As a recruiter, what is more important for your organisation: qualifications or new-age skills? While this might seem like a simple inquiry, the debate over this old-age question is endless. Back then, people with a diploma could raise to the executive level, as long as they have the skills and experience to be a great leader.
However today, you do need to have a master’s degree to occupy the same leadership chair. Upon observing such cases, it raises a critical question, do qualifications really matter more than polished skills?
As education gets more affordable with various scholarship schemes, it is no longer a privilege that more and more people can pursue higher education. With the rise of higher education placements, people earn higher degrees is a common practice. As a consequence, there comes the rise for need of qualifications in the job market.
In the past, one would be hired as long as they had the required skills to perform the job, despite not coming from specialised educational background. Today,, it seems like the only way sometimes to land this great job opportunity with a reputed company is to have those flashy degrees behind your name.
While most employers enlist formal education degree as one of the main requirements in a job advertisement, it does not always guarantee that candidates who meet all the qualifications will get the job.
There have been cases where hiring managers fail top graduates over candidates, who can demonstrate better communication skills. Rather than hiring someone with strong theoretical knowledge but zero practical experience, companies prefer less-educated candidates who can be a better fit.
But then again, isn’t it good qualification that will give you the opportunity to pass on the early resume screening round? Well, the answer depends on how see you it. Take a look at the following reasons why both qualifications and skills have their own strengths:
A degree, certificate, and proficiency in foreign language are among basic qualifications that will be listed on your resume and cover letter. These qualifications are something quantitative, which makes it easier for employers to measure and recognise. For example, having a master’s degree in computer science will undoubtedly give you the competitive advantage, over other candidates who ‘only’ hold bachelors degree in programming.
However, it should be noted that earning university degree is not just about getting good career placement. More than financial matters, education is something that will change the way you perceive the world. Education will equip you with greater depth of understanding towards particular issues. Not only it provides theoretical knowledge, it will also shapes you with analytical and critical minds that will help you solve real problems in the professional world.
Skills matter too
Leadership, communication, teamwork, and work ethic are some of the most in-demand soft skills. These qualities represent how you interact and relate with other people around you. Given that these skills are more of qualitative nature, it becomes difficult for recruiters to see it through a sheet of paper.
However, when you secure an interview with them, demonstrating these skills and emphasising your wide experience will help you win hiring manager’s attention. And eventually, it will help you secure a job offer.
As more people acquire latest degrees, employers are seemingly less impressed with those today. They seek for more skills and experiences rather than mere qualification. After all, most job responsibilities require educational qualification as something beneficial, rather than essential.
Towards the end, it comes back to you. While the ideal is to combine both aspects, it always depends on what kind of career you are pursuing, and how your qualifications and skills can help you excel.