college degree

To Degree or Not to Degree

I am about to say something that is quite possibly an unpopular opinion, but still an opinion I feel worth sharing (naturally because it’s mine and I like people knowing what I think).   One of the main conversations I am having with hiring managers every day is about candidates having certain qualifications and requirements to be considered for open positions.  It is important to have qualified candidates to review when hiring; not every person can or should do every job.  Every person has different skills and experiences they bring to the table.  Here is where my potentially unpopular opinion comes in…bear with me.  Having a degree, sometimes a very specific degree is often a requirement for many of the positions that I work on.  My thought – is a degree always necessary?   My opinion – I do not think so. Please don’t stop reading now; hear me out.

Now I realize there are definitely positions and careers that should require degrees. Quite frankly I do not want to be operated on or prescribed medication by someone who thinks their experience with applying bandages to a small cut gives them full knowledge of the human body.  Not ok.  I also think that if I ever needed a lawyer, it would be nice to know they went to school and passed the bar exam.  There are so many more careers where it matters so much to have a degree. All of these professions not only have education and classroom learning, but they also do on the job training, residencies, intern and externships, or student teaching.  Once all of that is completed, then they have to get their certifications and licenses.  Just because there are stringent qualifications for some professions, I do not think that is or should be the case for all professions. 

Why do a lot of employers want a degree? I think having a degree does show a lot about a person.  In college, you learn to study, follow direction, listen, manage a schedule on your own, manage your own money (hopefully), communicate with individuals who are different from you, work hard, and so on. It does make sense to me why going to college is so important. I went to college. I got my bachelor’s degree in business and human resources management.  I wouldn’t take back those college years for anything. I grew so much and changed. I made tons of friends, and in college is where the path I decided to take for my life really started.  That being said, in my opinion, my degree is not necessary for me to be good at my job.  I do not use much of the information I learned in college for what I do every day.  Some people do really, really well in school, but don’t succeed in the “real world.” Some people are great at taking tests, but do not know the art of studying or preparing.  That is my beef with trusting only a degree or an advanced certification. 

Some of the hardest workers and best people at their jobs are ones who do not have a degree or ones where their degree is different from what they are doing with their career.  Don’t miss out on really great employees who can make the biggest difference in your organization because their 20 years of experience doesn’t include a degree. Instead of eliminating candidates from consideration immediately if they don’t have a degree, I am suggesting that we look deeper.  I ask that we be managers who would put priority on candidates who have on the job experience, who are hard workers, passionate individuals, team players, and street smart individuals, who can jump right in and learn jobs and do them well.  You can’t train soft skills as easily as you can train technical skills. 

I am genuinely interested in hearing your thoughts and opinions.  Please comment or reach out to me.  As always, I am here to help in any way that I can in your career or with any of your organization’s staffing needs. Visit our website to view some of the available candidates (with and without degrees) who we’re working with as well as some of our open job (requiring and not requiring degrees).  I am here to discuss what your needs are and how I can help.  I promise I’ll still work with you if you’re going to require a degree.

Chelsea Liska, Aureus Group Account Manager

Chelsea Liska
Chelsea has been with Aureus Group since September 2011, and currently is an Account Manager for the Iowa market. Chelsea works with clients to discuss their staffing needs and assist in finding them the perfect candidate to join their team.  She loves when she is able to use her skills to help someone and give them an amazing experience in their candidate and career search. Every day Chelsea gets to be a part of a company that is building into her so that she can build into others. When she isn’t working, she is active in her church. Chelsea loves being active and playing volleyball, golf, softball, snowboarding, working out, and hanging out with her friends and family. Binge watching her favorite shows is definitely a notable skill! She is personally and professionally committed to being an “Energy Ambassador!”

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