There is no arguing that college is a pivotal time in the lives of many people. It offers plenty of opportunities to explore, learn, and experience life.
That said, giving the somewhat obsolete college education a try is not something that everyone does. While some choose to turn down the college path due to unaffordability, others have their personal reasons.
Regardless, there is a silver lining here. True, not everyone can be a Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates after dropping out of college.
But today, there are thousands of people that are navigating their job search without a college degree. And the job market is much more encouraging to them.
If you find yourself in this position, there are a few ways you can improve your chances in the job search.
1. Tailor your resume
When you craft a winning resume, you have to highlight your skills, expertise, and experience that qualify you for the role you are applying for. When you meet these criteria, a lack of a degree will not stand out to the recruiters as an obvious fault.
That said, it might be tricky to tailor your job application in this way. Considering that a resume is an excellent way to invest in your career, do not hesitate to get professional help if needed.
Professional resume building services such as Skillhub.com give you access to career advice experts who can create tailored resumes for you. These will help you to put forward yourself in the best package, most attractive to the recruiting firms.
2. Look for jobs that do not require college degrees
If you do not have an established experience, it would be best to start with jobs that do not have a degree as a requirement.
For instance, many technical and design positions are often based on performance or portfolios. In fact, colleges do not always teach you the practical skills required in coding and design.
You often gain them through experience. Unless the resume scanning software specifically looks for degrees, your resume will pass through the first few rounds.
Therefore, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that even the major technology companies such as Apple and Google do not mind hiring candidates without a degree. All they are looking for is evidence of your capabilities to perform the task.
3. Send speculative applications
Are you only targeting advertised roles but to no avail? It might be time to shift your strategy. You have to go in search of jobs in a place where you would love to work.
Making a speculative application only means that you reach out to organizations to enquire whether they have a suitable position open for you.
It is an effective method to bypass the recruiters and impress your employer directly.
That said, there are also chances that you might not get any response at all. Ensure that you research the best person to contact and tweak your application with strengths that match the company’s interests.
4. Keep an eye out for internships and work experience
Not every recruiter might be willing to offer jobs to candidates without a degree or experience. However, you could turn these rejections into opportunities to gain work experience. If you reframe your application or make it evident that you are willing to work as an intern, your chances will definitely increase.
This approach is instrumental if you do not have any relevant experience in your chosen industry yet. Internship positions in small and medium-sized companies might not be advertised, and these are the best places for you to get hands-on learning. It is well worth sending your speculative resume.
5. Try freelancing
There are plenty of reasons why freelancing is becoming increasingly popular. Apart from being your own boss and the flexibility, all you need is evidence of your skills to convince your clients. Not every customer will want to see your degree.
The advantage of freelancing is that you can directly contact your prospective clients through established websites such as Fiverr and Upwork.
A degree is seldom a prerequisite to sign up on these platforms. Moreover, you will be able to gain valuable experience that you can use to build your resume for conventional jobs.
6. Pursue online certifications
In a world where even college degrees are awarded over the internet, online courses indeed hold value in the job market. Even those who graduated seem to be taking online certifications to reinforce their resumes. If this is an option for you, it can be an excellent way to reach your career goals.
Whatever your field of interest is, you can easily find online courses at your respective level. You can even do a variety of training programs that can be transferable to any sector. For instance, coding has its applications in the back-end of almost every industry.
When you do this, make sure that your resume highlights these programs as your education.
7. Build your network
Whether you have a college degree or not, having someone else put a good word for you will always have its perks. Networking is no longer only about getting recommendations. Rather, it is merely a matter of helping each other out to land better opportunities.
It does not always mean getting more interviews, but your contacts can make introductions and even serve as a referral for your skills. With social media, you do not even have to leave the comfort of your home to network with others.
8. Target realistic jobs
As much as you are enthusiastic about getting a job, if you do not have relevant experience, the reality is that you will have to start at the bottom of the ladder. Look at it this way. Even if you have a college degree, your graduate job is highly likely to be in an entry-level position.
It is natural to expect a little pushback, but don’t be deterred. And most importantly, do not take rejection personally. It is not always due to the lack of a college degree.
You cannot start the job search assuming that everyone will respond the same way. On the other hand, if you are willing to compromise, you could reach for heights.