No Degree, No Problem: A Guide to Overcoming Imposter Syndrome in Your Career

Life skills

September 20, 2023

The other week, I had a peek into my Newsletter Survey.

This is the survey you fill out when joining my Newsletter List to tell me all about the kind of things you’re interested in me covering and your wishes comes true!

In one of the forms someone said:

Imposter syndrome is something I struggle with a lot – I don’t have a four year degree or “real” credentials. I have learned mostly on my own and by doing, and have hopped around a lot. But I want to understand – how do I avoid imposter syndrome stopping me from doing things and taking risks?

What a great question.

Let’s dig in. 

And what better way to explore than looking at different scenarios.

The Scenarios

A) You’ve been working in an industry, say marketing or advertising, for a while now. You fell into the job, so you don’t have the specific degree, and you’re wondering if you should get one. 

B) You’re a self-taught photographer who is getting paid for your work but you haven’t got a degree in photography.

C) You’re switching careers and going into a new role that doesn’t specify certain qualifications, but you think you should have them (eg. you’ve worked in events and now you’re going into a project management role). 

So which one of these do you think needs a degree, and why?






With the first two – it’s working! You’ve been hired, you’re getting paid which is evidence enough that you’re good at what you do.

With the third one – don’t hold yourself back from applying for the job! If they haven’t stipulated a project management certificate, then wait. Get the job, then see if you need it.

Don’t believe me? Here’s a 2021 article from Harvard Business Review saying that the hiring landscape has changed. The number of students enrolling into higher education is decreasing, (because let’s face it, it’s getting ridiculously expensive nowadays) and yet the demand for workers is rising, so it just wouldn’t be beneficial to companies to only look for degrees when hiring. They want you even if you don’t have a degree!

So now that’s sorted, let’s move on to the real problem here….

What’s behind the need for credentials?

When the question of getting extra credentials comes up in my coaching calls, I always do some investigating. 

I ask what’s behind the need for credentials.

What do you think that qualification will give you that you don’t currently have?

If it’s essential knowledge you need for the job or if it’s a qualification you need that’s required for your career change, then go right ahead.

But if the reason you’re looking for a qualification is:

  • To create confidence within yourself
  • To get rid of Imposter Syndrome feelings
  • Prevent people from doubting you

Then it’s likely that you’re getting qualifications to act as some magical armour to give you inner strength and courage and protect you from people’s judgement.
But know this…

It’s not the credentials’ job to do that, it’s your job to do that. 

The Fear

Credentials won’t help you with the hidden fears that you’re not addressing. 

They won’t dissolve Imposter Syndrome.

Or squash the fear of being asked a question and not knowing the answer. 

Or dispell that fear of judgement, fear of rejection, and fear of being in a position where you may have to say ‘I don’t know’ and ask for help.

Yes, you can go get that qualification and have the answers, but what I’m seeing here is a golden opportunity to confront those fears. 

To practice being ok with not knowing.

To practice asking for help.

To learn to put yourself out there.

THESE are the real skills you want (that no degree teaches you btw).

When you do those things – when you do the inner work and confront the very things you’ve been fearing….oh my goodness! The confidence you will have within yourself….the calm inner strength and peace you get….no uni will ever give you that!

In conclusion

What I’m saying is – don’t reach for external validations without first doing the inner work because that is what will actually give you the validation you’re looking for. Do that first, and then, if you still want a degree, go for it.

But don’t rob yourself of the true life lesson here.

Ready to get coached?

Coaching gets to the root of the problem fast. So if you’re done with the reading, the podcasts and the delaying of your happiness, and you want to confront those fears, then let’s work together. 

It’s always easier, more enjoyable and way less scary to work on yourself with an expert by your side, than it is going solo. 

Let’s do this. BOOK A FREE BREAKTHTROUGH CALL and let’s get started.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *