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8 ways to land a job without a degree (or the right degree)

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Even with the wrong or no degree, 
you can land a great position.
Several job seekers I know face the same challenge: They don’t have a college degree and believe it is hurting their job prospects.

Other job seekers are worried that they have the wrong degree or too low of a degree to get a job at companies that target people with specific or higher degrees. Here are tips to overcome these obstacles.

8 ways to overcome degree challenges

1. Under “Education” on your resume, add classes you have completed (particularly those related to your field or industry) plus training courses you participated in for a job such as management training, diversity training and Microsoft Office applications or other computer classes. Doing so will show you have actively pursued educational opportunities and are much more educated than they might initially expect.

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Explain relevant course work that makes you more impressive than your degree or lack thereof.

2. Also under “Education,” add “Proficiencies in ‘XX’ equivalent to a bachelor’s degree” (if you can state so truthfully). Not only will this help you impress keyword search software, which is looking for the words, “bachelor’s degree,” it will also cause hiring companies to consider you more strongly.

3. Consider taking a course or two toward your preferred degree and then explain in your resume that you are working toward a “XX” degree. Also add that you are attending the school in your LinkedIn profile and join the LinkedIn student group related to the school. And don’t forget … once you've registered for the school, take advantage of its career center offerings.

4. Emphasize specific on-the-job experiences that make you uniquely qualified for each job opening. That means you will need to change your resume and cover letter for each opportunity and be prepared to discuss such experiences in your interviews. Also be sure your LinkedIn profile matches the abilities you state in your resume. One way to do this is to make good use of the free LinkedIn “Add sections” feature (see location in the image below), which allows you to add skills, certifications, courses, honors and awards, patents, and other information to your LinkedIn profile. Find this feature right under the top (main) blue box on your “Edit Profile” page.

5. Use a case study in your cover letter to show how your efforts dramatically helped a company. Include quantifiable results throughout your resume and LinkedIn profile to prove to companies that you can make a positive difference for an employer. Alternatively, consider adding a simple table in your cover letter where in the left box, you feature a requirement of the job opening, such as “3 years of Excel and on the right, list your superior experience, such as “5 years of Excel.”

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Include a simple table in your cover letter to show your superior abilities.

6. Include impressive samples to show your abilities when you apply via email or mail, or when you apply for a job through an online system that allows you to include documents.

7. Volunteer for nonprofits (especially ones with influential business leader board members) where you can use your skills. By doing so, you can better the world … and impress people who can influence hiring decisions at their companies.

8. Most importantly, work your network. Your next job will most likely come about because someone you know knows how good you are and recommends you highly for a position. Make sure your former coworkers and friends know a) that you are job seeking b) what kind of jobs you want and c) how to send you leads both by phone and email. Remind them frequently that you are looking and keep them updated on your progress … people have a short attention span!

What other ways can people land a job without a degree (or the right degree)?
Please share your tips! Kathy


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  1. i've read that lot of people get into positions not relating to their college degree very often, so this makes sense.

  2. i've read that lot of people get into positions not relating to their college degree very often, so this makes sense.


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