Don't dismiss the value of a degree even in this economy

Joined
Oct 14, 2011
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825
#1
I have been hearing a lot of TMs at my store saying that degrees are worthless unless you have a bachelors, and I have occasionally read posts here that kind of suggest that. I just wanted to start a discussion to bring to peoples attention that having a "lesser" degree than a bachelors is still very useful in the eyes of Target. (this is especially true for TMs who want to make TL, but can't get a bachelors for whatever reason but might be able to get a "lesser" degree)

Let's say you are applying to be a TM and only have an associate's degree. (two year degree) How many TM's at your store have high school/GED/drop out? I know at my store at least 90% of TMs fall in one of those categories. Now I know an associate's degree is not enough to be an ETL, but guess what? If you come from the outside and apply as a TM almost automatically you are over 95% of people applying for TM jobs at your store. (I do interviews as a TL, and it is extremely rare when we interview a TM applicant with any kind of degree) Be honest - if your ETL-HR is interviewing people for TM spots and someone with an associate's degree walks in (assuming they don't do/say anything stupid) do you really think your ETL-HR will not hire them over someone with high school only? Absolutely not.

Now let's say that TM with an Associate's degree gets hired as a TM. Let's say they are pretty good as a TM. A few months later a TL spot opens and they do interviews. That TM brings up he/she has an associate's degree in the interview for TL, while every other TM interviewing has high school. We all know how nuts ETLs/STLs/DTLs are when they hear the word "degree". They froth at the mouth like a rabid dog because Target drills in to their head the idea that "anyone with a degree = automatically better than all others with out". Now does this automatically mean that another TM interviewing with high school only who has spent 6 years with the company will automatically not be considered? Probably not, but you can bet your a** that TM with an associate's degree will give you a run for your money in the minds of the ETLs/STL/DTL doing the interviews simply because they are of the mindset "degree = better than everyone else".

I promoted from TM to TL and I have an associates degree. (this was back during the time when we did round robbins outside the store) At the time I made sure to bring up that I had an associates degree in all 3 of my interviews. You should have seen their eyes light up when I told each of them. After I was signed off on my STL told me my on the side that my degree pretty much sealed the deal and most of the others didn't even stand a chance at that point. (I was the only one going for TL who had anything more than high school)

Anyway - just something to consider for TMs who are trying to make TL. You may not be able to make ETL, but it will definitely help you get a TL spot.
 
Joined
Aug 22, 2011
Messages
50
#2
I think you brought up some good points.

It can also be noted that an Associates degree can be obtained on the way towards a Bachelors, using the same credits. So if somebody was working while they were seeking a degree, getting the Associates along the way might lead to promotion earlier than if they didn't get it along the way.
 
Joined
Nov 20, 2011
Messages
71
#3
Degrees are everything in this job market and experience means very little (in comparison to the past).

When you have a TM who has worked at Target for a long time who doesn't have any sort of degree versus some fresh-out-of-college degree holder, why not pay less for the more overqualified individual? That and you only have to train the new person to be TL/ETL, versus training the TM to do lead duties and then train someone else to take their old position. More qualifications with less payroll!

That isn't to say that you can't move up from TM status, but you're most likely not moving up without some sort of degree. The put emphasis on degrees because it says to the ETL/DTL/HR that you put forth a goal to go to college and get an education and you have proof that you fulfilled that commitment. An associates degree is similar and shows ongoing progress towards self-goals (since most people get it along the way towards a Bachelors). Although it's purely an individual thing and even high school dropouts can work harder and more efficiently than bachelor degree holders, that's usually the only real piece of info they have on applicants before the interview.

But they know if you're an outsider with a degree applying for TL/ETL, you probably can't find a dream job in your field and they will pay you peanuts ha ha ha.
 
Joined
Dec 4, 2011
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#4
I got my bachelor's degree in 2007. I have been in retail for 7 years. I was hired on as a Softlines TM. I also have some management experience. Is there a specific degree that they are looking for? It may be true that there were no TL positions available when I applied, but it doesn't change the fact that I have been treated like a complete dumb*** from day one.
 
Joined
Aug 22, 2011
Messages
50
#5
I got my bachelor's degree in 2007. I have been in retail for 7 years. I was hired on as a Softlines TM. I also have some management experience. Is there a specific degree that they are looking for? It may be true that there were no TL positions available when I applied, but it doesn't change the fact that I have been treated like a complete dumb*** from day one.
According to the job postings on .com the only education requirement is a "4-year college degree". On top of that there are always stories about ETL's that majored in less traditional fields such as criminal justice (although I guess that would be a traditional field for AP). So, they might prefer some majors, but it doesn't seem like a different major will make it impossible for you be hired.
 
Joined
Sep 11, 2011
Messages
106
#6
I have an Associate's degree, and I'd like to say that its been a benefit on my road to hopefully become TL, but its hard to say. I know that its due to me being a hard worker, who is willing to learn as much about the store as possible, but I guess I really have no way to know if my education has anything to do with it.
 
