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How to get your dream job without a degree

Dream Job Without a Degree

Times have changed and jobs continue to evolve. Gone are the days where a good job required a degree. In today’s modern world of the internet and digital technologies, there are many ways for people to get the skills they need for their dream, high-paying careers outside of university buildings.

That said, it can be difficult to know where to find these jobs and how to structure your application. Whilst you do not need to have a degree listed in your CV, you’ll still need something on your application to help you stand out from the crowd. Experience will be important, but it can be achieved through more than a work placement. You can prove your skills through personal projects, home learning and apprenticeships. Read on to discover how you can make steps into a great career without a degree.

Be creative

With a growing course offering, there are now more university graduates than ever before. As a result, standard degrees have become less valuable meaning more innovative and unconventional approaches to job applications have an increased success rate.

This article from Medium demonstrated how Derek Magill got his first job after dropping out of university without a degree and limited work experience.

After seeing an opening for a graduate role that appealed to him, he was bold and asked the founder of the company to lunch to pick his brain about the industry. Derek followed up a few days later with a brief email with suggestions on improvements for the company’s social media strategy. Within a week, he was offered a lucrative role. Derek’s story proves recognising that job requirements are now more negotiable and being creative with that can help you stand out from other applicants without having a degree listed in your CV.

This example not only shows that finding a job without a degree is possible, but also how a can-do attitude, some self-confidence and the ability to be bold can help open doors for you.


If you like a mixture of on-the-job training and theoretical learning, apprenticeships are a great option. They are an incredible way to get your foot in the door at big companies and often lead to some of the highest paying jobs. This is because they give you the best of both worlds by blending theoretical learning with real world experience.

Alongside industry knowledge, there are many transferable soft skills like teamwork, communication, and leadership you can develop in an apprenticeship. These are skills that employers highly value and can help you get a head start in comparison to graduates as you’ll have real examples of using these skills.

After completing apprenticeships, many people stay on in the same company in a full-time role. If you don’t take this route and decide to look elsewhere for a job, you can use your experience and knowledge to not only stand out from the crowd, but also set yourself apart from university graduates.

Personal projects and home learning

There are no limits to the learning you can undertake at home in your spare time. You just need an internet connection. There are plenty of online courses that can prove you have knowledge required to do the job. This can also help fill out your CV.

Consider starting with free courses to give you an indication of what to expect, then take it to the next level with an accredited and certified online course. Keep any learnings in an online portfolio and include that in your job applications.

Programmes like FastFutures are great for giving you the start you need to get into your career. We offer a free 12-week business skills programme for young people aged 18 to 24. Throughout the programme, you will learn practical digital skills that employers really need, and build your confidence and your network by diving into data, marketing, finance, innovation, and teamwork.

What next…

So, if you are just finishing your A-Levels or you’re not sure if you want to go down the university route, we hope this demonstrated how it really is possible to get a well-paying job without a degree. You will need to prove to potential employers why you’re the right person for the job so research courses, apprenticeships and work experiences in the field you want to go into to help build your CV. Don’t be afraid to try something new and to follow your passion and strength!

Simon Hamilton

Posted July 5, 2021