Someone asked me a question about finding a job without a college degree. He has been on interviews and been rejected solely because of the lack of a degree. He asked what he should do. There is also information here for those of you who do have a degree but have been rejected because you don’t have an advanced degree.
Someone send me a question the translates into, “I have been looking for a job and don’t have a college degree. I keep getting shot down from one place or anothe because of that. What do I do? How do I find a job without a degree?“
I love this question because I’m going to invite you to look at this from 2 different perspectives. One is external, the other is internal.
I want to start with the internal one. That’s the one that says, “because you don’t have a college degree, you are less valuable than people who do have a college degree.” If you have 10 or 15 years of experience, don’t have a degree and they aren’t willing to consider you, they are morons!
By the way, that’s the external answer. I will give you a tactic for responding to them, but the internal side, when the drumbeat is so regular there is an internal side that needs to be addressed – – the belief that you have that you are someone who’s less valuable than someone with a college degree.
Firms that act like that are morons. And for you people who do have a college degree, I want you to get so smug because there was always the master’s degree. There are always the people with the PhD’s who have more education than you. Maybe someone has taken a class in this or a certification in that – – there was always something, some hoop to jump through that you, as someone who has a college degree have to jump through, just like this individual who doesn’t have a college degree because you are the barrier to his entry.
For all of you, I want to remind you that belief and attitude is an enormous variable. Some firms are going to say no. After all, if you have a bachelors in social work and they want someone with the masters of the quantitative discipline, they aren’t going to interview you, are they?
That’s the reality to it. There is no amount of magical words or hypnosis that is going to change their mind. Their loss. If you want to change that, get the academic that they are looking for.
In the case of someone without a degree, find the easiest degree program that you can find that fits with your schedule, doing online and get it done with.
I don’t think that’s is important as this: “I’m just curious. What do you think that degree (I’m speaking for the person who doesn’t have a college degree, right now) has done for that individual 5 years after they have gotten out of school? 10 years after they got out of school? What do you think it’s done for them that my experience attacking this in my work life hasn’t done already?“
You want to make them think and don’t want to fall into the convention. Understand, though, people are not going to want to think. So that begs the question, “Do you really want to work for stupid people who can’t see out of the box that they are conditioned to operate in?“
Wouldn’t you rather work with smart insightful capable people who have great training and have gotten it online and it never set foot on the university campus?
and it feels so forceful, you tend to believe it. I’m wondering if there is something that happened earlier in your life that gave you the message that you were less valuable than others that needs to be addressed.
That’s a coaching question that needs to be addressed that I can’t do in a video because I need you in front of me or on the phone with me. That’s one thing that
They are taking courses at MIT. They are taking courses at Harvard. They don’t have a degree! They live in various places around the world. Are you saying that they are “less than” you? I don’t think so.
So, step number 1 is dealing with your own “stuff” around the belief that you are less than people with a degree, or the person with the more advanced degree who has taken the specialized program.
The 2nd thing is when submitting a resume where degree is a requirement… “I saw that there was a degree requirement for the position, but let me ask you a question: I have been doing this for 5 years (10 years, 15 years, 20 years, whatever it is), I left school at this stage earlier in life, for economic reasons… Stuff happens… I worked very hard in a very dedicated way for employers who will provide great references and attest to my significance in their organization… What do you think that that degree, I could’ve gotten 15 years ago would deliver for me today?” You put that in the email that you send to them.
They may reply with a bureaucratic answer, particularly HR because they operate with pretty bureaucratic ways of doing things.
Find out who the hiring manager is and apply to them directly and avoid “the front door.” That’s why I always say, “Never ever apply for job doing applicant tracking system.”
Take leadership. Take ownership. Take command.
Again, before someone misinterprets this, I see resumes all the time where I am looking for someone to fill a position as a financial analyst and you are a store manager at a retail chain, and you are just not qualified. I’m talking about the specific of the degree scenario.
Do you really think employers are trying to help you?
You already know you can’t trust recruiters—they tell you as much as they think you need to know to take the job they after representing so they collect their payday.
The skills needed to find a job are different yet complement the skills needed to do a job.
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter has been a career coach and recruiter for what seems like one hundred years.
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