Many of us have been there - staring at a job description for a position we are desperate to apply for, but feeling intimidated by the extensive list of qualifications and requirements.
We might feel that we don't measure up, and so practice self-elimination by not applying.
However, the truth is that job descriptions are often crafted as wish lists – and you should still apply even if you don't tick all the boxes!
In this episode, we talk about:
- Why you don't have to be the perfect job candidate: job descriptions are just wishlists
- Why do you only need to match around 50% of the job listing to be considered 'qualified'
- How you can convince an employer or hiring manager that you can provide value even without a degree or relevant experience
- Why more and more companies are no longer caring that you don't have a degree
Ryan and Hannah also talked about the right mindset when you're job hunting.
Enjoy the episode!
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Ryan: Aloha folks, and welcome back to Degree Free. We are your hosts, Ryan and Hannah Maruyama. On this podcast, we share fundamentals we've discovered and the mistakes we've made while self-educating, getting work, building businesses, and making money. We'll tell you how to make it happen, no degree needed.
Hannah: Welcome back.
Hannah: Welcome back, everybody. We are happy to have you back with us on the podcast as always, and if you want more degree free because why in the world would you not? You are gonna run, not walk over to degree free.co/newsletter to grab our free weekly newsletter. Ryan and I send this out once a week. It has resources, it has stuff that we think is cool. It has degree free news like apprenticeships, jobs, and companies that are rolling back degree requirements.
Hannah: You are not gonna wanna miss it. So go on over there and sign up to get that delivered to your inbox once a week.
Ryan: Awesome. Let's get into today's episode. Today we are gonna be talking about your biggest problem finding a job.
Hannah: Oh yeah.
Ryan: And that's self elimination. Now, not everybody has this problem, but a lot of people do.
Hannah: I think most people do. I think it's safe to say most people do,
Ryan: And it is the biggest problem, the reason why is because
Hannah: if you self eliminate, you're definitely not getting the job.
Ryan: You're 100% not gonna get the job if you don't apply for it.
Hannah: How do we know this?
Hannah: Because they won't know you exist.
Ryan: And so it seems really simple, but after doing this for a while and talking to job seekers and job hopefuls and people that are looking for jobs and trying to transition their careers, this is something that's huge and specifically, what we're talking about with self elimination, I mean, we're really talking about everything, but one of the biggest things that we see is when it says college degree required.
Hannah: Yeah, this is where people just need to relearn boldness and this applies to college graduates as well, who see if you have a bachelor's and you're looking at a job that requires a master's degree, but you could do the job, apply for it anyway.
Ryan: We call it applying fearlessly and we say that because everybody's scared, right?
Ryan: Like everybody's scared of rejection.
Hannah: And it's funny too, 'cause rejection nowadays is just silence. It's not even, it does get discouraging after a while, but it's not like you're gonna lose face. You're sending in a job application to a company that you'll probably never cross paths with.
Hannah: If they reject you, who cares?
Hannah: But people get really hung up on it, and they will. They are their hardest critics, for sure.
Ryan: Yeah, definitely. And specifically, The college degree required. One of the things that people start to say is, oh, well, it says college degree required, so I better go get a college degree, and that is literally the last thing that you should do.
Ryan: because it is super risky to get a degree. It costs a lot of money upfront and for maybe having a benefit at the end.
Hannah: Yeah. And that's if you're even able to make it, to make it all the way through, which most people are not.
Ryan: So instead of doing that, you could look at the job listing and you could do something that we call how to find a job backwards, and that's its own whole thing.
Hannah: Basically, you get every skill or requirement on there except the degree, because who cares?
Ryan: Or at least a bunch of them. What I always say, and what we always say is, if you match 50% of the job,
Hannah: realistically though, nowadays 30 percent's probably enough to do the job sometimes.
Ryan: If you match 50% of the job description, and you can convince somebody else that you can do the other half of it, or you can learn the other half, then okay, then apply and then if they don't like you, they'll weed you out in the interview or they'll weed you out right there. They'll be like, screw this guy.
Ryan: And they'll throw your application away, just like everybody else is .
Hannah: Nowadays, and this is something that's come from talking to HR professionals, both some that we're related to, and then through just through doing this podcast and our TikTok and stuff like that, you can just safely assume that the job description is a mess, , safely assume that the job description is not accurate and that it's not up to date, and that it doesn't actually matter.
Hannah: It's just barely, barely, barely follow it when you're self eliminating because it's not gonna help you. You look at the skills and assume that those skills are probably accurate, 'cause probably historically they are but the rest of it, you really just gotta apply and don't get too hung up on the description.
