“I really like to hire job candidates who show that they haven’t taken the easy route to earning a college degree,” says an executive who does a lot of recruiting for a major financial institution in New York. “When I talk to a recent college grad who overcame some obstacles and worked hard, I am more likely to hire that candidate than a graduate who had an easy time of it.”
Those comments make sense, and they are worth remembering when you finish college and hit the job market. If you present yourself the right way, there is no reason why your online college work cannot be an asset in the eyes of companies that are hiring. But how can you present yourself in the strongest way? Here are some pointers . . .
Tell Your Life Story in a Positive Way
Companies like to hire candidates who have shown the ambition to get ahead and complete their degrees. If you can weave a story about your ability to get past obstacles, recruiters see that as an indication that you have the drive to solve problems. In other words, you will be an excellent, hard-working asset to the company. Your story could be that your family lacked the resources to hand you an education on a “silver plate,” so you had to find your own path by using online education. It could be that you took online courses, transferred the credits that you earned, and graduated from a respected college. It could also be that you were a single parent, or that you had to work a job while in school, and that you needed to complete college on a flexible schedule. Or maybe you were in the military and wanted to start college when you were deployed in Afghanistan or Iraq. Just tell your positive story with confidence.
Call Attention to Your Online Work
Instead of waiting for an interviewer or recruiter to “discover” it on your resume or college transcript, point it out with pride, and make it part of your success story. If you talk about what you learned, the papers you wrote and other class experiences, you will help your interviewer understand that your online courses were just as good as the other classes that you took.
Make a Match between Your Online Courses and the Job You Are Seeking
Also describe some of the online courses that you completed and point out how they equipped you for the specific job you are seeking. Perhaps you took an online course in criminal justice that opened your eyes to the possibility of working in airport security. Or perhaps an introductory medical course gave you the idea of working in medical practice management. When you match what you learned to the specifics of the job you are seeking, you stand out from other applicants.
In summary . . .
If you describe your online education and make it part of a success story, it can become an asset as you look for jobs. So speak up with pride about the fact that you have been a distance learner. It can set you apart and give you an edge in a time when companies are looking for ambitious, well-qualified employees.
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