Earning an online degree is a great option for many people who want to pursue higher education but whose schedule requires a greater amount of flexibility than a traditional university experience. Unfortunately, between the relative newness of the online education field and the number of disreputable companies and diploma mills trying to take advantage of students, many employers are reluctant to take a chance on someone who’s earned a diploma from an online degree program. However, that shouldn’t discourage from applying for any job you want or from participating in an online degree program in the first place. You just need to know how to market you online degree in the real world.
- Sell the school. If an employer shows trepidation about hiring someone who graduated from an online degree program, it’s often because he or she just isn’t familiar with that school’s legitimate strengths. That’s why it’s important that you let employers know about the online degree program’s accreditation. Every university, whether a set of physical buildings in the Ivy League or an online institution only a few years old, must be accredited to be taken seriously, and it’s up to you to make sure your employer knows that your program met the same standards of educational rigor as every other school. The U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation aren’t just tools for you, but for a potential boss. Tell him or her that your school has been accredited, then give them the proof.
- Sell the method. Similarly, the gray area in online degree program accreditation also leads some employers to believe that online degrees are easier to obtain than those from a brick-and-mortar college or university. But earning a degree online takes just as much work as getting one at a more traditional venue, especially considering that most online students choose digital programs so that they can go to school while also keeping obligations to family or other jobs. Discussing the work you put in to get the degree, as well as the real-life experience of balancing school with a host of other responsibilities, will help the employer realize your skills.
- Sell yourself. This is just like what you’d do if you had attended a traditional college or university. Employers look for grades, work samples, and other signs that you put in plenty of time and effort to earn your degree, and those are all things you’ll have if you graduated from a rigorous, accredited online degree program. All graduates need to be able to effectively talk about themselves and their experiences, no matter their institution, and being able to do this will help your potential employer realize that your online degree program was just as rewarding and preparatory for the real world as a typical four-year college.
With those tips, marketing your online degree in the real world will be a lot easier.