Lisa had 15 years of experience in IT. She had a laundry list of projects and budgets under her name at work and successes under her belt. But she had no bachelor’s degree, and it was an embarrassment and concern when she went looking for a job, she told TheLadders reporter Lisa Vaas.
Lisa, who asked that her real name not be used, is not alone. It’s a concern voiced often by a very vocal minority of the TheLadders membership.
Executive careers that were once open to high-school graduates or those with apprenticeships and certifications, particularly IT and sales, are now virtually closed to those individuals, either by spirit or letter of the law. Individuals who started years ago and now commanding high salaries and lofty positions now find themselves struggling to get by HR because they don’t have the parchment paper required. It presents a particular problem for entrepreneurs, many of whom met their own HR requirements years ago and find trouble meeting another’s standards when they decide to work for a large corporation.
In Lisa’s case, she chose to make certain resume demonstrated she was capable regardless of her educational status. With the help of Mary Schumacher, a certified professional resume writer, she demonstrated budgets, responsibilities and teams she managed, projects she led and wins for her employers.
The lack of a degree faded in importance, Lisa said. “She represented me as a higher-level professional,” she said, “somewhat of a generalist, well-rounded, experienced in all facets, not just the technical.”