Degree vs. Results

My time as a Praxis participant is quickly coming to an end. It has been an absolutely life changing experience and I can’t wait for what comes next. Throughout the program, I’ve had people doubt the path I’m taking. Even in just the last month I’ve had several conversations with people who were concerned about my future. “You don’t have a degree to fall back on so what if something happens?” Most of the time I shrug these kinds of questions off but I’ll admit some of them did get me thinking. Recently I’ve decided if given the option, I wouldn’t trade the experiences and skills I’ve gained in the past year for any type of degree out there.

I’m currently working on a personal pitch deck. I plan on using this as my primary collateral when pitching myself to different companies. It shows who I am, what my skills are, the tangible results I’ve gotten from my work, and how I can add value to that specific company. The closer I get to finishing it, the more I realize how superior this is to a degree.

Imagine yourself as an employer. You have one single position to fill. You get the word out there and encourage people to apply. Within a week, you receive over 100 different applications. I like to imagine myself up against 100 other resumes belonging to “ideal candidates.” These guys all have a fancy degree. they’ve listed every award from high school, every club they were a part of, their internships, and grades.

Along with my resume, which alone is pretty powerful, I submit my personal pitch deck. This first slide gives a summary of who I am and what my skills are. You, the employer, flip to the next slide. There you find a short blurb about what I found particularly awesome about your company compared to others I’ve looked at. This shows not only that I have a passion for this type of work, but also that I’ve done my research.

The next slide isn’t as complimentary. You find a list of specific things the company can and should be doing differently to increase business. Right after this, you find my value proposition. This is a description what I will begin doing to make these changes on day one.

The next slide is a clean and professional video presentation of me telling my story. I talk about how I jumped right from high school into the work force. I describe my first day at my new job 9 months ago. I didn’t have a clearly defined role when I started. I had to search for ways to create value. Following this, I give a brief overview of all that I’ve done for my company since then.

The next 3 slides are my specific skills and the results that I have to back them up. The first one shows the 5 websites I built and managed during this year. I describe how I strategically built them to increase sales for my company and the difference after I did that. The second highlights my skills in writing, content marketing, and public speaking. I mention I’ve been published on Vox.com. I show off the 3 blogs that I am the sole content contributor for. I also mention that I’ve given talks and presentations at Duquesne University, Carnegie Mellon, The University of Pittsburgh, Ohio University, and several high schools in the Pittsburgh area.

Last, I talk about the marketing skills I’ve acquired. I show the positive difference in open/click rate before and after I took over the email marketing for my business partner, PyRSquared. This directly shows my ability to gain people’s interest. I also show a couple of the cooler ads I’ve designed for both Allegheny Crane and KP Builders.

To conclude, I say thank you for looking over my pitch deck and that I would love to work for such a fantastic company. Now as the employer, who are you going to hire? Would it be the kid that yeah, seems like the right type for the job, but hasn’t been tested and would require a fair amount of training? Or is it this guy, who expressed interest in working specifically for your company. The guy who has real skills and has had them tested. The guy who has tangible results to back up his credentials. Who would you hire? I’d say the odds are in my favor.

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