No degree, No job?

Often, while perusing the job postings, you'll see listed under the requirements section wordsuch as "Bachelor's degree or equivalent."

Does this mean that those without a degree need not apply? Not necessarily.

Although many corporate cultures require that their employees be degreed regardless of their position or length of experience, others will allow the degree to be trumped by industry experience. This is especially true for those job postings that have a degree **or equivalent** tagged to them. As such, you may have a chance when you lack the degree. Generally speaking, a degree will usually be mandatory for those younger candidates lacking solid, relevant job experience. The operative word here is "equivalent" and how that is defined.

Sell Results Instead

While these employers may have different requirements for equivalent experience, a good rule of thumb is to demonstrate past performance and proven results in your previous work. To accomplish this, your goal is to show how you either make money or save money for your employer.

From your past work experience, develop as many specific instances when you actually have done so. If you can attach a dollar-value to several of those, so much the better.? Put these in your resume.

Here are some actual examples:

  • "Responsible for generating 13 new accounts by creating database and mailing piece."
  • "Increased revenue by 38% from new social market bookings."
  • "Chaired meetings and headed the negotiation discussion that resulted in the settlement of a long protracted contractual and legal issue with the subcontractor and client."
  • "Improved cash collection and debt aging from average 100 days to a more manageable 30 days and realized savings of about $276,000."
  • "Reduced turnover by 45% over previous management within 15 months through my training program and development plans."
  • "Won the Leadership and Excellence Award in 2007 for outstanding achievements during my project management role."
  • "Increased our customer satisfaction survey scores by 32% on average by training my team on the proper way to provide a great customer experience."

Showcase Your Main Strength

You should also have a USP (Unique Selling Proposition) near the top of your resume. Also called a "Personal Branding Statement," this is a short, one-sentence "pitch" that describes who you are in about 15 seconds. Your USP should state the single greatest strength you offer and the biggest benefit that you bring to an employer.

Example: "Hospitality business development professional with a strength in creative sales and marketing techniques that generated $500,000 in new revenue for my employer in 12 months."

You can outweigh the formal education by showing exactly how your specific work has benefited your previous employer. The bottom line is that employers today, more than ever, want to have problem-solvers on board. Though you may have no degree, you can prove yourself a resource that fits into their larger profit and loss picture. If you can demonstrate that, you can get hired.