Employers, You May Be Missing Out

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Dear companies large and small, potential employers, HR delegates, etc.,

I feel the need to educate you on an important issue. I’ve learned over the years (the hard way) that many of you will not hire someone who does not have a college degree. It will not matter if they’re highly experienced in their field, or if they qualify for a position you are in need of filling, or even if their resume matches your job description otherwise to a T. If they don’t have that piece of paper, you will not even consider them. And I feel that you are truly missing out here.

I am not a college graduate and I have no degree. There. It’s out there for the world to see. I never wore the cap and gown, listened to a commencement speech or recieved a piece of paper validating my intelligence. I started college twice, in fact, and never finished for a variety of personal reasons, none of which includes not having the desire to finish.

I have been out of work for any length of time to speak of exactly twice in my lifetime. Both then and now, I have been turned down for positions for which I am perfectly qualified (even over-qualified, in some cases) specifically because I do not hold a degree. And I’m afraid that this is truly your loss.

You may feel that someone who does not hold a degree lacks the commitment you’re looking for in a potential employee. But you’re mistaken. Those of us who have committed our years to our chosen field as opposed to the classroom are a testament to commitment. The knowledge and life experience we have accumulated out in the world during that time has matured us, trained us, shaped us and prepared us better for any career, I feel, than sitting and taking written tests and listening to lectures ever could have.

And yet, we are consistently made to feel unintelligent and uneducated, as if not completing college or having that degree is something to be ashamed of or embarrassed about.

I am not an uneducated person by any means. My life has been my education, and I am constantly learning and growing. I read voraciously. I expand my vocabulary. I educate myself. Unfortunately, there is no degree for being self-taught. Yet the benefits are equal to or greater than those I could have received in a controlled educational environment.

Do I think formal education is important? Absolutely. Because of my own personal experiences with this issue, I have drilled into my children’s heads how crucial it is in today’s world to have a degree. But it isn’t everything. It should NEVER be the be-all and end-all to landing a good job. A person’s character, life skills, experience in a field and personal commitment should be the deciding factors. Not whether or not they hold a piece of paper.

So, I beseech you, before passing over that resume only because it does not have “graduate of such-and-such college or university” on it, seriously reconsider. Give that person a second look. They could turn out to be the best and most dedicated employee you could ever hope for.

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