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How to Stand Out and Get Hired without a Degree

The pandemic has shaken all sectors of the economy and it has had a massive impact on the job market and how candidates get hired. As schools now shift to hybrid modes, we have also seen the rise of online learning and certification programs alongside the major players like Udemy and Google. Now that we are in a new digital age, the big question now becomes: “how seriously do employers take these certifications and online programs?”

We had an interview with one of LinkedIn’s top Career Coaches and founder of Coaching company Workhap, Sho Dewan, on this subject that has raised mixed reactions among employers and candidates. He gave us his take on the value of these online certifications, the future of education, and what recruiters really want to see from top candidates.

“The biggest mistake that many candidates make is that they think that having an education (degree or certification) is enough to get hired. They think that if they finish up a program and slap it on their resume, that will get recruiters’ attention. But the reality is, that is just the start. It is a ‘nice to have’ but not sufficient alone to get you hired,” says Sho Dewan who has built a community of 200,000+ followers with his career and job search content.

What Sho says beats education every single time is actual, real-life experience in their target field. And contrary to popular belief, experience does not need to mean your traditional means of a job or internship. “Anything, where you are getting hands-on experience, counts as experience,” explains Sho. So that even includes side hustles, volunteering work, church projects, and more. Sho gives an example for someone wanting to break into digital marketing and paid media.

“Let’s say you have a friend who is just starting their clothing brand. And for the last three months, he has not been able to sell any of his inventory. What you can do is approach that friend and let them know that you have some knowledge running Facebook and Google ads and ask if you can help them set up their ads. Even with $50 dollars you can experiment and see what works and what doesn’t. And it’s a win-win! Your client gets to have someone manage his Facebook ads and you in return get real-life experience of being a Paid Marketing Manager. Everything counts as experience,” says Sho.

Remember that a recruiter is never going to pick up a blank resume and interview that candidate. The one factor that will distinguish you from everyone else is having knowledge in the field you are interested in and more importantly, having real experience doing that role. So while it will help to get a free or paid certification program under your belt, what’s going to move the needle even more is finding a few experiences that will help paint the narrative of you as a skilled professional. While the job market is more competitive than ever, there also has never been a time with so many opportunities to learn new skills with these online programs. Take advantage of them and pursue something that genuinely interests you!

You can learn more about Sho and his team at Workhap on their website: and their social media channels here:

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Ulyses Osuna
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Ulyses Osuna has made his own unique advances to traditional PR-marketing activities to help his public relations endeavors succeed.

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