In today’s world, a college diploma is no longer the only way to launch a successful career. However, it does help. Getting an advanced degree provides the expertise critical for career advancement in a technological world. That said, more people are exploring alternative educational paths to enter the field of their choice. And depending on their career goals, they want to know about climbing the professional ladder, but without a degree.
In reality, it all depends on what you want to do with your future. If you want to work in a large corporation, the chances are that to advance to the C-suite, you want to get degrees. You might think that you don’t have time for a traditional university classroom setting. And that’s a valid concern, which is why today you can find bachelor’s and even online MBA degree programs at top universities. For instance, Aston University is ranked 11th among the world’s leading universities for the number of citations in the area of business and management and offers exceptional online degree programs.
However, if you want to run your own small business or prefer to work in a small to mid-sized company, you may have the chance to climb the professional ladder without a traditional degree. Even though many people think that getting an undergraduate degree is necessary to climb the professional ladder, it isn’t always true.
Depending on their career goals, plenty of professionals manage to rise above their peers without a four-year degree. So, let’s discuss some ideas for succeeding in climbing the professional ladder without a traditional undergraduate degree.
Don’t be afraid to start at the bottom
Climbing the professional ladder faster is indeed easier with a traditional degree. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t do it without one. It’s true that having an undergraduate degree can help you start in a higher position and earn a higher salary. However, this doesn’t mean that those without one will never advance. In fact, many professionals start at the bottom of the ladder and work their way to the top without ever obtaining a traditional degree. So, don’t let the fact that you don’t have a four-year degree hold you back. Instead, use this to your advantage by proving that you’re just as capable as someone with a degree.
Learn everything you can and constantly improve your skills
One thing that separates many professionals is that many who advance continue to learn throughout their careers. In reality, those who thrive during continuous, disruptive change make it a point to develop business skills and learn constantly. While staying in your area of expertise is essential, you should always continue to expand your knowledge. By continuing to learn, you’ll become more valuable to your company. And you’ll also be more prepared to take on new challenges.
Networking is key
Although going to school provides a great opportunity to network, it’s not always necessary. In short, you’re going to need to create connections to advance. This is where networking becomes vital. No matter what field you’re in, you will need to find a way to meet and get to know other people within it. This will help you find new opportunities and expand your network. Professionals with a traditional degree usually already have a network established because of the people they met in college. However, it doesn’t mean that you can’t succeed without one. You just need to be more creative and persistent in networking with platforms such as LinkedIn and attending conferences.
Develop a unique skill that makes you stand out
One way to prove that you’re just as capable as someone with a traditional degree is to develop a unique skill that makes you stand out from the rest. You can differentiate yourself from the rest by honing in on something that you’re already good at and turning it into a valuable skill. For example, if you’re in sales and are good at writing, you could try to turn that into a skill by writing sales copy or content for your company’s blog. If you’re good at math, you could turn it into an asset by calculating the ROI of various projects. The point is to spot what your company needs and be the person to fill the gap.
Another way to climb the professional ladder is to practice creativity. It’s especially true if you work in an office where creativity isn’t highly valued. That said, many companies value creativity and encourage their employees to be creative. It motivates employees to be innovative and think outside the box. Creativity is a great way to climb the professional ladder and show your managers that you’re ready to move up. You can practice creativity in many ways. For instance, you can take a painting class, learn how to play an instrument, or even take a dance class. All of this expands your brain’s creative functions.
Get out of your comfort zone – continuously
Finally, you can climb the professional ladder by getting out of your comfort zone. That means continually pushing yourself and trying new things. You can do this in your free time and during work hours. One way to get yourself outside your comfort zone is by trying new hobbies, such as yoga or rock climbing. You can also push yourself to learn a new language or skill, such as programming or public speaking. Another way to get out of your comfort zone is to take on new challenges at work. So, you can do this by volunteering to lead a project, taking on extra responsibility, or trying a new approach to a problem.
It’s all possible today
Climbing the professional ladder without a traditional undergraduate degree isn’t easy. However, it’s certainly possible. With the advice from this article, you can expand your network, improve your skills, and push yourself outside your comfort zone. It can help you climb the professional ladder faster and reach your goals in no time. Ultimately, climbing the professional ladder without a traditional degree is challenging, but it’s not impossible. In fact, many people have done it. Show the world that you’re just as capable as someone with a traditional degree and reach new heights. If this is your chosen path, it’s your turn to take action.