April 19, 2011

How to Get the Job You Want – Without a College Education

You don’t always need four+ years to get a great job. Depending on the industry that interests you, sometimes you can get a start with just an associate’s degree, or even just a high school diploma. You have to be realistic – if you want to be a doctor, you need a college education (several years of it, as a matter of fact) – but that doesn’t mean there are no high-paying jobs out there available for employees with little formal education. How do you get this kind of top-paying job if your resume doesn’t shine? Check out these tips:

  • Prove that you have the skills.

You might not be able to get a top-paying job right away if you don’t have a college education, but what you can do is get an entry-level position and work you way up the ladder. Even if you start in a minimum wage position, such as working in retail, you can slowly become a shift manager and then a store manager or even a regional manager. If you spend the time gaining experience with a single company and prove that you can do a good job, you lack of formal education won’t matter as much.

  • Line up amazing recommendations.

If you don’t have a college degree, network, network, network! the more people you know, the more people who will recommend you for jobs, especially if they’ve worked with you in the past. This goes back to my first point – if you work in an entry-level position, you can prove that you’re good at your job. Even if you don’t stay with the same company, if you do a good job, your bosses and managers will be willing to recommend you or be references.

  • Leverage the skills you do have.

Ok, so you don’t have a college education – what do you have? Do you have volunteer experience? Do you have security clearances? Do you have a military record? Do you have diplomas or certificates of completion for training programs? Do you have experience as a scout leader or PTA president? These are all things you can include on your resume! Don’t overlook your achievements and skills, even if they are non-traditional. Most of the top-paying positions are leadership roles, so anything that shows you have leadership experience is great to add to your resume.

  • Consider an industry change.

Sometimes, finding a better job is as simple as considering different industries. For example, if you work as a nurse or in another medical position, many of which only require an associate’s degree or diploma, pay extremely well, since workers in this industry are in high demand. Do some research to find out what is in demand in the area where you’d like to live.

  • Become an entrepreneur.

If you’re your own boss, you don’t need to have an impressive resume, just an incredible drive and work ethic. Not every business succeeds, but if you do your homework to ensure that you have a solid business plan and take a few classes on entrepreneurship, the sky is the limit as to how much you can earn as a business owner.

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