The millennial generation is booming. And if you were born between 1980 and 2000, you represent over 28 percent of the U.S. population, clearly the largest share. You’re known for being the most educated generation with 34% attaining a college degree according to NPR.

In 2015, nearly 50 percent of the entire workforce in America was comprised of millennials and is projected to reach 75 percent by 2025. But looking at the numbers, you may find yourself underemployed and only making minimum wage even as a college graduate.

At the same time of this great opportunity, according to CNBC, the reality is that as many as 70 percent of new grads don’t know where their education and skills fit in the workforce, so grads are ill prepared to market themselves to the employers who want to hire them. Rest assured, the potential is there for you to really realize your dreams in the workplace. And there are resources that can help.

The University of California, Irvine believes in a 60-year curriculum, meaning that education is continued throughout your lifetime. As a recent graduate, education can still play an important role in your search for the perfect profession. In fact, the University has made it a priority to partner with the most well-respected career instructors and coaches to support graduates along the way to success.

For instance, UCI created a program to prepare millennials for their first and next job. As part of the widely publicized open and free education movement (often referred to as Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), the Career Success program is offered online, at no charge through Coursera.

These free and open courses are designed to help you build project management tools and techniques to initiate, plan, execute, monitor, control and close projects. In addition, it will help you build the know how to increase your personal and professional productivity through time management, understand the importance and interpretation of financial information, and use successful management techniques and the five functions of management to your advantage.

But, if you’re looking for something more than a self-guided online course, the University does offer a tuition-based, comprehensive and full-service, customized career-planning program. In fact, this program is the first of its kind in the University of California system to help soon-to-be and recent grads land their first job or get accepted to graduate school.

It’s called UCI+One and it’s designed to help graduates and young alumni take the next step after graduation. The program is self-paced, featuring weekly advising sessions, career-planning support, communication training, networking, personal financial planning, and more. Students can enroll any time and complete the program at their convenience. There are some online components to this program, but the compelling aspect is the one-on-one contact with an UCI+One advisor. This advisor will help you identify short and long term goals and you will walk away with a full portfolio, including a cover letter, resume, elevator pitch, etc.

For millennials, the drive to “learn more—and earn more” is of the utmost importance. Although you might have just finished an undergraduate or graduate program, the next step might involve some level of continuing education to get you where you want to go. The University recognizes that your life is hectic so it has built its continuing education programs with the best mix of technology and instructor presence so that you can learn at your own pace and on your own terms.

So here’s a list of the top 5 ways you can use continuing education to give you the edge in the workplace.

  1. There are free resources available to you, anytime.

The opportunity cost of enrolling in a free course is very low. So why would you do this? Because knowledge is power. And power in the workplace will help your mobility and your chance for job satisfaction and perhaps a better salary. The completion of online courses (even if they are free) shows that you have the will to learn more and that’s a great addition to your resume or graduate school applications.

  1. You need a really good resume.

By adding educational experiences to your resume, you appear to be “in the know,” a trendsetter, and willing to go above and beyond what’s expected at your job. And by taking and completing a course or program, developed by career-coach experts, you’ve got the big reputation of a university like UCI to add some clout to your accomplishments.

  1. Create your competitive edge.

If you were interviewing candidates for a new position wouldn’t you consider their level and depth of their education in your decision? Of course you would. This is what can set you apart from everyone else interviewing for your dream job.

  1. Continuing education courses give you the opportunity to collaborate and socialize with others that can help you.

Networking is critical. You never know who you will meet that will help you discover your next opportunity. Thankfully, continuing education and career development courses offer you the chance to join online communities of people that share the same desires that you do.

  1. You want to move from the cubicle to the corner office.

You’ll be pleasantly surprised that UCI’s programs and courses have the quality and content similar to what you would find in an MBA course. Movers and winners invest in their education.

For more information about the UCI/Coursera free MOOC, visit

For more information about UCI’s new UCI+One Program visit

For more information about UCI’s Continuing Education certificate programs, visit