Lack of qualifications

The interviewers are obliged to check out your formal qualifications. This is a matter of record, it's on your CV. There are probably other qualified applicants.

Don't be intimidated by these questions.

The fact is that regardless of your lack of formal qualifications, you're good enough to get an interview. You are therefore a legitimate candidate for the job.

There's a bit of a myth about qualifications in some jobs. The fact is that many jobs don't actually require them. In some cases, the requirement for qualifications in some areas is relatively new, and there are large numbers of people who were doing the work without them.

This is currently pretty common, so you won't have to write a book to explain the situation to the interviewers.

These jobs usually require experience, and often technical ability. Most of the unqualified people doing them could usually get their qualifications pretty easily. Employers recognize the value of that experience. They also don't necessarily want to be paying top dollar for the sake of getting someone with a degree and no actual practical experience.

Reasons for not having qualifications

  • You weren't required to have them.
  • The training courses didn't exist, it was all on the job training.
  • Your work record includes most or all of the required elements of qualification.
  • Your former employer didn't consider it necessary for you to get formal qualifications, because you were performing the job effectively.

Explaining why qualifications haven't been relevant to your work

The basic argument here is that your work and performance have been unaffected by the qualifications issue.

You can prove that:

  • Show that your work has been highly productive, and of high value.
  • Show that your performance indicators are on a par or better with qualified people in the same job.
  • Use whatever supporting evidence you have available, including your references, to show a superior quality of work. (If you're good at what you do, that won't be difficult. Use actual evidence, like stats, sales figures, customer feedback, to support your claims.)
  • If you've won awards, or been given any sort of recognition for your work, those are also good indicators. You can mention that you also have qualified people in the same positions, and your performance was given recognition.

That's the good news.

The bad news for job hunters is that many jobs are showing up with qualifications as a basic requirement.

In many cases it's debatable whether these jobs really need them, but you're advised to check out with the employer beforehand whether you can apply.

You may also want to consider qualification, if you have the experience.

In any area where you have a good grounding in the work, getting qualifications is no big deal. You'll spend a lot of time learning things you already know, but there's no major problem in getting those qualifications.

Actually, cost is the main problem, and you may have to do some planning about how you approach getting your qualifications.

In some cases you can do a series of component subjects before actually doing the formal qualification. These will give you exemptions later, when doing the full course, so you can do some time management while you're at it.

On your CV, this shows up as having requisite training in areas where qualifications are required. So you can at least claim to have had formal training, if not the actual qualifications.

That is a talking point in applying for some jobs requiring qualifications, because many jobs specialize in those particular elements of the degree or certificate.

Meaning you do in fact have the relevant training. Employers won't need that spelled out for them. They may, in fact, look at a combination of experience and relevant training, and agree to support your getting the full qualifications. It's in their interest to get both experience and qualifications.

Don't dodge these qualifications questions. They are important.

If they're becoming an issue in your industry, you need to know what employers want, and what you can and can't do with your experience.

Think of it as career self defence, because it's obvious that down the track the qualifications will be part of standard requirements.

If you've got another 30 years to go in the workforce, you need to see these things coming. You can check it out with your HR people or your employment or career counselor and see what you can do to improve your position.