A look at the list of 100 Top Entrepreneurs Who succeeded without a College Degree on http://www.youngentrepreneur.com . It showcases some fascinating people and documents their educational attainments .
Here are a few I found interesting;-
Abraham Lincoln, lawyer, U.S. president. Finished one year of formal schooling, self-taught himself trigonometry, and read Blackstone on his own to become a lawyer,
Andrew Carnegie, industrialist and philanthropist, and one of the first mega-billionaires in the US. Elementary school dropout.
David Geffen, billionaire founder of Geffen Records and co-founder of DreamWorks. Dropped out of college after completing one year
David Karp, founder of Tumblr. Dropped out of school at 15, then homeschooled. Did not attend college.
Frank Lloyd Wright, the most influential architect of the twentieth century. Never attended high school.
Then there is Bill Gates of Microsoft, Michael Dell of Dell, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, who all chose to pursue business over completing a college education.
Admittedly if you are looking for a first position with an employer, then many employers will want to see a degree these days. And there are certain career paths where you need to obtain a degree in order to make it your profession – such as being a doctor, lawyer, or a teacher.
Many of the new career paths do not have a recognised entry path at this stage. For example social media manager, applications developer.
But there are also employers who are not concerned about your education or degree, but are more interested in your ability to produce results. Many employers are more interested in a candidate’s character and professional experiences to determine the best candidate for the job.
As your academic life recedes into the distant past, most employers will hardly notice if you lay your CV out carefully.
A college degree becomes less important when you have about five years professional experience. By this point, even for a candidate with a college degree, the education portion of the CV or resume moves to the bottom of the page.
So, don’t worry about what you don’t have and focus on highlighting what you do have to offer.
Here are 4 Tips:
List Your Work History above Education
Employers are looking for evidence that you are effective and can do the job, and the best way to do that is to demonstrate and quantify your accomplishments and achievements in previous jobs. If you make the right impression with your CV and show you are a match for the job specification, by the time an employer gets to the education section of your CV they may not be interested in your education.
Document Professional Development
Strong, relevant and up to date Professional Development can outweigh the fact that you don’t hold a degree.
For example in the IT sector, degrees are often out of date by the time they have been completed, and do not encompass up-to-date or new developments in the field that are critical for professionals. It is more important for them to be trained on new developments in technical infrastructure and obtain or renew vendor specific certifications.
Highlighting your participation in training and new developments, such as in –house or external courses, seminars, trade fairs and conferences, will demonstrate to an employer that you have the know-how needed to do the job. This will be of greater value to certain employers than seeing that a candidate has obtained a college degree alone.
If you are in the process of completing your degree or other qualification, or you took courses in the past, make sure you include them to help you in keyword searches.
Direct Your CV / Resume To the Decision Maker, Not the HR Department
If you have over 5 years of work experience, the decision maker probably won’t be interested in a degree from a long time ago. But the human resources manager doesn’t have that discretion and will usually have a list of pre-requisites that includes a degree.
In many instances, however, one’s life and career success is based more on experience than education alone.