No college experience. So how do you get your foot in the door?
May 15, 2017 9:54 AM   Subscribe

I'm good at my job (Client Services, Service Delivery, etc) and my resume reflects that. Unfortunately, I have no college experience. This gets me filtered out immediately all the time. Is there a way to overcome that aside from "ask for jobs from people who actually know you"?

I have an industry-related cert that makes me more attractive than someone without, so there's that, but I don't have my PMP (yet) and the job I'm seeking currently would ideally be one that allows me to acquire the phase-specific experience required for eligibility.

My LinkedIn profile is up-to-date, but is brand new. I'm recently unemployed, so currently building a professional network of ex-coworkers and upper management who worked with me. I've been told by my mentor and a relative in the industry as well that my profile seems aspirational, as if I'm asking for consideration for roles greater than I can justly achieve. I value their imput so I'm trying to sort out making it more humble without actually removing any of the actual work experience I have. Aspirational or not, I'm being honest about the duties I performed.

The lack of college experience, however, appears to be my biggest stumbling block and I'm sort of at a loss about how to mitigate this. I suspect there isn't really anything to be done about it in the near-term but it never hurts to Ask Metafilter.
posted by radiosilents to Work & Money (3 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Can you go back to college? Part-time, perhaps?
posted by MythMaker at 10:17 AM on May 15 [5 favorites]

What industry are you in? I'm very similar to you (but I didn't even have any industry certifications until very recently) - I have done very well in digital agencies and studios. They seem more amenable to "no degree" than most other sorts of places. In less than ten years I went from junior account management to senior, then moved to digital project management, and am now an operations director at a small digital studio.
posted by cilantro at 10:19 AM on May 15 [3 favorites]

Have you tried smaller companies, or startups? And, how compelling a story is your existing experience? Companies (especially larger ones) use college degrees as a screening method, sometimes because of the knowledge or perspectives they want candidates to have, but a lot of the time just because it's an easy to identify signal.

There are plenty of smart and capable people who stick to commitments, persevere through challenges, and never went to (or finished) college. But a lot of employers just use "has degree" as a signal that the candidate is smart and keeps commitments.

How's your cover letter game? A strong cover letter (if you can get someone to read it) might go a long way. The cover letter is your chance to call out key reasons why you'd be a good fit. You could use the cover letter to address specific concerns you think the degree requirement/preference is there for.
posted by reeddavid at 5:16 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]

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