Joined
Nov 4, 2011
Messages
29
#7
Degrees are everything in this job market and experience means very little (in comparison to the past).
This has been a very interesting read. I hold an associate degree in my field with the intention of getting a bachelor's degree (I got sidetracked by life and work so that is currently on hold).

I'd like to remark on the comment about degrees being everything and experience means very little. That is not always true. I know for a fact in my field, experience means everything and know of many people fresh out of college with AA or BA degrees not able to get jobs due to their lack of experience.
 
Joined
Nov 10, 2011
Messages
68
#8
I'd like to remark on the comment about degrees being everything and experience means very little. That is not always true. I know for a fact in my field, experience means everything and know of many people fresh out of college with AA or BA degrees not able to get jobs due to their lack of experience.
That's why it's so important for college students to get internships before they graduate. I studied journalism in college and in that particular major, you really can't get a job out of college without relevant work experience and writing samples.

I think an associates degree could definitely help you with a job at Target, but usually when people are in college, they aren't earning their degree to work at a retail store, they usually have something bigger in mind. I've also heard that even bachelor degrees are getting to be less desirable in the current job market, as more and more people are earning their master degrees. It really depends on what future career you have in mind.

If a person has the time and money, I would suggest skipping the associates degree and just earning a bachelor degree. However, if that's not a current option, an associates degree could work, but there won't be as many career opportunities available.
 
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Joined
Nov 15, 2011
Messages
30
#9
I'd like to remark on the comment about degrees being everything and experience means very little. That is not always true.
I agree. I think it depends entirely on the field and also the geographic location. I finished my BA two years ago and have two years of clerical experience and three of customer service, and yet my seasonal TM position is the first job offer I've had in eighteen months. My interviewers are always more interested in my limited experience, and two of them outright insulted me for having a college degree.
 
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Joined
Oct 14, 2011
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#10
"and two of them outright insulted me for having a college degree"

This is probably because you put in for a job that didn't require a degree and the person interviewing you didn't even have one.....
 
Joined
Nov 20, 2011
Messages
71
#11
Absolutely, many fields do require experience and a lot of fresh-out-of-college individuals can't get jobs in their field because they don't have the related experience. As mentioned, getting internships and having connections in the business is what gets your foot in the door. Book smarts can only take you so far in heavily skilled fields of work.

But that whole thing I said earlier was only in the scope of Target and trying to become a TL (aka moving up). Working at Target isn't one of those "fields". A lot of those people with degrees that can't get jobs in their field tend to apply for open TL spots a lot. When Spot was a bit newer, I saw plenty of people with tons of managerial experience hired for TL/ETL spots and it really showed through their work ethics (a lot without degrees). I also saw TMs who worked their butts off and eventually was given the opportunity to be promoted to TL.

But now I see TMs who work very hard and their fellow TMs even look up to them and think they would make a great lead. Then they are constantly declined when they apply for an open TL spot and then the store hires someone young face with a degree that knows very little about the Spot process. Then it is awkward for a few weeks while everyone gets adjusted.

Degree + Experience > Degree Only > Experience Only, seems to be the case for Target TLs.
Experience seems to be the only thing they look for in TMs.

To the main point of the topic, for the TMs looking to move up, it is definitely wise to stay in school! Even if you only get a 2-year degree, it shows to the leads that you can make a commitment and stick with it. No complaints when some goofy TL gets hired and you don't get promoted. Everything StateofTarget said is true, if an outside applicant has a degree, they'll squash the chances of the TMs looking to move up. But if you, as a TM, works hard for a degree while working with Spot, you'll be ahead of the pack for TL spots!

I agree. I think it depends entirely on the field and also the geographic location. I finished my BA two years ago and have two years of clerical experience and three of customer service, and yet my seasonal TM position is the first job offer I've had in eighteen months. My interviewers are always more interested in my limited experience, and two of them outright insulted me for having a college degree.
It might be because the TM position is pretty basic and hiring people with degrees isn't super necessary (sometimes it makes them overqualified). On the other hand, there was a thread somewhere about new TLs requiring (or highly "desired" they have) a degree of some sort.
 
Joined
Jun 9, 2011
Messages
78
#14
Target actually pushed me back into school. After running out of money on my way to a 4 year degree, I moved back home with only 20 credits left for my Associates. I got hired on at Target and get 38+ hours a week, so I consider it full time. I worked on finishing up those 20 hours online. After this past summer and after all the BS I went through, I made the choice to go BACK to school d*mn the loans and money it would cost. I am now in need of only 6 credits for my final semester, and have already enrolled to move back and continue with my 4 year degree. With that said, I have ZERO intention to bring that degree back to Target, Target pushed me back to school because I know I can do so much better.
 
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