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A common concern for some job seekers is that they lack a formal degree or training. They may have several years of experience in the industry, but they either have not gone to college or did not complete the program to obtain their official degree. However, this does not necessarily have to stand in their way of getting a job.

Many job postings have a list of requirements or qualifications that applicants should have. Oftentimes employers will note a specific degree they prefer but then follow that up with “or relevant experience.” They understand that education is not the be all end all as to whether or not an applicant is qualified for the job. There are many people who have acquired extensive on the job training that allows them to perform exceptionally well. If you are concerned about not having a degree, here are some other ways to ramp up your resume and show you are a good fit:

  • Stress your accomplishments. Show the impact that you have made in your current and previous positions. Try to include quantifiable results to present a stronger impression and further proof of your capabilities. While you may not have a specific degree, your experience and achievements can show that you are still capable of producing impressive results. Let projects portray your skill sets and training and use metrics to show achievement.
  • Include any relevant education or training. If you started a degree program but did not finish, it can still be worthwhile to mention. You could say, “Coursework in XYZ” to show that you do have some formal classes under your belt. If you have received any certifications or attended professional development classes, these can be valuable additions as well. They show that you are staying current with best practices and necessary skills in the industry.
  • List education last. Rather than mentioning partial education or training at the top, shift this section down to the bottom. This will allow employers to focus on your relevant experience and accomplishments first.
  • Prove your value. Don’t let the lack of a degree deter you from applying for a job that you know you are qualified for. Ensure that your resume has a solid list of core competencies that align with target keywords for the opening. Incorporate strong action verbs to make statements pack more of a punch. Make sure to highlight those projects, activities, or results that really make you stand out and show you can fulfill the requirements of the job you are applying for.

There are many highly successful professionals who did not complete college. They have worked their way up in their career and developed the skills and training necessary to excel. When applying for jobs, it is a matter of being able to show that you have what it takes and can get the job done. That, even with a lack of formal education, you have the on-the-job experience, knowledge, and skills that qualify you for the job and make you stand out from other applicants.