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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Getting a Job Without a Degree

Personal education is the key to moving yourself beyond your peers and contributing more to your future. The importance of a degree is in the numbers. The U.S. Board of Labor Statistics states that those with a degree earn an average of $54,000 annually. However, if you’re looking for work right now and haven’t finished a degree, you may be wondering what career choices are there with no education. There are actually quite a few employment opportunities that require experience and job skills that would look at a degree in progress as a good thing, because you are studying the current practices and theories in the field. You may be interested in internships and volunteering opportunities that would give you even more experience as you earn your degree. For most jobs, it’s all about what you know and how you sell yourself that will get you the job.

The resume is an essential part of the job search. So, how do you list a degree in progress? You can add your degree’s information and list the courses that you have taken already. Advanced and specialized courses will especially look good on your resume. You also don’t have to state that it is a degree in progress. You can simply leave the date of completion off the resume. When you are interviewed, you can clarify your skills and go in depth about your experiences at school to show your dedication to the field. With this technique, you show that you are committed to school, learning the latest practices in the industry and that you are excited about your future in this role.

Degrees in progress can also help you with experience. Courses may teach you new techniques or take you into the field. In some cases, employers may recognize your academic excellence and want to hire you, offering to even help pay for your training. For example, business schools often coordinate with companies to offer internships and on-the-job training. You can show your experience level and knowledge with an affiliate and give yourself more opportunities to work with a company in your field. The important part here is using your educational network to place yourself near the companies that you want to work with. Through networking, you can meet a potential employer directly related to your degree.

Entry-level positions will be the most lenient in your employment search, as experience will be more beneficial than education. If you can find ways to volunteer in your field, you can add more experience and show your life-learned knowledge to be more important to an employer. There are some employers who work exclusively with college students as well, such as Verizon Wireless, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Target, The Sherwin-Williams Company and AT&T. You can see a complete listing of employers who hire entry-level at

College students have the most to offer employers because they need work and don’t have the experience yet to qualify for a higher salary. However, there is a lot of room for job growth and training that an employer can also offer you. A starter job doesn’t have to be forever. In your career search, remember to be reasonable about your expectations but apply to jobs that you know you are qualified for. Employers hate to waste time on a potential candidate, so be sure to look at the requirements. An employer who is adamant about having a master’s or doctorate degree will not want to hire an entry-level college student.

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