Do Credentials Really Trump Experience?

As the worldwide economic crisis continues, a new trend is emerging. A large number of adults over the age of

As the worldwide economic crisis continues, a new trend is emerging. A large number of adults over the age of 30 are finding themselves back in school or studying to get certified and increase their job prospects. Another factor driving adults back to school is a career change; perhaps the industry they’ve worked in for an extended period of time is no longer viable, suffering at the hands of the credit crunch so a change of direction and new skills are needed if they ever hope to re-enter the job market. There are others still who choose to go self-employed and make things happen for themselves and wish to back that decision up with further education. Whatever the reason, it is a trend that is becoming increasingly popular.

Credentials are an absolute necessity in many industries, I mean, you wouldn’t dream of having major surgery by an unqualified or unlicensed doctor but in a world of change, many are rolling with the times and gaining much needed experience in the field they wish to work in.

Let’s have a quick look at some statistics to see how UK college graduates are faring in the job market for a real glimpse into what their future may hold:

For example, during the 2010/2011 academic year

All enrolled students: 2.501.295                                                                Qualifiers: 762.540



Credentials trump experience


According to statistics, a great number of UK college graduates are either unemployed or underemployed after spending years and a small fortune on higher education, only to be told they lack the necessary experience or skills to land a job. With that, there is obviously the additional problem of being unable to pay mounting student debt with such low-paid jobs.

How about those on the look-out for potential clients? I mentioned earlier that many seek further education because they have decided to go self-employed. By all means further yourself on a professional and/or personal level and do something to enrich your viability to future clients. At the same time though, help potential clients see what YOU can bring to the table, YOUR wealth of knowledge and expertise as well as YOUR unique take on their business. Alternatively, you can do volunteer work in your preferred sector for that hands on experience that you can then make your own for the benefit of your clients.

So where am I going with this? Well, I specialize in the Spanish real estate market, providing administrative services to agencies as well as their clients and most of  my know-how stems from ten years of active experience working within the sector, not just from book learning (not that I haven’t done that as well) but who can argue that even though being certified can certainly boost opportunities for you, it is not the be all and end all. What if I had all the theory in the world but was unable to apply it in everyday scenarios? What good would my diploma  do in its expensive frame on my wall? Not much.

Everyone and his dog is on the look-out for true business savvy. Not everyone is born with it but a few have done it right:



Richard BransonRichard Branson dropped out of school aged 16 and began Student Magazine. Fast forward a few years and he became the owner of multi-billion Virgin brand encompassing 360 companies including the airline.



Coco ChanelGabrielle “Coco” Chanel trained as a seamstress who soon became famed for her bold patterns and her new twist on what women could wear as well as firm favourite fragrance, Chanel No 5. Chanel is the only fashion designer to figure on Time magazine’s “Most Important People of the Century” list, published in 1999.




Walt DisneyWithout a doubt, Walt Disney has had an impact on all of our lives. He penned cartoons for his high school newspaper, was rejected from the army at the age of 16 for being too young but he went on to use his art to create real magic.




Simon CowellLove him or hate him, who doesn’t know sharp tongued Simon Cowell? He got his break in the music world when his music executive father got him a job in the mail room of the music publishing company where he worked. Cowell of  X Factor fame is also the owner of labels EMI, Sony Music Entertainment and Syco.


These are just examples of successful people who did not graduate college. Now I’m not endorsing dropping out of school (kids, stay in school) but as I said before, it doesn’t have to be the answer to everything. We all have something unique to offer if we put our minds to it. Do credentials always trump experience? No way!

About Sabrina L. Williams

Although I was born in the UK, I moved to the Canary Islands, Spain at a young age and I haven't looked back. The Canaries is a fantastic place to live, I mean you can do all types of outdoor activities practically all year round because of the great weather. Horses are my poison but the islands are also a superb spot for water sports so they do attract a lot of attention from people around the world. Anyway, enough about that. Back in 2011, I made one of the biggest, scariest yet best decisions I'd ever made and set-up my own business in the middle of a recession. I love what I do as no two days are the same, plus Spanish law keeps me on my toes as it is constantly changing (often without warning!) so there is always something new to learn. As I've branched out in the world of Administrative Consultancy, I decided to create a blog to discuss topics of interest to others in my industry and my clients, share tips and experiences, to see what new ideas people have for improving their businesses and the like so I hope you'll find the time to join me on this venture...

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