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No Degree, No Problem: Overcoming Academic Requirements in a Job App

For some job applicants, academic requirements can be a serious roadblock on the path to a new job. This often happens when employers are facing a mountain of resumes for an open position and need to find arbitrary but hard cut-offs to narrow the stack.

So if you fall into this group of people, what can you do to overcome this obstacle? How can you let employers know that you have the smarts, ambition, and passion to succeed in this position, even if you have a degree in an unrelated discipline or no degree at all?

Here are a few tips.

1. Avoid HR.

HR managers are usually more serious about arbitrary cut-offs than the actual managers who oversee an open position. HR departments operate on broad terms and rigid rules, so if possible, bypass this first gate by submitting your resume directly to the managers who will interview you. Get your foot in the door by submitting directly to their email addresses or delivering your resume in person.

2. Take some courses.

Even if you don't have the required degree in business or public health, a few courses can demonstrate that you're serious about this discipline and you understand the basics, at least. If you're actively pursuing a four-year degree in this subject area, then by all means, make this known in both your resume and cover letter.

3. Personal connections win the day…every time.

Network. Talk to everyone you know. Make friends and start conversations everywhere you go. The more you work to build and maintain a wide web of relationships, the more you'll be judged and evaluated on face-to-face contact instead of a list of check-offs and bullet points. The testimonial of a friend (or friend of a friend) offers a faster route in the door than a dry fact listed on a piece of paper.

4. Emphasize your experience.

When it comes to determining what you can do, smart managers always look closely at what you've already done. And they give more weight to the things you've done than the things you've said, the things you've studied, or the things you'd like to do in the future. Make your actual experience in this field (any of all of it) very clear.

Lean on the Strength of Your Resume

Before you take another step, visit MyPerfectResume and use an industry-leading resume builder to bring your work history, ambitions, experience, and non-academic credentials into the foreground. Make it clear that you have what it takes to succeed, with or without a specific degree in hand.

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