Thoughts on experience vs education for job search


I'm curious what everyone thinks of a person's work experience in a certain position when they don't have a degree, specifically regarding hiring.

So, for some background, because of a bit of a life changing event I recently moved my family from northern California to the Houston Texas area.  I've working in Architecture for 13+ years and prior to that I work in construction for about 10 years, and no I don't have a degree of any sort.  Despite not having a degree I have been diligent over the years at educating myself and taking on any challenge people would give me.  At the firm I'm coming from I was a project manager over a variety of projects mostly commercial projects, restaurants, event centers and some large custom residential handling contract writing, design development and CD's.  I have about 98% of my AXP hours logged as well and was on track to get my license in California but just can't live there anymore.  But now I'm faced with searching through job posts for jobs I know I could do but the first thing they list is a degree even for jobs I'm overqualified for like a drafting position.  I think there should be some level of discussion regarding this such as at what point does the length of experience in the real world out weight what someone might have learned 20+ years ago in school.  Sorry for the long post it's just been on my mind lately and I’ve been wanting to engage the community more, so I thought it was a good starting point.


May 14, 19 3:45 pm

Unless a license is required, your experience speaks for itself. My own manager has the exact same experience as you (except he moved from Texas, not to Texas).  Does he know everything about everything? No, but nobody else does either. Any firm worth working for, will appreciate what you bring to the table. I think you'll do just fine.

May 14, 19 4:03 pm

Just apply.  The things stated in job ads are the firm's idea of what a qualified candidate's resume would look like.  They're as much or more to communicate to you what experience level they're looking for as they are for the firm to weed out anybody.  The vast majority of architecture firms are too small to have any HR application or person who rejects people on the basis of any one specific criteria.  Emphasize your years of experience on your resume and in your cover letter.  Don't say anything about a degree or lack thereof.  Architecture firms are very busy these days and it's a good time to apply.

May 14, 19 4:49 pm

Your network is going to be key to getting an interview. Simply applying without meeting whatever minimum requirements they might be looking for, even if you're overqualified for the job, can result in getting weeded out of consideration. Use your network to bypass that initial weeding out process.

Once you get an interview, your experience and diligence should show through and I'm sure you'll be fine. 

May 14, 19 5:52 pm

That’s the strategy I was going with to apply for the jobs I feel I’m qualified for regardless of the requirements, it does seem like there’s a lot of boilerplate info in these job posts, but I understand everyone is very busy right now.  Thanks for validating my gut feeling.

May 15, 19 9:58 am

I've seen very little evidence that employers put as much effort into posting a job ad as they expect the candidates to do in their response to such an ad. You've probably heard that typos in your resume or portfolio are almost instantly disqualifying for a candidate. I've seen so many typos in the job ads that I'm worried those employers don't even know how to proofread.


In the current Bay Area job market, typos aren't as disqualifying as they used to be. Elsewhere, where applicants outweigh jobs, it may still be.

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