WOW Career

Masters Degree: Why Many Holders Don’t Get Dream Jobs

Many masters degree holders do not have their dream jobs. The reason is not just because the number of those who hold the degree has upped.

As a Human Capital Management consultant, my company and I help many organizations to recruit staff. So, I get to speak with many job seekers during interviews. As a result of these interviews and other times of interactions, I have come to understand why many people do not have jobs despite having a masters degree, sometimes even from prestigious universities around the world.

If you are reading this right now, chances are that you have obtained a master’s degree and do not have a job that “match” the qualification yet or you are considering getting a master’s degree.

I have identified reasons why many people who have this qualification do not get their dream jobs. Know them and develop yourself in line with the points.

They place money before value

A “higher” qualification is not equal to more money. It is only an opportunity to be considered to handle a “higher” responsibility that has more money put aside for anyone who can see to its excellent execution. I recently had a chat with one of my proteges. While we were chatting casually about the progress she has made recently, I mentioned that she should consider relocating back to Lagos soon. She asked me if I knew of an opening in any organization. I told her that there were a couple of them she could consider. Then she said “I need something that actually pays really well. You know that I now have a masters degree.” That sounds very innocent and kind of makes sense. But this is the mindset many people have. They place money before value. I asked her “hope you are willing to give the kind of value that is needed for the kind of money you want?”

ACTION: What should you do? Learn more. Obtaining a masters degree is an indication that your capacity for learning has increased. It is therefore important for you to learn as much as you can so that the rate at which you release value for your organization will increase when you are employed.

Master’s degree increases people’s expectation of you

A masters degree increases people’s expectation of you. If you have a masters degree, you are expected to communicate better, process thoughts faster and deliver results in a more efficient manner and at lesser cost. Declaring your ownership of a masters degree is therefore a promise that you will be exceptional. People’s expectation of you increases. Performing less than this expectation of you during job interviews and on the job will disappoint people and that is really bad for you.

ACTION: The fact that you have a masters degree is already a promise that you will be exceptional. Do all in your power to become exceptional. Read these kinds of articles. You will find them on Harvard Business Review, The Economist, and even on YouTube. Deliberately make up your mind never to under-perform or disappoint on any task you are trusted with.

Certificate instead of organizational culture

In my many years of interviewing candidates for one opening or another, I have noticed that many of them do not take time to study about the organization before showing up before the interview panel. And even those who do don’t find a way of “linking” the knowledge with their objective of trying to get the job. QUICK EXAMPLA-TIP* ON LINKING: “I understand that the vision of this organization is to become the number 1 supplier of kitchen utensils in Nigeria. I believe that my 3 years experience in selling furniture and masters degree in consumer psychology will contribute to actualizing this vision.” Your certificate means nothing if the organization cannot “see” how you fit into their culture or way of doing things. They won’t care about your certificate until their know how much you care.

ACTION: Take time to study accepted behaviors in your dream organization. Get to learn the language (jargon, attitudes, mannerisms) of the position you’d like to get in the organization. For example, if you get the opportunity of being invited for an interview, dress like them – wear their colors. You can only do this if you get to know their dress code. Learn all you can about the organization.

They are not prepared for interviews

I have mentioned interviews a couple of times in this article. I always tell people that the people who are successful at interviews are not necessarily the best or smartest people. The interviewer’s job is to watch out for the candidate who can demonstrate that they have the personality, attitude, skills and disposition to fit into a role as demanded by the organization’s short-term and/or long-term objectives. The keyword here is demonstrate. So, as I wrote above, those who get the job are not the smartest people – it is those who can successfully demonstrate that they are the ones who fit the role and can get the job done.

ACTION: No matter how good your qualifications are, your preparation will determine your success in interviews. Prepare yourself for interviews by finding answers to these questions; 1) What tasks will I be executing on a daily basis if I get this job? 2) What kind of person do I need to be to fit into this organization? 3) Who (or what kind of person)) will I be reporting to? 4) What are the vision, mission and objectives of this organization? 5) What jargon is commonly used by people who occupy this kind of position? 6) What problem or challenge does the organization have right now that I can find a useful suggestive solution to?


No matter how good you think you are, being over-confident will irritate everyone on the interview panel. They will dislike you immediately. If they dislike you, you won’t get the job. After all their opinion is very important. Many masters degree holders think that having the degree will automatically swing doors open. Sorry, that is not the case. I have done interviews in which O’Levels candidates were chosen over Bachelors holders because the former was smarter than the latter.

ACTION: Learn all you can about the job. Be confident but humble at the same time.


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