There’s this little technology company, you’ve probably heard of it, called Microsoft. It only has 90,000 employees and a revenue of more than $70 billion in 2011. This wildly successful company was founded by Bill Gates, who was the richest man in the world during the early 2000s. There’s actually something very interesting about Bill Gates that many people don’t know.
He never graduated from college.
While he is an extreme example of success without a college degree, there are things you can do to achieve your career goals without attending a university. Here are some hints to help guide you when looking for a job without a degree.
Start at the Bottom and Give it Time
Sometimes slow and steady wins the race, especially if you’re just starting out and have very little experience. Consider industries that let you work into management positions without a college degree like real estate, aviation, sales, construction, or transportation.
The entry-level jobs in these industries may not be the highest paying jobs compared to jobs requiring a college degree, but if you demonstrate hard work ethics and grow in experience, you could move into higher paying jobs. It won’t be overnight, but it’s obtainable.
It’s All Who You Know
Employers are much more likely to promote hire someone they know and are familiar with compared to a stranger. That’s why it’s important to connect with people inside and outside your desired industry. If employers are familiar with your accomplishments and abilities, when possible, they will be willing to look past college degree requirements.
Make sure your resume and cover letter are in top shape. Include a phrase like,“did not obtain a bachelor’s degree” or something to that extent on your resume so it will get picked up by applicant tracking systems’ keyword searches. That way, you’ll have a better chance of talking to a decision maker.
To help get your foot in the door, call employers and ask to schedule an informative interviews to find out what skills and abilities are most needed in your desired industry. You will improve your interviewing skills, make strong connections, and develop a stronger career plan.
Expand Your Skills
To help develop your skills and experience, consider taking an apprenticeship, freelancing, volunteering, or working through a staffing agency. These are excellent ways to learn real skills and experience from highly skilled mentors to position you to move up in your career without a college degree.
Do some research to see if you need any specialized certification or skills to be qualified to work in your desired field. Those are great questions to ask during an informational interview or when being trained by someone. Some certifications might not be necessary to work, but can help you develop and grow your skills so you can market yourself better.
There are several different paths you can take to achieve your career goals. You just have to find the one that works best for you. Hopefully, you can use one of these suggestions above and find real success in your job search. If you want to learn about some great jobs that don’t require a college education, check out this list to help you get started. What are some of your success stories of finding a job without a degree?
I also believe that there is this “thing” called EXPERIENCE. I am finding out that most employers want all this college degree(s) and have left out experience that an employee has developed over the years in a field that they are experienced in doing the job. Experience comes over the years that you have achieved in doing the job as the years progress in that particular field. I think you should try to use EXPERIENCE instead of so many college degrees that you should (have) to achieve in order to be hired into a job.
Thanks for the comment, Spencer. Everybody’s career path is different, and one way doesn’t work for everybody. Experience is important, even a necessity. It’s something I had trouble proving after graduating from college during the Great Recession, but there are several benefits that come with the experience you gain from college other than earning a piece of paper. Thanks again for the insight!