Can I get a good job without a college degree?

Can I get a good job without a college degree?I’ve been answering questions now and then through a new app called Cinch from Klout. A recent question was this: How can I get a good job without a college degree?

Though I think education is very important, I know that many of my clients have succeeded without a four-year degree. Many of them fall in the 6-figure category and they also continue to land quickly still without a degree.

Do you need college to achieve success?

It depends. I think you need to figure out what you want in life and then find the networking connections to reach those goals. If your goal needs a degree, you should find a college that offers that degree and go get one. Many students go to college just to go to college but don’t apply themselves or whatever they did learn has no relationship to what they actually need on the job.

Many successful people never went to college and at the same time, many unsuccessful people have four-year degrees. How you define success is part of the equation that you need to figure out. There are some jobs that need a degree. I want my doctors to go to medical school and my lawyers to pass the bar which they can’t do without attending law school.

Can you run a company without a degree?

Sure. Can you be successful without a college degree? Sure. Take a look at this list compiled in 2011 by Business Insider of the Top 100 Entrepreneurs who made millions without a college degree. The list includes:

  • Andrew Carnegie, industrialist and philanthropist, and one of the first mega-billionaires in the US. Elementary school dropout.
  • Barbara Lynch, chef, owner of a group of restaurants, worth over $10 million, in Boston. Dropped out of high school.
  • Charles Culpeper, owner and CEO of Coca Cola. Dropped out of high school.

I suspect though that an in-depth look at anyone on the list or anyone with that level of success would also show that they had an unstoppable desire to succeed and they were not afraid of failing.

Can you get a good job without a college degree?

Yes. But you need to work on networking, you must be willing to prove yourself, you need to continually improve yourself and your skills. You need to have a positive attitude and you need to be willing to learn.

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  1. careertrend on December 31, 2013 at 10:38 am

    Hi Julie,
    The value of this post is multifold!

    I personally know and have written career portfolios for numerous successful individuals without a college degree. As you mention, a key success factor is ‘attitude.’

    As well, I think it’s having a ‘face-in-the-wind’ confidence (not cockiness) and creativeness in reinventing themselves from time to time (as ALL careerists should do). Perhaps because of what they feel is a perceived weakness, people without degrees often work a little more strategically and fervently to prove hard value without the safety net of a degree.

    These are just a few of my observations – particularly for those careerists without the sheepskin who have proven extraordinary career results.

    I always enjoy your posts!


    • Julie Walraven on December 31, 2013 at 11:12 am

      Thank you, Jacqui, for stopping by. When I teach classes, often on college campuses, as I walk through the samples, especially the Operations Manager, I mention that she is a 6-figure income earner without a college degree. I have had many others. The key is that they STILL get hired today. When you have value and you position yourself properly, using the cutting edge strategies, you land a winner.

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