Hey, look at you! You do cross fit. You’ve lifted, squatted and lunged your way to ultimate physical prowess. You figure it’s not a big step between you and an Olympic weightlifter, so you squeeze yourself into one of those nifty leotards and load up the weights. It’s only when your shoulders have fallen off and your neck has rotated 180 degrees that you realise one crucial thing: Experience is as important as training.

Of equal importance
Degree versus experience – it’s an old argument. But today’s working world isn’t so different from an athletic career. When it comes to your job, experience is as important as having a degree. Employers are looking for candidates that have both. Aspiring to be like Richard Branson is great. But dropping out of school? Not so much. It may have worked out for him, but he’s in the minority. Calculate your risks.

TIP: Gaining work experience while you’re studying can be tricky. Taking on freelance jobs within your industry is the easiest way to level up without flunking out.

Of some consideration
Some careers will lean towards either side of the argument. If you’re looking to be hired at a law firm, a degree will weigh more heavily than experience. But if you’re starting a career in graphic design, experience will count more than qualifications do.

TIP: Ask someone already working in your field about which of the two is considered more valuable.

Of money and men
People with a higher education earn more than those without. The higher your qualification, the higher your wages. But only up to a point: People with PhDs actually earn less than people with professional degrees.

TIP: Take some time to think about your intended career before you start studying. Try picking something that fits your personality and work ethic. Not everyone is able to study full time for eight years.
Having a balance between degree and experience is important. And difficult to achieve. But on the day of your dream job interview you’ll have all the right weapons in your arsenal. And you won’t need to have your neck amputated.

Don’t forget to showcase your studies, qualifications and work experience on your envisionme.co.za profile.