New Jersey lost more than 250,000 jobs in the 2008 recession, and 36,000 in December of 2013. Since then, the state has slowly been building back job opportunities for its residents, adding a small 10,100 jobs since the decline in December. While the state slowly builds its numbers, tens of thousands of residents are out there looking for jobs, and statistics show that many of them are without a degree.
The challenge now exists for the educational and professional community to close the gap in order to provide more jobs for those without a higher degree. In September, the Huffington Post reported a major difference in unemployment numbers for those with and without a degree - 7.2 percent for those with, and 5.2 percent for those without. Identifying these career opportunities and making them known to the public is the next step.
Some jobs require college, period. But that is not true for a lot of the job market. If you are a job candidate without a college degree, here are some tips to help close the gap and break through the barrier yourself.
1. Make sure you are learning. No matter what job you are trying to get, you have to know the skills necessary to attain the job. What computer programs do they use? Do you need to be good with numbers? Should you learn some basic coding? Having this skills on your resume will help stand out even without a degree.
2. Know people. There are many different networking possibilities and you may choose any of them. But you have to network. If you're shy, start online. Visit a website in a field of interest and check out the comments section. Connect with people on Twitter and build relationships with others in that field. Whenever you meet someone who has the same interest, chat them up. This is one of the best ways to find a job.
3. Work for Free. No matter what you're skills are, there is someone out there who is willing to give you a free chance. Want to be a manager? Try volunteering for an organization. Do you want to write or code? Take the initiative and put up some good work online. No matter what the field, there is a way for you to get some documented experience before you send in that resume.
While the job search may be looking a little bleak in New Jersey, the economy is turning around. Make sure you are showcasing your skills in the best way possible in order to land the interview.