Ryan: With the how to find a job backwards, that is a whole process that we talk about. At length in another episode and you can definitely go back and listen to that episode. We'll link to it to degreefree.co/podcast and you can find it. Also, this episode is blog article. We thought that this was so important because it's kind of the basis of a lot of our philosophy that we kind of wrote a little philosophy how to guide of applying fearlessly and how to not self eliminate. So with applying fearlessly, we kind of alluded to it at the beginning, but people are usually afraid of two things, it's breaking the rules and then getting rejected. Those are the two things that we hear all the time and with breaking the rules, it's like I don't wanna be a rule breaker.
Ryan: Like I don't want them to just throw my application away. I don't wanna get put in jail, break the law.
Hannah: Here's the thing about rules though. I think that really where we get kind of convoluted is rules and laws. And I know that because our TikTok frequently gets reported for telling people to apply without college degrees, to job descriptions that require them.
Hannah: People are under the impression that is illegal. It is both. Legal and ethical. A lot of people think it's illegal and unethical. They would be wrong on both counts, and it's just, that's just asinine. Honestly, it's the silliest thing in the world. To assume that you are going to incur a consequence by sending in an email because that's essentially what you're doing.
Hannah: An email of a digital paper, that has your name and information on it, who cares? Again, as I said, the consequence in most cases is silence. That is the worst thing that's going to happen to you.
Ryan: I would say don't worry about breaking some sort of unwritten rule when applying
Hannah: Rules that don't apply to you, that don't matter.
Ryan: There aren't any rules. Like companies don't care if you have a degree. Like they don't care.
Ryan: What they care about is whether or not you can bring and succeed in that role. That's what they care about. Let's back up for a second and I'll say, Ryan. They absolutely care.
Hannah: They care so much.
Ryan: They care a lot.
Ryan: All right, perfect. Let's say they care what's changed.
Hannah: Absolutely nothing.
Ryan: Nothing. You still don't have that job.
Hannah: Right? And you still won't get it if you sit back and you don't send an email.
Ryan: Exactly. So. Either way we end at the same place, which is
Hannah: send it
Ryan: send in your application,
Hannah: shoot your shot.
Ryan: We're kind of laughing here and almost minimizing it.
Hannah: No, but it's sad and it's really affected a lot of people at the same time, which is, it's frustrating 'cause of the amount of people it is kept back from jobs they could have done.
Ryan: Exactly. And we understand that is it the company's fault? And is it the company's problem to deal with now? Definitely.
Hannah: And do we know that we're all taught to follow those unwritten rules? Yes. We know because Ryan and I both grew up in American school system, so we know.
Ryan: Exactly, but at this point, especially for you, the job seeker, there's nothing that you can do to make that company take down that requirement.
Hannah: Yeah. You can't fight the institution. What you can do is apply.
Ryan: Exactly. If you apply and you get the job well, then obviously they didn't care about whether or not you had a college degree .
Hannah: One step closer to learning that lesson. I would argue that, I would bet, and this is just how I feel about this, but from what I've read and what I've seen, I would bet that there are very few, and I'm not talking about doctors, I'm not talking about lawyers, but I'm talking there are probably very, very few jobs like, and I mean specific job titles like, at different companies where there has not had been at least one person who, for a job that required a degree, that did not have one that has helped that job at some point.
Hannah: Like, and I don't mean in the past, I mean in recent history, like in the last 10 years. I think that's fair, and I think that it happens way more than we think, and I don't think people report it, so I don't think there's accurate numbers on it, but I do think that you can safely assume that at some point, somebody without a degree held that job.
Ryan: Absolutely. And the second thing that I wanted to talk about was the rejection part and just overcoming it. Like you said, Hannah, like the worst that can happen nowadays is that you get silence it. You just don't hear anything back and silence can be brutal. I'm not minimizing that. I'm not saying that it doesn't suck.
Hannah: Especially extended silence.
Ryan: Exactly. Like there are people, I think the average unemployment time just came down, I think it was at 29 weeks, a few months ago. I think it's like 22 to 26 weeks or something like that, which is like a long time.
Hannah: And dude, that'll crush you.
Ryan: That's like a, that's a half a year.
Hannah: Yeah, it was a long time.
Ryan: Especially if you're hearing silence from these applications that you're putting in.
Ryan: That sucks.
Ryan: That sucks.
Ryan: That being said, that's the worst that can happen.
Hannah: I guess. I guess fear setting, like, like Tim Ferris would, the worst thing that could happen would be the recruiter emailing you.
Hannah: I mean, they could email you at rejection, but the worst, worst, worst case scenario would be a recruiter emailing you and be like, how dare you apply to this job without a bachelor's degree in communications . How dare you do that?
