The Credential Trap

I have decades of experience and have earned my way to vice president with one of the premier organizations in my field.

My time there ended because of pandemic restructuring, but it was an amazing experience with talented colleagues and a robust alumni network that has been generous with endorsements and connections.

I’ve gotten to second-round interviews for senior positions at new companies but have been stopped by the college degree question. I did attend community college but never earned a degree. For whatever reason that track wasn’t emphasized or encouraged for me. I got to work and made my way.

How do I effectively — but in a nondefensive way — push back on this requirement? I’ve got a lot to offer in a hot field (supply chain) and I can’t allow something that should’ve happened over 30 years ago to get in my way! Christine, New York

Reading this query my first thought was more things change the more they stay the same.  I agree with Gay, who states, “Too many companies worship at the altar of credentials, and in doing so they overlook incredibly qualified candidates who could benefit their organizations. The best thing you can do is highlight your decades of experience. Your résumé is your credential. There is nothing you could learn at college that you haven’t already learned over the course of your career.”  I would also encourage this in,  ,or paid college tuition, and agree to go back to school on their dime, and as Gay, stated rely on your network “make sure your references are willing to talk about your experience, highlighting your contributions over the years.’

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