Discover Your Path Through Work Experience

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If you are without a degree or work experience, read on. If you don’t know which field to pursue, you are in good company!  We acknowledge this spot can make you little unsure of yourself and your future. Finding jobs without a degree can be tricky; cultivating a career without a degree is an art-form.

Some people always know what they want to be ‘when they grow up’. Some people figure it out in high school.

Honestly, an advantage to attending college is the exposure students get to different subjects, perspectives and fields. Attending college can help you discover where your skills and interests lie.

So, you don’t have that advantage. But, as a person in need of the same self-discovery, you will need to treat your work experience and career path in the same manner.

Make your experience work FOR YOU as much as your work for it

Treat your first couple of jobs like college Gen-Eds (these are the basic classes you will take in your first couple of years of college, such as math, science, writing, history etc.) Choose a job in a broad field, like customer service. If you decide that after your first job, you don’t enjoy customer service, you will be closer to understanding what you do enjoy and thrive in. You can aim for a different field in your next job. If you like it, awesome! You can continue to work within customer service and gradually seek promotions within either the same or competing companies.

Create a reputation of reliability through your experience

In terms of first jobs, you need to make your experience count. Even if you don’t like the job you’re working, finish out the job with at least 6 months of employment under your belt, preferably one year. Remember, Gen-Ed classes in college are not known for being particularly enjoyable. Keeping this analogy in mind can help you stay motivated until these prerequisite jobs are out of the way. Hang in there.

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Once you have had a couple of jobs lasting 6+ months each, you will have a better idea of what you’d like to pursue next. You will also have a foundation of work experience on your resume! This will open some doors for you. Unfortunately, some hiring managers won’t consider your resume if it has a handful of jobs you worked for less than 6 months. Remember, it’s important to convey reliability on your resume, especially when there isn’t a degree listed.

Get more specific with your third or fourth work experience

If your first jobs were in customer service, and you have discovered this is a field you can thrive in, try to narrow down exactly what kind of establishment you want to work in next. In the customer service example, consider: Hospitality vs. Food & Beverage vs. Telemarketing etc. Treat your third and fourth jobs like your third and fourth years in college. There will be more of a concentration, and you will have more of a foundation of knowledge.

From here, you have experience and awareness of your skills and preferences. You have confidence. You are in a better place to make specific decisions about your future. Break a leg! Let us know how it goes.

Did we miss something you would have liked to see in this article? How did you navigate the workforce while also discovering your personal strengths and inclinations, Sans the Degree? We’d love to hear from you, so comment or send an email!

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