Do not let your lackluster degree stop you from moving forward in your career. Follow these tips to make your mark and impress employers.
Companies are looking for people and not degrees. Many people, even though they would be excellent candidates for open jobs, don’t apply to roles that require them to have certain educational qualifications.
This phenomenon is more evident in certain industries than in others. A Harvard Business School study found that while 67% of job postings for production supervisors required a degree in 2015, only 16% of those employed in these roles have a college degree.
These figures show the differences between what companies want and what they actually need. Non-degreed candidates can do the same job as those with degrees. We have not seen any difference in the completion rates of candidates who have a Ph.D. or those with GEDs in our 20-week program to prepare them for software development roles. Our experience shows that degrees are useful in certain fields but not a reliable indicator of someone’s ability and capability to do a job well.
Degrees make it difficult to reduce the number of applicants, so those looking for work in a competitive market must learn how to standout. These four tips will help people who don’t have a college degree to show potential employers their value.
How to get a job without a college degree:
1. Look beyond the application.
Your resume may not meet the requirements for education. Think creatively about ways you can stand out. To demonstrate your marketable skills, create a portfolio that includes examples of work. This could include writing samples, coding projects or podcasts. It can also include a personal website.
Karen Whyte, the senior recruitment specialist, says that LinkedIn profiles are great because they’re engaging and filled with detail. Resume attachments, video or blog posts, project work, videos, and/or projects are all great bonuses.
These non-traditional resume boosters offer a rare glimpse into your skills that companies wouldn’t otherwise see. Employers will be more likely to trust you if you provide content that validates your credibility.
2. Understand the company’s pain points.
If everything were perfect at this company, then its hiring managers wouldn’t have to hire anyone. Do your research ahead of time and find out what the company is looking for. Then, provide solutions to the problems that this job is meant to solve.
Sometimes that means solving a problem that the company didn’t know existed. You can highlight opportunities to win if you have previous experience in an area that is not well-served by the company. Ask pointed questions during interviews to demonstrate that you are not only able to understand the company’s problems but also can see potential solutions and how they could be implemented.
Liz Ryan, a recruiting guru, calls this “pain interviews.” This is how you show the hiring manager that you are able to work through problems and offer solutions.
3. Demonstrate a willingness to learn.
Companies need people who can learn new things every day and are able to improve their skills on days 30, 90, and 365.
Mark Hoplamazian is the CEO of Hyatt Hotels. He says that they hire for their personality and growth mindset more than a specific skill set. We believe that curiosity, passion, and a shared love of learning can make a person’s experience more valuable than their previous experiences. Care comes from a place of empathy and understanding–traits you can’t learn from a book but that produce better results.”
Before applying, research the company and take into account industry trends. Your resume should show that you are interested in the job and that you will continue to learn more about the company as you apply.
4. Create an industry network.
Identify where you want to go and then meet the people there. Brief contact with someone at your target company could make all the difference between a rejected resume and an invitation for an interview.
Meetups, career workshops, and networking events are all open to everyone. Keep your LinkedIn profile updated and sharp so that you are remembered by people when the time comes to fill a relevant position.
Passion, drive, and a willingness to learn are not attributes that can be attributed to degrees alone. Companies value people who are willing to learn and continue to grow professionally. Consider challenges an opportunity to prove yourself to potential employers, not a roadblock, so they can see you as the solution-oriented candidate they have been looking for.
You can still get your dream job, even if you don’t have the required experience or degree. You can learn anything online and the value of a degree is decreasing. Instead, you need to have proven skills and be willing to learn. Do not let a lack of a degree stop you from moving forward in your career. Follow these tips to make your mark and impress employers.