College Degrees to Craigslist- My Job Post Experiment

Ryan Malinowski

What do a group of high school/college dropouts, BA’s, & MBA’s all have in common?

They all responded to my Craigslist job ads looking for work.



If you were like me, you were raised through YOUR schooling with this notion to:

  • do well in school
  • get good grades
  • and career success would evidently take care of itself

For along time, this philosophy depicted above certainly held true….but in today’s economy, it’s a MUCH DIFFERENT STORY.

Holding a college degree from a university today doesn’t necessarily make you any more qualified for a position than the dropout who gained real life experience outside of a school setting. It just shows that you followed academic direction well.

So why are so many educated individuals who all took the so-called “right path to career success” in life losing jobs & begging for work on Craigslist that pay little more than minimum wage?

It has to do with the fact that the idea of work as we know it, job security, and the business landscape are getting turned upside down drastically before our eyes. 

To give you a little more context, I ran multiple jobs ads and received dozens of responses for a commission based Sales Representative position for one of my businesses, Prolific Fitness LLC.

Without getting too personal on what I discussed on the phone with several candidates who sent in their resumes via Craigslist, I asked them all 2 questions basic questions across the board:

  1. Based on your experience, what makes you an ideal fit for this job?
  2. Why are you applying for this position?

The main realization I concluded from all these candidates responses was that they were all desperate for any type of work.

One candidate held an MBA, had 20+ years of experience, and simply couldn’t find work. He had worked a well paying job for years before it became replaceable by a cheaper labor force.

Several other candidates who responded to my job ads were also college graduates with varied experience. They were eager to get hired anywhere because their weren’t jobs available elsewhere (at least not in the typical corporate job setting we’ve grown accustomed to).


This raises my question:

If following the expected path through our educational system no longer leads to career success & a stable job, what needs to be done to ensure that you aren’t the one desperate for work and/or jobless?

In this case, it certainly had nothing to do with the fact that these individuals lacked the academic credentials to do the job (many were in fact overly qualified).

What happened is that they hadn’t adapted to the changing times of work in this new economy we now live in.

Far too many of us (society) have put too much emphasis on academic intelligence instead of practical intelligence. In Michael Ellsberg’s masterpiece book, The Education of Millionaires, he touches on this practical intelligence with the following quote:

“Even though you may learn many wonderful things in college, your success and happiness in life will have little to do with what you study there or the letters after your name once you graduate. It has to do with your drive, your initiative, your persistence, your ability to make a contribution to other people’s lives, your ability to come up with good ideas and pitch them to others effectively, your charisma, your ability to navigate gracefully through social and business networks (what some researchers call “practical intelligence”), and a total, unwavering belief in your own eventual triumph throughout all the ups and downs, no matter what the naysayers tell you.”

What we can take away from this great snippet from Ellsberg is that along with a well rounded education, it is equally if not of greater importance to develop real world skills that can make you an asset in the economy (regardless of if we’re in a boom or recession).

Example: You could read books and study theory on playing guitar for years, but unless you put the instrument in your hands and get to work, you’ll never gain the necessary skills to became great. Same goes for every other field of work we strive for as human beings: from growing businesses to raising awareness for a cause, and so on.



If you hold a college degree, what can make you stand out above your competitors when looking for work? Failing to stand out will leave your resume blended deep in the pile with everyone else.

If you currently work for a company or organization, are you doing everything in your power to make sure that your job’s not replaceable? Go the extra mile to make them realize your an integral piece of the businesses success.

If you’re that someone who’s crawling Craigslist job ads looking for work, are you investing in yourself, reading books, gaining real world (practical) intelligence everyday? Go forth and do so.

You’ll sure be glad you did…….


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