found it helpful! ;) Julien Schleret

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Alicia’s Answer

Hi there - as a former college recruiter, I can tell you that you need both. You need to do everything you can to make the best grades possible & get a GPA of 3.7 or higher and you also need to look for internships - paid or unpaid - in your field of study so that you can get good practical experience while you're a student. Connect with the career services department on campus to find out about internship opportunities from companies that recruit on campus.

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Paul’s Answer

I agree with Julien. You need to get the education, but you also need to start as early as possible learning what YOU want to do, and what jobs will let you use your talents in a way that satisfies you. It may take several tries; don't be discouraged if your first job is not "it".