En Route: A Career Blog

Getting By and Doing Well Without a College Degree

AUTHOR: Darlene Zambruski
CATEGORY: ,
POSTED: October 13, 2009 at 9:14 am

 

by Lou Huskey, CPRW, ResumeEdge.com Editor

Although many employers require a college degree, there are hundreds more that do not. When you find yourself in the job market, it is important to focus on your expertise and specifically target the position by accentuating experience and/or training that parallels what the company or organization is advertising for. Searching for a new position without a degree can be difficult, therefore, a strong resume is imperative and a pointed cover letter can give you the visibility you need.

An Effective Resume Will Showcase Your Strengths

By having your resume professionally written, you give yourself an edge over other candidates who present a document that is self-prepared. Your editor will need you to gather information together to showcase what you have to offer, which can include goals, accomplishments and achievements, leadership abilities, communications and interpersonal skills, computer proficiencies, along with specialized experience related to your field as well as classes and seminars you have attended. Although it is important to have enough detail to encourage the reader to develop an interest in bringing you in for a face-to-face interview, you don’t want to bombard them with too much. When someone runs into a resume that is too long or doesn’t have enough spacing within the body of the document, it can be intimidating and simply not read. Keep in mind that employers are scanning through looking for keywords and phrases that “match” what they are looking for.

Soft Skills are Important Too

Being a well-rounded individual is also important, especially when first starting your career. Many candidates who have very little experience and don’t have a strong academic background should accentuate other areas within their lives that show community involvement, activities where they have gained organizational and motivational skills, team collaboration, training, discipline, adhering to and following guidelines, etc. These are areas that create initial dedication and build character, which can help the reader see you as a person with a strong level of integrity and an outstanding work ethic.

Make Certain Your Cover Letter is Effective

A cover letter can often times allow the candidate to “speak” about what they have to offer in a more informal way and target each job and company based on in-depth research of both the organization and their employment needs. It is simply a way to introduce yourself and touch on highlights they will find in your resume. There is no need to mention that you don’t have a degree, but it can be helpful to indicate how your background (both work experience and/or what education you do have) has prepared you for the type position you are applying for.

When an advertisement indicates that potential applicants should have a college degree, it never hurts to go ahead and submit your resume anyway. Sometimes companies will list this need but end up hiring someone who has a strong background that fits the job requirements. Don’t rule yourself out by not applying for the position. They may not respond, but if you haven’t submitted your resume, you can be assured that you will not hear anything back!

Lacking a College Degree Shouldn’t Hold You Back

In closing, simply remember that an education is typically the first step in securing a rewarding career opportunity. Even if you haven’t had a chance to pursue a degree, present yourself in a professional manner that demonstrates how you will prove to be a very valuable employee. You should come across as an individual who feels quite confident as a potential asset to your next company.

Lou Huskey served over 25 years in creating effective resumes as a professional recruiter first with a private employment agency, then with Management Recruiters, and eventually as owner of her own recruiting and consulting firm. She is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and has prepared thousands of resumes for candidates at all levels over the span of her career. Lou has a solid understanding of exactly what prospective employers are looking for in a resume and how to “sell” an individual’s background by creating effective resumes, cover letters, follow-up and thank you letters for each of her clients. Her expertise also includes a strong knowledge of interview strategies and career counseling, which has proven to be of great value in assisting individuals to be successful in face-to-face interviews with prospective employers.

To request Lou for a service on ResumeEdge.com, simply choose her last name (huskey) in the ‘select your editor’ field.

  • http://techstop.abidshafiq.com/ java

    I wouldn’t worry about making any serious money right now. You can either learn a trade or go to school. Even though you aren’t sure what you want to do for a career right now, I would still take some of the classes that are likely required for most degrees. You are living at home so I assume you don’t have any serious responsibilities like raising kids. I would take full advantage of your situation if I was you and prepare for your future. As long as you are preparing for your future, I wouldn’t worry about money or anything else except for getting by until you find out what you want to do and get a job doing it. If you don’t do anything while you have the opportunity, you will very likely be stuck in dead end jobs for the rest of your life. I’m in your situation and have come to this realization recently. I will be starting school next semester. I found what I wanted to do by researching jobs that pay well, and found the one that sounded appealing. The only thing I can say is I wish I took school more seriously when I was younger, but its better late than never. Good luck.

Darlene Z.

Darlene Zambruski is a resume writing expert and CPRW (Certified Professional Resume Writer) with more than 13 years of industry experience. She has authored 10,000+ resumes in every industry and at every career level.

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