Q&A: Job Or Grad School?

If you have a job search question, contact DeniseMpls on Facebook.


I read your blog and want advice from you.

youngmenI graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in finance. I do not have any work experience. I am thinking of doing a Master’s program in finance, which starts this fall.

I am confused if I should get my Master’s now, or should I wait and look for work? Will it be appropriate to do a Master’s program without any job experience?

Could you please help me out, as I am confused and unable to make a decision.

If your goal is to find work in finance, then apply for jobs now. If your goal is to get an advanced degree, then go back to school.

As long as a job candidate has the minimum education requirements (a bachelor’s degree, for example), it is better to get some type of work experience instead of immediately entering a graduate program.

Employers want to hire people who have demonstrated they know how to do the work in real-world settings, not just showing academic experience.

If you are still not sure about your choice, talk to people currently working in finance. Do an informational interview with one or a few professionals in your career area to find out what skills and education employers expect from entry-level workers.

When you are ready to create your resume or portfolio, show the skills and experience that demonstrate you know how to do the work.

Emphasize your:

  • skills gained in part time or summer jobs
  • internships
  • class projects based on real-world scenarios
  • volunteer experience
  • any leadership positions

You also want to highlight any situations where you used skills related to your career field. For example, did you serve as treasurer for a student club?

Still not sure? Here are a few other blog articles I wrote on the topic:

Keep looking up,


Which Will You Choose?


Everything is either an opportunity to grow or an obstacle to keep you from growing, You get to choose. ~Dr. Wayne Dyer

Also from DeniseMpls:

17 Ways To Live A Horrible Life

Do you have a hard time letting go of a grudge?

I know I do. I have punished people for years over mistakes they made or small hurts.

Carrying around all of that hurt and anger is no way to live. That’s why “Allowing long-term anger to occupy your heart” is Number 7 of the Deadliest Decisions You Can Make.

Read all 17 decisions on the Marc and Angel Hack Life blog.

The list shows how we choose to interact with others and what we believe about ourselves can ruin our lives. Number 15 often troubles me: Trying to control every last detail about everything.

Read: 17 Deadliest Decisions You Can Make

What decisions or thought patterns are keeping you from reaching your potential?

Also from DeniseMpls:

Hungry For A New Job?

Have you ever talked to a job seeker who is so desperate to find a new job he or she says “I’ll take any job.”

When you ask what the top choice is, he either lists a few jobs that are completely unrelated, or can’t name one target job?

This person has little chance of finding a job he will be happy with or meet his goals.


You can’t find something if you don’t know what you’re looking for.

Here’s a different way of looking at it:

Imagine it’s dinner time. You’re hungry and ask your friend to go out to eat with you. Your friend asks which restaurant you want to go to. You say you don’t care where you go, as long as you can eat soon.

Your friend asks if you want pizza or Chinese food. You say you had pizza for lunch and don’t like Chinese. Italian? Not in the mood. Sushi? Too expensive.

Again, your friend asks what restaurant you want to go to. You still don’t know, but you’re getting more and more hungry.

Every time your friend suggests something, you give a reason why you don’t want to eat that type of food. You’ve given no thought to what you do want, only what you don’t want.

You’re friend can’t help you find a good meal because you don’t know what you want. You get frustrated and want to give up the search – but you’re still hungry and you need to eat.

Get the point?

No matter how desperate you are to leave your old job or get a better paycheck, you must think about what you want your next career move to be. Look for jobs that match your salary requirements, will use your skills, and is in an environment you will like.

There are jobs out there. If you don’t think about the type of job you want to move into, you could starve.

Next Move:

Also from DeniseMpls:

3 Steps to Help Someone Find the Right Career


When I ask my teenager about his plans for the future, he thinks I’m talking about next weekend. Seriously, how can I get my teen to think past high school graduation? He should look at his career options now, before he enters the job market. Right?

Are there one or two simple things I could do to help get him started?


You are right. It is never too soon to help your child explore careers.

For example, did you know that the math and science classes your child takes in middle and high school help to give your child more career options?

Plus, adult job seekers and career changers should think about these same steps when making their next career move.

The first three steps to help anyone find the right career are:

  1. Know your interests
  2. Research careers
  3. Create a plan

There are many assessments or quizzes that help match potential career interests to interests. Many reputable interest assessments come from the Holland Code, or RIASEC.

Here’s one quick interest assessment that matches hobbies to career clusters.

Research careers. Before you apply for jobs, or commit to a college or job training program, you want to know what the career is about.  Use trusted sources including state labor market information to find out:

  • The salary range for your region
  • Skills needed
  • Work conditions and abilities
  • Current and future demand in your region
  • Training or credentials needed

Only use trusted resources for career research. The labor market information should come from reputable industry sources or from the state or U.S. Department of Labor.

CareerOneStop has all the information you need to know about potential careers, plus it links to your state information.

Create a plan. Once you or your teen knows the career he wants, then you can create a plan of how to do it. The career plan should include:

  • College or job training options. What type of training or degree is needed to start work? Do most employers expect a Bachelors or an Associate degree? Is it a career that begins with an apprenticeship?
  • Money management. Most new professionals start work at a low salary. This is true for some career changers, too. Create a financial plan that matches living expenses to expected salary.
  • Advancement. The next job you get is probably not the same job you will have in 10 years. You might not even work for the same company. Decide now where you want your career in five, 10 and 20 years.
  • Plan B. No one’s career — or life — goes exactly as planned. Think about what you might do if you get laid off, or if your family or personal life changes dramatically.

More from DeniseMpls: