Do you know why credentials are overrated? (written by Career Expert, Pete Leibman)

I interviewed with the NBA’s Washington Wizards for an internship position during my junior year in college, and I got rejected. 

When that happened, I initially told myself that I must not have been good enough to get a job in the NBA.  At the time, I assumed that the entire organization was surely composed of Ivy League graduates with 4.0 GPA’s.  An NBA team receiving hundreds of resumes each week would certainly only hire the smartest, most qualified candidates, right?

Not even close.

Here is what I learned after getting hired for a full-time job with the team the next year.  Many of the organization’s employees went to community colleges or colleges I had never heard of, and some of the company’s most senior executives did not even go to college.  Most of the team’s employees simply got hired due to their attitude or personality and/or through networking and personal contacts; they were definitely not hired because of their pedigrees.  In addition, there were men and women of all ages, races, and backgrounds in the company.  Employers value diversity.

Here’s the inside scoop.  Employers hire candidates they know, like, and trust or candidates endorsed by people they know, like, and trust.  As a result, the most qualified people are not always the ones to get hired. 

Credentials are overrated.  Intangibles and endorsements are underrated.  This is especially true when you are a student or young professional. 

This is not meant to give you an excuse for not maintaining a high GPA, doing internships, and being proactive if you are still a student.  Is it easier for a Harvard grad with a 4.0 GPA to get a job than someone with 2.1 GPA from a community college?  Absolutely. 

However, don’t use your lack of pedigree or credentials as an excuse for why you can’t break into a certain organization or industry.  It’s not valid.  (Your major doesn’t matter either.) 

The most qualified person is not always the one who gets hired.  I guarantee there is someone with a weaker pedigree than you who has your dream job right now…

P.S. To receive a FREE 25-page report on Job Search and Career Success Secrets for Students and Young Professionals, visit my web site at

-Pete Leibman (

-Author of “I Got My Dream Job And So Can You!” (due out through AMACOM in spring 2012)

-Founder of Dream Job Academy

-Keynote Speaker for The Dream Job College Tour

Creator of The Washington Wizards’ Sports Careers Day

Explore posts in the same categories: Get Your Dream Job NOW

One Comment on “Do you know why credentials are overrated? (written by Career Expert, Pete Leibman)”

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