How To Find Your Next Job That Pays Well Without A College Degree

High school graduates without college degrees may be a great source of diverse talent

Guest Blog provided by Lauren Perry.  This is an important topic for two reasons.  First, as it gets harder to find talent, companies should consider people without college degrees.  Second, for many people, the cost of college is too prohibitive and they may need to start work right out of high school.

In today’s dynamic job market, a college degree is not the sole determinant of earning a decent income. Many industries and professions value skills, experience, and certifications as highly as formal education. Whether you are a recent high school graduate or seeking a career change, this detailed guide will walk you through finding a high-paying job without a college degree. Following each step is essential.

Step 1: Self-Assessment and Goal Setting.  Before diving into the job hunt, begin with an in-depth self-assessment: Identify your strengths, such as problem-solving, communication, technical skills, or creativity. Consider what you are genuinely passionate about and what work you find fulfilling. Determine your career objectives, lifestyle aspirations, and desired income. This self-awareness will provide clarity and direction for your job search.

Step 2: Identify In-Demand Industries and Jobs. Research industries and roles that seek non-degree professionals with high earning potential: Explore positions like medical coding, dental hygienist, or medical laboratory technician. Positions such as software developer, network administrator, or cybersecurity analyst are in demand. High-paying electrical construction jobs, plumbers, and HVAC technicians are essential roles in the trades. Many sales positions offer commission-based income, such as sales representatives or real estate agents. Stay updated with emerging industries, as they often provide opportunities.

Step 3: Skill Development. Once you’ve selected a career path, focus on building the necessary skills: Enroll in reputable online courses or platforms like Coursera, edX, or LinkedIn Learning to learn industry-specific skills. Many industries have certifications, like CompTIA for IT or Certified Nursing Assistant for healthcare, that can boost your credibility. Use apprenticeships, internships, or on-the-job training opportunities to gain practical experience.

Networking is a very important step in finding that ideal job.

Step 4: Networking and Building a Professional Online Presence. Networking is essential for landing a job without a degree: Create a professional LinkedIn profile highlighting your skills, experiences, and aspirations. Connect with professionals in your chosen industry. Attend conferences, workshops, and local events to meet potential mentors and employers. Reach out to professionals for informational interviews to gain insights and advice. Your online presence should convey enthusiasm for your chosen field and showcase your skills.

Step 5: Craft an Outstanding Resume and Cover Letter. A well-crafted resume and cover letter are your first opportunities to impress potential employers. They serve as your introduction and can impact whether you secure an interview. It’s crucial to tailor your resume and cover letter to the specific job you’re applying for. Avoid sending out generic templates. Study the job posting thoroughly to understand the employer’s requirements and expectations. Highlight the skills and experience that directly relate to the job’s qualifications. If the job description mentions specific skills, make sure these are prominently featured. Focus on showcasing your accomplishments.

Use quantifiable results whenever possible. Many companies use applicant tracking systems to scan your resume for specific keywords related to the job. Therefore, you should use terms and phrases from the job posting that accurately represent your skills. Your resume and cover letter should be easy to read and aesthetically pleasing. Your resume should tell a story of your professional journey. Ensure a logical flow from your education to work experience, skills, and accomplishments. Use action verbs to start each bullet point and convey a sense of accomplishment. It’s essential to be concise and include only information related to the job.

Step 6: Job Search and Application Process. Take a strategic approach to job searching. Utilize job search engines like Indeed, Monster, or specialized industry websites. Check company websites for job postings, and set up job alerts. Leverage your LinkedIn connections to discover unadvertised job opportunities. Job hunting can be a prolonged process, so apply to numerous positions and follow up on applications.

Step 7: Interview Preparation and Negotiation. Preparation is critical for successful interviews and negotiations. Study the company, its culture, and the role you’re interviewing for. Conduct mock interviews to develop your ability to respond confidently to common questions. Research industry salary standards and your value in the job market. Approach salary negotiations confidently and prepare to advocate for your worth, considering your skills, experience, and the company’s budget.

Conclusion. Finding a well-paying job without a college degree is achievable with careful planning, skill development, networking, and a customized job search strategy. Persistence and a commitment to self-improvement are crucial to success in the competitive job market. With dedication and a clear vision of your career goals, you can embark on a prosperous and fulfilling career. Best of luck on your journey!

The impact of hateful anti-transgender legislation – a personal perspective

Deanna Jones, blog author

This blog has been provided by my associate consultant and trainer, transwoman Deanna Jones, as we approach the Transgender Day of Remembrance November 20th.

I was asked to speak at the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce’s DEI Conference back in July of this year. This is a wonderful conference and I advise everyone to try and attend this next year as they continue to expand it. It is a valuable resource to connect and hear DEI leaders in the area.

I was on the panel for how anti-trans laws being passed at an alarming rate affect me, both personally and professionally. The very first question I was asked was this, “as a transgender person and as a parent of a transgender child, how do these proposed laws and the discussion around them impact you personally? My response is below:

I want all of you to image that you have ached to scale a mountain, you are driven to climb this mountain, you aren’t sure why, but not climbing this mountain is not a choice for you, you knew you had to climb this mountain since you were 4 years old. Finally, one day after about 50 years, you try and climb it…It’s not an easy climb, you have some very close people to you who run away not wanting to be anywhere near the mountain, wife, kids, neighbors and other people, but the closer you get, the more beautiful the view becomes.

Suddenly you’re at the top and the view is beautiful and breathtaking. You take it all in and smile. Then, you start to hear some voices, these voices become louder telling you that they are the keepers of the mountain and you are most definitely not supposed to be there. You are told to leave because climbing this mountain is restricted to only “some people”. Then these officials start placing ropes around it with signs that state “penalties” for your type of people being on the mountain. Suddenly, as if these officials have become emboldened by others who are on the mountain cursing you, they start picking up sticks and start chasing you down the mountain.

That’s what it feels like, I know I pushed that metaphor very hard but, I couldn’t think of anything more fitting as to the way I feel. I wonder, why are there so many people who are trying to keep us from getting to the top of the mountain. I want to believe for a better future life for all of us where we can be who we want to be, and climb whatever mountain we want to. Isn’t that a fundamental right as Americans, as a part of humanity?

My partner has a 15 year old son who is transgender…..He calls me Mom I love him so much but he’s scared. It breaks my heart. He is climbing this mountain but now he too feels like people want to push him off. As a Parent of a transgender child, it’s been so wonderful to see the positive changes since he started gender affirming care, both mentally and physically.

His transition has been life saving for him in so many ways. How do I tell him, the State of North Carolina wants to force him to detransition and make him return to the miserable life he was living before he was able to start transitioning? Am I going to have to BE A REFUGEE FROM THIS STATE and take him to a another state that’s friendlier to trans people than this one? I wonder. His well being is at stake. Nearly half of all trans and nonbinary children and teens have suicide ideation, of those 20% attempt it.

If you knew there was something to reduce this danger and help save your child’s life, wouldn’t any parent want to do it? — What do we all want for our children? We want them to be healthy and happy, be loved and supported. The goal is to create a society where everyone has a fair and equal chance to pursue their dreams and aspirations, just as if they were climbing a mountain with the same starting point and resources available to them. This approach fosters a more just and inclusive world where individuals can reach their full potential.