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Getting employers to look past education and focus on experience

Dear Deb:

I think I am being screened out of the selection process because I do not have a college degree.  I have worked in the logistics department for a manufacturing company for 12 years.  They are closing the U.S. office in 6 weeks.  I have been searching for 3 months in anticipation of the layoff.  I notice that many of the companies have a screening questionnaire asking my level of education.  I don’t want to lie, but I just need to get my foot in the door.  What can I do?     Rick M.

Dear Rick:

Honesty is the best policy.  If you say “yes” when the answer is “no,” it will be discovered.  The good news is that you have experience.   You’ll notice that some job postings will ask for a degree or a certain amount of experience required.  That can offset the lack of a degree.  For some employers, that is more important than a degree.

If employers are screening out just based on a degree before they even read your résumé, there is not much you can do.  Regardless you should make sure you have a résumé that presents all of your skills and accomplishments.  The best way to show your potential for future success is through past achievements.   To demonstrate your industry and occupational knowledge, highlight professional certifications, relevant courses you have completed, and training programs you have conducted or created.  Also, if you start a college degree program, that can be added to your résumé as a degree in progress. 

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Dear Deb:

I think I am being screened out of the selection process because I do not have a college degree.  I have worked in the logistics department for a manufacturing company for 12 years.  They are closing the U.S. office in 6 weeks.  I have been searching for 3 months in anticipation of the layoff.  I notice that many of the companies have a screening questionnaire asking my level of education.  I don’t want to lie, but I just need to get my foot in the door.  What can I do?     Rick M.

Dear Rick:

Honesty is the best policy.  If you say “yes” when the answer is “no,” it will be discovered.  The good news is that you have experience.   You’ll notice that some job postings will ask for a degree or a certain amount of experience required.  That can offset the lack of a degree.  For some employers, that is more important than a degree.

If employers are screening out just based on a degree before they even read your résumé, there is not much you can do.  Regardless you should make sure you have a résumé that presents all of your skills and accomplishments.  The best way to show your potential for future success is through past achievements.   To demonstrate your industry and occupational knowledge, highlight professional certifications, relevant courses you have completed, and training programs you have conducted or created.  Also, if you start a college degree program, that can be added to your résumé as a degree in progress. 

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