By Elijah Medge, Long Beach, April 2015

Elijah MedgeThe most common misconception on the part of entry level job seekers is that their college degree gives them a competitive advantage in the workforce.

I’ve interviewed hundreds of entry level job candidates throughout my career, and I’ve noticed that recent college graduates often feel entitled to a great job. Many fail to realize that a person only becomes valuable to a company through their ability to generate revenue, directly or indirectly.

I’m not knocking the new college grads — in fact, I’m a millennial college grad myself — but a diploma in hand is not a guarantee of future success. While graduating from college is certainly an accomplishment, it’s important for recent graduates to recognize that they’ve yet to prove themselves in a career setting.

We live in a capitalistic society in which a company sees its employees as pieces in a larger puzzle. Whether new grads like it or not, there is less risk for a company in hiring someone who has already demonstrated results in his or her respective field. Not to mention, fewer resources are needed for training and development. An undergraduate degree is simply not enough to prove one’s worth in today’s job market.

So what’s my advice for new grads? Get this thought out of your head ASAP: “Now that I have a college degree I’m entitled to a job doing exactly what I love with great benefits and high pay.Replace this thought with an open mind and a student mentality. Try this instead:

“Now that I’ve graduated, I need to seek opportunities to gain tangible skill sets and demonstrate successful measured performance. I need to focus on stepping out of as many comfort zones as possible. I need to do the things that my peers don’t want to do — the things that aren’t sexy and cool — because that’s where I will separate myself from the pack. I understand that I don’t have a competitive edge yet — and that is exactly why I am going to work to prove my worth.”

It is with this (healthier) mindset that today’s entry level job applicants have the opportunity to establish successful behavioral patterns that will ideally continue throughout their careers. If early on, a person can learn to take the road less traveled, it will allow him to be a trailblazer in his career and will lead to a fruitful, fulfilling, and successful life.

Elijah Medge (Long Beach, CA) owns and manages direct marketing firms throughout the United States. He is a coach and mentor to budding and experienced entrepreneurs in a variety of industries. Be sure to connect on Facebook and Tumblr.