Ryan: If we're doing that exercise and we can link to fear setting in the show notes, for people that don't know about it, if we're doing that exercise, really the,
Hannah: they post your application on LinkedIn.
Hannah: They say, look at this person who dare to apply to this job. They're under qualified, blah, blah, blah, and nobody hired them. That's the worst thing that can happen.
Ryan: Well no, the worst thing that can happen is that they reach out to your. And they say, oh, well look at this person. This person is looking for other work.
Ryan: Now your job. Says, okay, well screw this person because they're looking for other work and then they fire you. Like that's the worst that can happen.
Hannah: Okay. You're right. That's the worst thing and then you lose your job and you can't get another job. Now you're homeless and then you can't pay your car.
Hannah: There we go.
Ryan: Exactly. That's it.
Hannah: Right? And your life is over. .
Ryan: That reminds me so much. Sorry, I'm gonna go on a tangent here. I'm gonna tell the story and that reminds me so much. I was trying to do, trying to learn how to do a back flip , and I was on the. With one of my friends and , it's slanted and it's sand, and he's trying to spot me and I'm just like not committing.
Ryan: I'm not like fully
Hannah: committing to the flip,
Ryan: committing to the flip. And so he keeps having to like spot me more and more and he goes, come on , just commit. You just gotta commit, jump back and tuck your legs. He's like, what's the worst that can happen? I don't catch you. You hit your head on the ground.
Ryan: You break your neck. You can't walk for the rest of your life. I mean, that's it, right? ?
Hannah: Yes. That is right. That is right.
Ryan: that was so funny. . I,
Hannah: Did you break your neck?
Ryan: Didn't break my neck.
Ryan: I did try.
Hannah: Did you commit?
Ryan: I did commit, but I didn't do it. So. I don't know. I'm not sure.
Ryan: I'm not sure if I just shot myself in the foot by telling you that story.
Hannah: This is a terrible Aesop's Fable.
Hannah: Yeah. I want my money back.
Hannah: The hair did not win at the end. Yeah. And I really don't know what lesson I'm supposed to take away from this.
Ryan: But anyway, definitely
Ryan: We're having a lot of fun guys, so. Fear setting for these things. I mean, that's the worst thing to get happen, but what's the likelihood of that happening? Right? ,
Ryan: like what's the like,
Hannah: like .0001%?
Ryan: What's the likelihood of that happening? Probably pretty low and with overcoming rejection, what I've found to be very helpful for a lot of people is to know the numbers, right?
Ryan: And we talk about it a lot, and for long time listeners, you already know this, but it takes a hundred applications on average to get one job offer. We like to say that it takes a hundred job applications to get one interview, and so that means you're going to get rejected a lot,
Hannah: a lot,
Ryan: a lot.
Ryan: You're gonna be hearing silence a lot,
Hannah: or you're not qual or you're, we need someone with different qualifications, blah, blah, blah.
Ryan: And it sucks. There are different ways that you can handle and deal with rejection. We did a whole episode on it. I'll put the link in the show notes and if you guys just want to go back on Spotify or whatever you're listening to and look forward, it's there. It's how to deal with rejection. The biggest thing is that you just gotta get over it.
Ryan: You've gotta keep going and you gotta keep sending those applications in. You have to remember that it only takes one, right? For most people. You're only looking for one job and it only takes one person to give you an interview and then to say that you are qualified and that you can get the job. The next thing that I wanted to talk about is just a mindset of feeling qualified.
Ryan: You are qualified
Hannah: if they hire you. You definitely are.
Ryan: If you know you can do the job or like I said, if you know that you can do 50% of the job and you're sure that you can convince somebody else that you can do the other 50 or that,
Hannah: and you can learn it.
Ryan: Convince somebody that you can learn it. You don't have to be sure that you can learn it.
Ryan: You just have to convince somebody that you can learn it.
Hannah: Yep. As I said to someone on TikTok, once hired is hired.
Ryan: Exactly, then you're qualified, apply anyway.
Ryan: Apply fearlessly. What are they gonna do?
Ryan: Nothing. Right.
Ryan: And so that seems minuscule, but from talking to so many people.
Hannah: No, you basically have to unpack your entire mentality about this and then repack it and you have to lose the shame. It doesn't serve you. It's not gonna help you. So ditch it.
Ryan: One of the things. That we hear a lot, and we talk about this a lot on this podcast, is when you're talking about qualifications. A lot of people that listen to this podcast are trying to make career transitions.
Ryan: They're trying to go from one industry into another industry, completely different industry, or they're trying to go from one role and they're trying to get up the next ladder rung on, in the same industry. Alright, well if that's you, what a lot of people think is like, oh, I'm not qualified.
