Experience should matter more than memorized data; self-direction should show a budding entrepreneur mindset versus a slacker who can’t fit in; and “knowing yourself” should mean you’ll follow a clearer path towards fulfillment.

As our country evolves and seeks to address issues like accessibility, income inequality, and different learning preferences, we have a tremendous opportunity to create a more inclusive (albeit very different) landscape for obtaining higher education. We also have an opportunity to ensure future young adults entering the workforce are trained and ready to do the work that is needed in today’s world, not the world of 50 years ago.

Tomorrow, will the degree matter or the skills and experiences the job applicant has been able to achieve? We have seen a huge number of higher education institutions aggressively integrate experiential learning programs into their curriculum and long term planning. Will we dismiss someone without the resume line item of a bachelors degree, before we look at all they’ve studied, how they’ve crafted their own unique areas of study, how they’ve become skilled in areas of critical and abstract thinking and writing? I can’t speak for every business, but as the president of a creative technology company, I can tell you I don’t care about the degree. I care about the mind, the way the person has applied themselves, the things they’ve sought out on their own. I don’t look for the degree, I look for the experiences, and I look for the ones who are driven.

In a world where experience should matter more than memorized data, where self-direction should show a budding entrepreneur mindset versus a slacker who can’t fit in, where “knowing yourself” should mean you’ll follow a clearer path towards fulfillment, we, as the companies responsible for hiring the graduates of this new educational landscape, have a lot to change in our own ways of thinking. If we see the emerging workforce coming from these less traditional approaches to higher education as having equal or elevated value, we need to reflect that reality in our hiring and promotional practices.

Just as we strive to embrace diversity in our companies and ensure equality is the norm not the dream, we must rethink the weight we place on the traditional degree, and be willing to consider those who apply with a unconventional resume without penalty.

 

Excerpted from a recent Medium post.

Image courtesy SantiMB.Photos.

Share on Twitter or Facebook Published August 3rd 2016