The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


June 14, 2013

Career Coach: No degree? You aren't alone

"I am 52 years old with no college degree, but plenty of work experience. The biggest challenge I have always faced in a career move is getting to the next step. I think I am equal or superior in talent and ability to others, but feel my lack of degree has kept the doors firmly locked. Any advice?"

I get a question like this a lot. There are many older workers without college degrees who have plenty of work experience, proven job stability, and a very strong work ethic, but have trouble advancing. Many companies have policies stating that a college degree is required, and applicants without one should not bother applying.

So, what can they do about this?

First, recognize you are not alone. According to a study conducted by the Chronicle of Higher Education, only 27.5 percent of adults in the United States have a degree. Yet, nearly 60 percent of American jobs now require at least a bachelor's degree, according to a 2010 report released by the Center on Education and the Workforce, and this number is expected to grow in the next decade. There are things those individuals can do to show their worth to the marketplace.

If possible, work with a professional career coach to review your resume, dress, interviewing skills, etc. This may be money well spent if you get valuable feedback, especially if it has been a while since you were on the job market.

Your resume is a critical part of getting that next job. There are a number of things to do to make sure it stands out:

First, update your work history, and consider using a form of resume that provides a summary of your qualifications at the top of the first page. There are lots of resources out there for resume preparation (e.g., "Knock 'Em Dead Resumes") and websites with examples (e.g.,,,

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  • Is what my employer is doing legal? Yes or no

    Q: Welcome to the @Work Advice lightning round, answering one question: Is what my employer is doing legal? A yes answer means the described situation is generally legal. The reader can protest or refuse to participate, but not on legal grounds. A no answer means the situation seems to violate at least one labor law.

    August 1, 2014

  • Career Coach: Shaping your own future

    In our hyper-dynamic and complex world, it is easy to confuse means with ends, activity with progress, efficiency with effectiveness, and busyness with importance.

    August 1, 2014

  • A checklist for keeping you focused at work

    A quick check of Facebook and next thing you know, a half-hour’s passed. Start chatting with a co-worker and suddenly 20 minutes is gone and the report you were supposed to finish by lunch is late.


    July 31, 2014

  • Fancy management systems won’t fix bad managers

    In violation of my long-standing “only watch TV” rule, I read an article recently about how Zappos is adopting a management structure known as holacracy.

    July 30, 2014

  • Your Office Coach: Supervisor-employee boundaries must be honored

    QUESTION: Two weeks ago, my husband “Barry“ unexpectedly came home from work with a large flat-screen television. He explained that one of his employees gave it to him as repayment for a loan. I was shocked, because I had no idea that Barry was lending people money.

    July 29, 2014

  • Silly mistakes that sink job applicants

    Some employers won’t care - or won’t catch them - but mistakes in word usage can put your application in the reject pile.

    July 29, 2014

  • Watercooler: Raised to the roof

    Q: Over 15 years, I have worked my way up the corporate ladder with the same organization. I have been given a raise every year and excellent reviews, as well as several promotions.

    July 25, 2014

  • Career Coach Q&A: job search follow-up; introverts as leaders

    Starting a business:

    Q: I have a stable job that I don't hate, but I have an idea for starting my own business.

    July 25, 2014

  • How to become a leader

    QUESTION: I’ve just been promoted into a leadership role. I’m excited, but also kind of overwhelmed. What do I need to do to be good at my new job?

    July 24, 2014

  • Balancing Act: How much is your time worth? Consider outsourcing some tasks

    Todd Paton has a booming business getting customers noticed on the Web. One tool he uses is generating online press releases to build brand awareness and create links that will send traffic to a customer’s website. But Paton, owner of Paton Internet Marketing, acknowledges that writing the releases is not his strong suit. Rather than spend his time doing it, he hires out the task.

    July 23, 2014

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