Want the Job, Don’t Have the Degree? Here’s How to Land the Offer


Three of the most interesting words you will regularly come across in a job description are “or equivalent experience.” What that means is employers understand not everyone has the exact degree they’re looking for exactly. They know the value of experience. But that doesn’t mean because you have been working in the industry for several years you will be able to out-compete those with the degrees an employer is looking for. It takes positioning and strategy to land the job. Here are four things you can do to show employers you are perfectly qualified for the job, even without the degree.

Show Understanding

What employers are really looking for is someone who can help them achieve more than what they can do on their own. That takes skill and knowledge beyond what they currently have access to. Help them understand your value to their company by talking about how you can help meet those needs. Show that understanding and focus on what is unique about your experience that the average graduate wouldn’t be able to bring to the table with their limited experience.

Position Your Experience

Given that employers receive many, many applications for most jobs, it makes sense that they pick the most qualified of the candidates to come in for an interview. But without the degree they’re looking for, you need to know specifically what else hiring managers are looking for. Relevant skills and experience should be at the top of your resume to position yourself appropriately. Highlight your greatest successes. Showcase your documented results to give them an idea of what you could do for them if you were hired. Growing a team is hard work. Make it easy on your hiring manager and show them why you are the most qualified applicant.

Focus on Development

The ability to grow and expand within a role is one of the most valuable skills an employee can bring to a position. If you are looking to step into a role that asks for more training or knowledge than you currently possess, make sure you present yourself as a motivated and able learner. Nobody steps into a new role knowing everything, but the hires who can learn what they need to learn quickly and efficiently are the ones who succeed long term.

Think Outside the Resume

It’s not just a cover letter and a resume that gets someone hired. It’s the personal connection that they can make with the hiring manager. If your application reads like you are a robot, chances are the employer won’t be interested enough to want to work with you. Sometimes you need to do something different to stand out from the crowd. Consider visiting the office directly. Connect with employers on social media. Learn as much as you can about the company and about the team you want to join so they know how committed you are to the role before you are even hired. One of the worst situations is when a hiring manager makes a mistake and hires the wrong person. Don’t let them think that might be you.

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