Every candidate faces one question when they are going for a job interview; what is more important to an employer? Will they give preference to degree over experience or is experience the key to getting you the job? Consider this scenario: Candidate A and B are both applying for the same job. They both give a good interview, but Candidate A has no college degree and experience of 10 years whereas Candidate B is fresh out of college with a degree and zero experience. Candidate B has worked in the industry, which means he is aware of the innovative processes and techniques and Candidate A has received formal training so they are up to date about all programs and procedures.
In a nutshell, both candidates have the capability of offering valuable benefits to a business. The question is what is more important for employers in 2017? Is it degree or experience? The answer is that it varies according to different job opportunities. Some of the factors that can have an impact on the final decision of employers are:
The Career Field
In some careers and fields, education is going to trump experience and vice versa. For instance, if you are applying for a sales position, the dollars and clients you have brought in for the business will be more important as opposed to your degree. Similarly, if you are applying for a job in the high-tech field, a new college degree that involved studying the latest courses and updates in the industry will give you an edge over candidates with experience in the field. Likewise, experience is more valued as opposed to education in vocational fields like construction. Hence, your career field will have an impact on how education and experience stack against one another.
Kind of Experience
Sure, you don’t have a college degree, but you have an experience of several years. But, the bottom line is that this experience will be worthless if it is not in the relevant industry you are applying in. The value of your experience comes down to how it is related to the job you want to do. Did you work in different fields or worked in one industry? If you focused on one area, it is best to apply for a job in that same industry as it increases your chances of getting employment, especially if you don’t have a degree. However, if you have worked in a different industry, but have done so while studying, it will be a sign of how disciplined and hardworking you are and can work in your favor.
Not all education has been created equal. If you have a degree from a top school in your industry, it is automatically going to open doors from you in notable companies and businesses. But, if you have a degree from a lesser-known school, it might not be as valuable as experience. Again, here it is important how you got your degree i.e. whether you got it by working part-time or went for full-time studies. Even if you have studied in a school with lesser reputation, having experience working part-time can work in your favor.
Sometimes, your choice of college, kind of experience and your field may not be as important and relevant in the competition between degree and experience. It can also depend on company policy. Some companies have set rules that dictate the criteria for every job and the kind of candidates needed. Some businesses are more interested in people with experience whereas others want people who have a solid educational background.