Don’t Meet the Degree Requirements in a Job Ad? Apply Anyway! December 14, 2009

degree_requirementsIn today’s job market, employers can be as picky as they want with the credential and degree requirements they list in their job openings. The applicant pool is big and competition is high.

Without a doubt, this can be intimidating to the millions of job seekers that are looking for employment, but don’t meet the degree requirements listed for the job opportunities that appeal to them. For these folks, whose sights are set on pursuing a new career path or moving up the ladder, unsuccessful attempts at obtaining your degree can come back to haunt you. These people aren’t few and far between, either: More than 40% of students who started at a four-year institution have not finished after 6 years, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

If you know you’ve got everything it takes to do the job well minus that one piece of paper citing the completion of your degree program, don’t let that stop you from applying.

Many job seekers might argue that getting your foot in the door is half the battle. To increase your chances of getting past the initial screening, do not lie on your resume or omit the details of your education entirely. Katy Piotrowski, a career counselor based in Colorado, recently recommended to the New York Times her tips for overcoming degree requirements: under the Education section of your resume, write “bachelor’s studies” next to the name of the college you attended.

If you do get the interview, Katy points out that there’s no need to mention you don’t have a degree unless you’re specifically asked. While I agree with that statement, you should absolutely prepare yourself with an answer in case it is addressed. Be honest but brief about the challenges you faced in completing your degree, and leave any emotional or questionable details out of your response. Use this as an opportunity to remind the interviewer of the skills and strengths you have that will lend to your success if offered the position.

With all of this said, it might be time to reconsider the completion of your degree program. How many classes did you have left to take before dropping out? Would you qualify for financial aid to help you go back to school? Will you constantly face challenges about your degree by hiring managers as you progress through this career path?

Think about it. When you’re ready, OnlineDegreeFinder can match you to degree programs that you can take on your own time to put you back on the competitive edge.

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