Searching for a new job can be hard work. It’s also stressful because there’s no guarantee of feedback. All you might hear back is months of silence, and that doesn’t tell you whether your resume is a still a contender, if you didn’t meet the job requirements, or if something is wrong with your documents. That means you have to do your own optimizing and critically evaluate your own applications. One of the most significant factors between moving onto the interview stage and getting removed from the cycle without a response is a college degree. Here’s how:
1. Most resumes aren’t read by a person first.
Every part of business is getting more and more automated. This includes the human resources department. The Internet and aggregating job sites like Indeed, Monster, and SimplyHired mean that HR recruiters get thousands of applications for every position. They don’t have time to read through all of them, so they filter through them using the website’s tools or through internal SaaS interfaces.
The last time you submitted your application through a job site, you might have seen the signs of this. The application would end with three to five questions about your availability, your college degree, and years of experience. If you didn’t select the answers the employer was looking for, the site would let you know that your answers didn’t match the profile.
Not all programs are so transparent and up front when your application is declined. However, if the job description and qualifications explicitly state that the company is looking for someone with a degree, that factor will almost certainly be an automatic filter. Applications that have ‘no’ checked for the degree option, have ‘two-year degree’ checked instead of ‘four-year degree’ or ‘Master’s degree,’ or which don’t have an ‘Education’ section on the pasted resume will be thrown away. HR recruiters use these tools to comb through thousands of different answers to find the exact combination they’re looking for.
In these circumstances, work experience and alternative training or certifications aren’t enough. If the company requires a degree for the open position, your application will likely be passed on without one. You need a degree to get to the second round of resume searches when an employee sees your specific qualifications and cover letter.
2. Degrees legitimize alternative training and certificates.
Many jobs require specialty certificates and training. Even for the ones that don’t explicitly require proof of expertise, having a paper trail of good training makes you a stronger candidate. This is true for everything from Excel and Microsoft Office training to familiarity with CAD software and a plumbing license.
But these certificates aren’t a replacement for a degree, and having only these could be seen as an attempt to get around the education requirement or, even worse, be seen as certificates from online scams or degree mills. What these additional training notes can do is supplement a degree and make you stand out from the competition. A four-year degree plus additional certificates and work experience are marks of a more promising resume. Unless you are applying for a highly specialized field in which apprentice programs and licenses are known in the industry to be the standard, they are only supplemental.
3. Degrees help you qualify for internal openings.
Once you have a job, the search isn’t necessarily over. There will always be other opportunities available. Consistently updating your resume, keeping your LinkedIn profile current, and adding to your qualifications is the best way to land those opportunities. Sometimes that new job could be with your current employer. Looking for internal position openings lets you get a leg up on the competition. It also allows you to keep what you like about your current job.
Contact us today to find out how to get the most of your Hawaii job search.