Stagnating In Your Career Without A Certain Degree/Certification?

by Gia Ganesh

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“Can not having a certain degree stop me from moving up?” – This was the question Alyssa posed to me in our career strategy session. Alyssa is a sales professional with over 25 years of experience selling network solutions to mid-size companies. Alyssa does not have a degree. As she stands at the juncture in her life where she needs to take her career to the next level, she is unsure how she can do so without a degree. Alyssa is not alone. There are many others who feel like a lack of a certain degree cannot help them advance to the next level. For some, it may be a basic degree. For others, it may be a graduate degree or a specific skill or trade related degree/certification. I have come across many people who share the same fear.

What can Alyssa do to move ahead? Does she need to get that basic degree or can she still move ahead? There is no magic answer to this situation. Let me take you through the steps I took Alyssa through.

  • In Alyssa’s first case, I had to first break through the barrier wall she had built around herself. A wall full of doubts and fears and self-limiting beliefs. A wall that was built on unfounded fears. Fears that were truly holding Alyssa back from exploring her options. I gently helped Alyssa see how far she had come along in her career, with no degree! I reminded her of the millions of dollars of revenue she had generated for the organization with her sales skills. Additionally, I reminded her that even with my 2 master’s degrees, I can’t do the job she does, without a degree!
  • Once I broke through the wall, Alyssa started to view herself in a different light. She began to see the door of possibility as within her reach. She always imagined it to be a door out of her reach. Now that the door seemed closer, we got talking further and discovered a few other things.
  • I challenged Alyssa to think about her goals and aspirations for the next 5 years. She expressed her desire to quit corporate work in the next 5 years and become a full time realtor. She currently had a real estate license that she was not using. I then asked Alyssa, what she hoped getting a degree would achieve for her – Has it always been a dream of hers to have a degree or did she feel like the degree was crucial to advance in her career? It did seem like it was more of a childhood dream of hers more than a true barrier to career growth. Once we had that established along with her goals for the next 5 years, it was easier to determine her course of action.
  • Alyssa would possibly spend the next 4 years to obtain the degree. It would be more for her own personal satisfaction rather than a fuel that would help her grow in her career. She would take the necessary steps to research the different university options that would fit her work and personal life commitments especially from a time and money perspective.
  • Another action step she would take is to map out her plan of getting back into the real estate market. Reconnect with her realtor colleagues as well as her realtor firm and understanding the real estate market outlook.
  • Another step would be for her to reach out to the right people in her organization to understand the true requirements for the next level job that she was vying for. She had heard about a degree being a requisite for that role, but did not have confirmation. She would try to see if her 25+ years of experience could be a replacement for the degree. Most job postings list a degree or equivalent number of years of experience.
  • She also promised to write in her new journal and reflect on her thoughts for her path ahead.  She scheduled a follow-up call in 2 weeks to report back on all the action steps she had taken. This accountability gave her something to strive for.

Armed with these action steps, Alyssa left the session feeling energized and re-invigorated about her career and the path ahead for her.

Would you like to attain that same level of re-invigoration for your career?  Schedule a 30 minute complimentary consult session here.


Meet Gia Ganesh

Gia Ganesh is passionate about helping high achievers lead FULFILLING professional lives. As a career success coach and speaker, Gia specializes in coaching professionals and college students who seek career happiness, career direction and strategic advice and tips for their job search.

People who are stagnating in their careers or looking for that one thing they were born to do- find clarity, direction and a renewed zest for their career life, after working with Gia.

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