Ryan: Especially the people that are going from one industry to another industry. What they do is they look at their qualifications, they look at their past experience, and they say, well, I am only a restaurant server, or I only stock shelves at Walmart and I am not qualified to do this thing in tech. If that's the mindset that you're coming at it from, then yeah, you're not gonna get hired.
Ryan: What we're trying to do here in the job application process or in the job search process, is we're trying to get this hiring manager to understand how our experience can bring value to their role, to their job, to their department
Hannah: and that's your job until they give you the job that you're trying to apply for.
Ryan: By you thinking that you have no skills because you just worked retail. That attitude is not gonna help them connect the dots of how you fit in into their role.
Hannah: No, do it for them.
Ryan: Exactly. If you do it for them and you say, well, I have all this customer service experience, I understand all of these different soft skills, teamwork, communication.
Ryan: I'm detail oriented. Whatever it is that you have to say, whatever it is that you have to say, and whatever stories you have to tell that person,
Hannah: to show them,
Ryan: to show them that you are qualified, right? Like that's what's gonna get you the job. That's what's gonna make you make that leap into that different career. So just remember that. It's a simple point, but a lot of people forget it. The last thing that I will say in the blog article that we write, it's much more thorough than we're going over now. We kind of go over the three most common excuses, and so you can find the blog article at degreefree.co/podcast.
Ryan: It'll be in the show notes but the last thing I wanted to talk about was connecting the dots, kind of diving a little bit deeper there. You have really two options if you still haven't got over the degree requirement, and the first is gonna be related to what I was just talking about, which is focus on the skills that you have when you go into the interview, when you're showing your resume.
Ryan: Don't focus on the things that you don't have. Focus on the skills and the experience that you do have.
Ryan: Once again, pretty simple stuff. As we always say, it's simple but not always easy and so instead of saying, I don't have a college degree, you say, well, I have all of this experience in doing this and I can bring value to your role by doing this.
Hannah: Tell 'em don't focus on what's ne, what's not there. Focus on what is there.
Ryan: For some people that's still not to get over it.
Hannah: Fair enough.
Ryan: That's that's valid. Sure.
Ryan: The next thing that you're gonna do then is you're gonna skill up
Hannah: learn stuff,
Ryan: and that's gonna be degree free pathway number five,
Hannah: learn a skill.
Ryan: Learn a skill, and then if you wanted to, for some people you could do degree free pathway number three, which is earn a license or certification.
Hannah: Might do both,
Ryan: do both of 'em at the same time. if you want and for those that are confused, the degree free pathways, go back and listen to that episode.
Ryan: That's kind of the basis of everything that we're gonna talk about.
Hannah: Really useful.
Ryan: Yeah. And skill up, learn a skill and then go back and get a job. That way you don't have that imposter syndrome anymore. You don't have to worry about whether or not you should be there. You shouldn't be there. I mean, many times you are gonna still worry about that, especially when you get your first job.
Ryan: But just cause you get hired doesn't mean everybody thinks that you need to know everything about that job.
Hannah: No. And they won't expect you to. There'll be people there, re ready and willing to help you, and most people are a lot more understanding of beginners than you'd think.
Hannah: One last thing that I wanna hammer home before we wrap this episode up is that companies do not want people with college degrees. Companies want people to do work, and at the end of the day, most of them do not actually care whether or not you have the four year degree if you can do the work, that's just a lay of the land. That's just how it is.
Hannah: People are gonna get real upset that I said that, but it's just true, and you need to keep that in the back of your mind because once you realize that, and once you start acting in that way, you'll find that a lot of doors open. Once you stop eliminating yourself from the running.
Ryan: And yeah, that's pretty much it.
Ryan: Like we talked about, there's a lot of resources in this episode and you can find everything at degreefree.co/podcast the five Degree Free Pathways, the blog article that kind of goes and breaks all of this down for you, how to handle rejection and keep going. There's even an episode that we've done in our podcast about imposter syndrome when you first get into companies, so definitely give those episodes a listen because they're helpful.
Hannah: And if you want more degree free, because why would you not? You're gonna wanna go over to degree free.co/newsletter to grab the newsletter that Ryan and I send out once a week. Degree free jobs resources, degree free news like apprenticeships, companies that are rolling back requirements and just stuff that we think is cool.
Hannah: So go on and over and grab that.
Ryan: And if you guys wanted to support the podcast, the best way that you could do that is by giving us a review wherever it is that you get your podcast. That'd be great. Apple Podcasts, Spotify, wherever and if you found this episode useful, share it with your friends. If this could be useful to somebody else, definitely share it with them.
Ryan: Until next time, guys. Aloha.
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