You’re Worth More Than Your Past Suggests

Various tools on a wooden table.

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As companies move toward more skill-based hiring, for businesses, where you’re going is more important than where you’ve been. It’s a popular and extremely effective trend sweeping the nation. However popular it’s becoming, it’s hard for many of us to believe.

I have a tendency to timestamp myself and others. My natural inclination is to define someone by what they’ve done or failed to do. This is shortsighted and discounts the notion that people can change. If you make similar assumptions I want to say again: where you’re going is more important than where you’ve been.

Western society has seen a gradual shift towards a “where you’re going” vetting process in hiring for many roles. While in the past, college degrees were essential to obtaining some positions, the list of those jobs is shrinking rapidly. While surgeons, dentists, and psychologists will continue to require extensive formal education, many growing fields will not

Microsoft, in the spirit of developing a more diverse and inclusive team, no longer requires a college degree for many of their entry-level positions. Microsoft is actively fighting the notion of ranking people based on where they’ve been by avoiding ruling out applicants based on prior credentials. Instead of looking for a college degree, they’re seeking candidates who demonstrate a willingness to learn.

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Fun Fact: Entry-Level Positions at Microsoft can compensate between $60,000-$130,000 annually.

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Tesla is taking a similar approach to its hiring process. CEO Elon Musk made it clear that “there’s no need even to have a college degree at all, or even high school,” when they assess potential employees. In contrast to pursuing a resume of educational institutions, Tesla looks for “evidence of exceptional ability.”

These tech-giants are not alone in how they’re assessing potential employees. As a whole, the American workforce is moving towards skill-based hiring, in contrast to formal education credentials. Even America’s federal government, the largest employer in the nation, will no longer be prioritizing college degrees over applicant’s skills.

Online education and skill development will play a crucial role in continuing the trend as more companies seek talented, skilled, and unconventionally educated workers to fill positions.

If others continue to timestamp you, remember that where you’re going is more important than where you’ve been. I am hoping to live that out and my hope is that you will seek to do the same.

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