Countless pieces of advice state that in order to get ahead in your organization, education is key. Not to downplay the importance of continually educating yourself, but attending a higher educational institution is not always the deciding factor.
There are many CEOs that have made it to the top and have no higher education at all. Sometimes, it takes just an eye-opening view of the resources within your company to utilize the skills you already have. Below are three steps to move up in your company without a degree.
Step 1: Profile Others in Positions You'd Like to Be In
Sometimes all it takes is to read the bios of your organization's key leadership team. Research the paths they've taken to see what obstacles they could have faced. Once you know this path, it could be the road to your success.
Step 2: Know What Your Interests Are
Some roles may seem glamorous on the outside, but the intrinsic details are horrid within. Find out what the role truly entails by setting up a day-in-the-life situation if possible, or at least have a few short meetings with someone who can explain the role in detail to you.
Once you have set up an appointment to learn about a position, you'll want to the take a professional assessment such as a Strong Interest Inventory assessment. This assessment does not measure your aptitude, knowledge, or skill set. Instead, it focuses on what you would prefer to do according to your world outlook and personality. This assessment can lead you to your best-matched career.
These tests will give you four letters, or Type Indicators (e.g. "ENTJ type"). The first letter identifies whether you are an introvert or an extrovert. The second and third letters determine how you process information and make decisions, and the last letter tells you how you perceive the outside world and other's decisions. After you take this assessment, you'll have a better understanding of which positions you want to pursue.
Step 3: Understand that Mobility is Less Expensive; So, Make Your Move!
Key leaders in organizations want to see their businesses grow as well, meaning they want to promote from within the ranks. It costs more money to hire someone into a leadership role from outside the company. For instance, there is the cost of marketing of the position, the cost of hiring a human resource employee to interview, and the cost for internal training of basic company functions. Also, a lack of mobility in a company is bad because it can lead to higher turnover. Organizations would much rather invest the time and money on one of their own with potential.
The time and loyalty you've dedicated to an organization could be more valuable to any given employer over a degree. Although some skills are best acquired through formal education, many can be learned on the job.