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Recruiters Are Passing Over College Degrees for This Essential Soft Skill

A college degree used to be the gold standard for finding a job, but increasing numbers of companies are eliminating or reducing their requirements for a degree as a condition for hiring. According to Glassdoor, graduating from an impressive college name is now less critical for landing a position you love—from jobs in tech (on Glassdoor this includes Google and Apple) and retail (Costco and Nordstrom) to banking (Bank of America) and publishing (Penguin Random House).

But great skills will always be critical, and perhaps even more important is a learning mindset which keeps your capabilities fresh and makes your potential evident. In fact, a 2021 study found the characteristic of curiosity and an orientation for learning were the hottest new skills, with 72% of leaders reporting they believe it’s a valuable trait and 51% who believe it has become more important over time. Leaders also believe it drives business impact (59%) and performance (51%).


A learning orientation—and curiosity—are the desires to seek new information, inquire, explore and discover novel possibilities and experiences. According to the same study, LinkedIn posts mentioning curiosity are up 71% and job postings mentioning the need for curiosity are up 90% in the last couple years.

And managers want people with a learning orientation, no matter the role. Respondents in the SAS study thought it was important for success as a c-suite executive (58%), as a director or department leader (56%), as a mid-level manager (51%), or as an entry-level employee (53%).

The bottom line: A learning mindset will set you apart as you seek a new job or pursue a promotion in your current company.


With a learning orientation, you can build your skills to make yourself more attractive to employers, but your curiosity can also be differentiating by itself. Here’s how to put yourself in a positive light for potential employers, based on your mindset for learning.

Highlight your self-confidence: People appreciate working with those who have a strong point of view and self-confidence, because they typically speak up and contribute to the work with vigor. Learning new things is a boost to self-confidence because it tends to remind you of what you already know, build additional capabilities, and provide you with new skills which contribute to your current and future success.

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Source: LinkedIn Logo       Tracy Brower, 25 mai 2022

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