How Much Importance Should Be Placed on a Job Candidate’s Educational History?


by Bev Sninchak

educationMost of us have been told throughout our lives that getting a good education from a respectable college or university is essential for success in getting hired and forging ahead in our preferred job industry. But in the 21st century, does that advice still hold up? Surprisingly, the answer is yes and no. In fact, importance placed on a job candidate’s educational background may not be as much as in previous years, according to recent findings.

According to a recent study by the Association of American Colleges and Universities, employers are not simply looking for educational history when they consider a job candidate. The study found that employers prefer job candidates who have real-world experience in their chosen career field in addition to education.

While some hiring managers and recruiters do look for candidates with the best degrees from prestigious educational institutions, many realize that where you attended college and the degree you have is only part of the story. It also matters how you handle yourself on the job while working with actual customers. This is where previous employment or volunteer jobs can highlight your formal education.

To increase your chances of finding a job that’s perfect for you and getting hired for the position, make sure to pursue traditional education and do the best you can to maintain respectable grades. However, you should also seek out ways to intern or volunteer in your career field so you can obtain the real-world experience for which employers are looking.

Whatever you do, never falsify your educational history. According to Charles Purdy, Senior Editor at, lying about your educational background is one of the top lies job seekers sometimes tell.

If you graduated with a four-year degree, don’t embellish and claim to have a master’s degree. Odds are you’ll get caught, if not before you’re hired, then sometime after. The risk isn’t worth it, and your reputation could be irreparably damaged. If you have gaps in your educational history, discuss them candidly and openly.

Employers want job applicants who are upfront and honest about their work experience and educational history. Don’t tarnish that trust and put future job prospects at risk. Strive to obtain the best education you can get, and supplement classroom time with interning at a local company. By covering both of those bases, you can increase your viability as a future candidate for employment.


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