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General Chat Thread, Job Hunting: That Old 'Equivalent Experience' Chestnut in General; So I'm currently looking for jobs in the higher education sector (IT support based) and I have noticed that many ...
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    basicchannel's Avatar
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    Job Hunting: That Old 'Equivalent Experience' Chestnut

    So I'm currently looking for jobs in the higher education sector (IT support based) and I have noticed that many tech level roles ask for a 'degree or equivalent experience'. Does anyone have any idea what equivalent experience to a degree is, or does it depend on the employer? Is it three years, or five years or even ten?
    Do universities even look at applicants without a degree? Perhaps the 'or equivalent' bit is just a formality that means nothing?

    The thing is, I feel I have equivalent experience but don't want to waste my time filling in an application form if they're always going to look more favorably upon little Johnny Fresh-faced Graduate.

    Thanks as always

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    sparkeh's Avatar
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    There are no hard and fast rules about this kind of thing, different people will have different ideas about whether your experience is adequate.
    Personally, if I think I can do a job I apply and (if allowed in application) outline why I believe this.
    Good luck!

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Its difficult to gauge this sort of thing. If someone has spent 10 years putting toners in a printer, then they don't really have the same experience as someone who has spent 3 years running a 500PC network etc...

    So, its basically a judgement call by the recruiter.

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    basicchannel's Avatar
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    Ahh, just as I thought. I guess they rely on the intelligence of the applicant to gauge whether they're suitable for the role.

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    Sometimes a degree will be stipulated to cut down on the number of potential candidates who might apply.... you need to get past the HR filters......

    if you think you can do the job apply for it & justify why you should be considered. Don't be put off, a degree demonstrates a candidate has reached a certain academic level but experience demonstrates you can do the job. I have come across a few graduates who have failed when it came to doing the job......

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    basicchannel's Avatar
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    Does anyone have any experience as to whether universities prefer a workforce with degrees on account of them being universities? I mean obviously non-technical/unskilled staff probably wouldn't be expected to have one (although I'm sure a fair few of them do), but for techy/skilled staff...?

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by basicchannel View Post
    Does anyone have any experience as to whether universities prefer a workforce with degrees on account of them being universities? I mean obviously non-technical/unskilled staff probably wouldn't be expected to have one (although I'm sure a fair few of them do), but for techy/skilled staff...?
    Yup. Lancaster Uni won't hire people without degrees in its IT services dept.

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    I would guess, logically, that 'equivalent experience' is exactly that.. What have you done none-academically that an academic student would have done?
    Do Uni Students learn how to build a network?* Then put on your application that you can, too.
    Do Uni Students learn how to configure switches?* Then put on your application that you can, too.
    Do Uni Students learn how to set up Active Directory?* Then put on your application that you can, too.
    Do Uni Students learn how to configure a SAN?* Then put on your application that you can, too.
    Can you go one-better than what a Uni Student would learn? For instance, if a Uni Student learns how to build a small network, but doesn't learn subnetting, make sure you note that you know more than them AND have done it previously.

    However, humans aren't logical creatures. So it may not work out quite like that. I think I landed my apprenticeship without any academic qualifications because they gave us an actual 'live test' as well as an interview, so as much as I didn't have paper that said I could do it, I got the chance to prove I could. Maybe - if you get to an interview stage and you feel they're uncertain, offer a few days unpaid (unless you're aiming for an NM-type position, I guess).. Just my two cents**

    *I don't know what Student's learn. I'm an apprentice. I didn't even take ICT at High School.
    **But what do I know? I've not even been in this industry 12 months. I might, unwittingly, be spouting utter male-bovine-feces.

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    Quote Originally Posted by broc View Post
    Sometimes a degree will be stipulated to cut down on the number of potential candidates who might apply.... you need to get past the HR filters......

    if you think you can do the job apply for it & justify why you should be considered. Don't be put off, a degree demonstrates a candidate has reached a certain academic level but experience demonstrates you can do the job. I have come across a few graduates who have failed when it came to doing the job......
    In my experience - this is correct. If you are interested, and can justify why you think you can do the job, then apply. You have nothing to lose

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