Job Seeker Blog - Spark Hire

Is a College Degree Necessary to Land a Job?

The short answer is “no.” We live and job search in a world where college dropouts are some of the most wealthy entrepreneurs. Shows like Shark Tank and The Apprentice make it seem as if only good ideas and innovation are what truly matter to “big wigs” like Donald Trump and Mark Cuban. Not to mention, plenty of office jobs state that the minimum requirement is a high school diploma.

But the realistic answer to that question is “yes.”

The New York Times published an article recently this year about a law firm in Atlanta, Georgia that only hires employees with a college degree. That includes everyone at the firm from the receptionist to the file clerks to the “office runner,” i.e. the guy who delivers documents from the courthouse to the office for $10 an hour.

The firm’s managing partner, Adam Slipakoff, told The New York Times that “college graduates are just more career-oriented. Going to college means they are making a real commitment to their futures. They’re not just looking for a paycheck.”

But this isn’t just a phenomenon at one law firm in downtown Atlanta; it’s happening all over the country. According to The New York Times, the unemployment rate for job seekers with a high school diploma is at 8.1 percent versus 3.7 percent for those with academic experience and a college degree. Deemed “degree inflation” by economists, this trend is preventing those without a college degree from securing jobs that used to be tailored to their qualifications, like receptionists, dental hygienists and claims adjusters, reports The New York Times.

So what should job seekers do to stake their claim at an office job?

Invest in a higher education. Unlike the entry level employees at the Atlanta law firm, it doesn’t have to put you hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. Pick a state school or begin your higher education at a community college and then transfer to a state school. Don’t be afraid of student loans either. They are the lowest interest loans available, and though they may take time to pay off, they will get you where you want to go on your career path.

In an ideal world, every resume would be thoroughly examined, every job candidate would be interviewed and every job would go to the right person. But that’s not the reality of today’s job search. Many companies like the law firm in Atlanta are throwing out resumes (and job candidates) that lack a college degree without a second glance. Move your resume from the rejection pile and claim your chair in the office conference room with a college degree.

Do you think a college degree is necessary to landing a good job in today’s job market? Share now in our comments!

Kathryn Randolph

Kathryn is a freelance writer currently living in Chicago, Illinois. She holds a B.A. in English Writing from DePauw University and has five years experience writing for major job search and higher education websites. When she's not writing for the web, Kathryn is hanging out with her new baby girl, traveling, cooking, reading and running. She believes that the perfect job is out there for everyone and hopes to help Spark Hire job seekers discover their career passion and pursue it.