If you were a recruiter given a choice between two candidates-one with a few years of industry experience and the other with excellent qualifications but no "real world" training-who would you choose?
There's no easy answer to this question, as there is no clear winner in the age-old debate on the importance of education vs. the value of experience. With one random search on the Internet, you'll find tons of people sitting on both sides of the fence. Pages and pages have been dedicated to the debate, but it seems far from being settled.
Those who think education has little bearing on success never tire of throwing out the names of famous university dropouts like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs to win their argument, while the proponents of a college education quote statistic after statistic to prove its impact on a person's employability and earnings.
Education or Experience
So what's more important-education or experience? The truth is that both have a place in a person's career trajectory.
While someone with experience but no formal degree may be favored for certain jobs, he or she may find himself or herself reaching a saturation point in his or her career earlier and may struggle to advance professionally because the person is not considered adequately qualified. On the other hand, a college grad with the best education and book smarts may be completely at sea when it comes to dealing with real-world work situations if the graduate has no prior industry experience.
The truth of the matter is that it's not so much about education vs. experience, but education and experience. They're not mutually exclusive, but actually go hand-in-hand in charting out a person's career growth.
The corporate landscape is getting more and more competitive with each passing day. Employers neither have the money nor the willingness to make huge investments in developing raw talent. They are more interested in acquiring talented candidates with demonstrated ability, and they look for a complete package at the time of hiring. That's why someone who has solid educational credentials as well as real-world experience stands a better chance of making the cut.
Why is Education Important?
Companies are not just hiring with the aim to fill the current position, but have an eye on the future. If you have not already demonstrated that you have the potential to grow with a job, they may very well pass you up for another candidate who has shown that promise.