There is a shift happening in the workforce. People are finding that they can begin a great career right out of high school. No college degree needed.

It makes sense on a few levels. Tuition costs thousands upon thousands of dollars, even after scholarships. People go to college only to get a job in a completely different field. Experienced employees get laid off from corporate jobs. We have friends who live in the family’s basement to pay off school loans. 

The game is changing and that is benefiting the entire workforce – regardless of age. Some of America’s biggest companies no longer require college degrees for some jobs. At Advance Financial, we’re proud to say that we were ahead of the curve. We have been offering jobs to people of all education levels since we started the company.

A college diploma does not automatically equal a good employee. Why? Because the best employees have “soft skills.” People don’t learn soft skills through classes and testing. We learn them through experiences and relationships.

What are soft skills?

A soft skill is something like a positive attitude or the willingness to take on a new task. These are things that help us interact with a variety of people. While someone may develop soft skills as a by-product of the college experience, college is not the only  

For example, you could learn the patience needed for customer service work by working with a grandparent who has dementia. You could learn about negotiation tactics by taking care of your younger brothers and sisters. You could learn attention to detail from learning to balance your personal expenses. These kinds of skills can help you break into a new career.

At Advance Financial, we look for soft skills like these. If we recognize a go-getter, that person could grow into a leadership role. A sharp thinker can help us solve problems. A detailed and organized person could help with bookkeeping. 

Other soft skills we look for are:

  • Adaptability
  • Dependability
  • Integrity
  • Respect
  • Teamwork
  • Initiative
  • Professionalism
  • Patience
  • Compassion
  • Innovation
  • Creativity

Above all, we look for someone who is teachable. If a person is willing to learn how to succeed in a position, that person will do well. Being eager to learn is one the best ways to set yourself apart from the crowd. This along with a deep drive to succeed can make you unstoppable. 

Plus, people may have more of the soft skills employers search for by not going to college. “When you look at people who don’t go to school and make their way in the world, those are exceptional human beings. And we should do everything we can to find those people,” said Google’s former SVP of People Operations Laszlo Bock.

Learning skills on the job

Once we have the right person in-house, then we can teach them the “hard skills” they will need to do the job. That process would be necessary whether or not the person had a college degree. That’s why we don’t see a degree as a barrier. We want to train our people in the Advance Financial way no matter what.

We have plenty of jobs that do not need a four-year degree, such as:

Customer Service Representative 

Every company needs people who are good with, well, people! We are always on the lookout for friendly faces to greet and help customers. That could be on the phone in a call center or face-to-face behind a customer service desk. 

Collections Specialist 

Maybe you prefer to work independently or have a more traditional desk job. In that case, an administrative role, such as our collections specialist position, is a good way to go. It requires negotiation skills, attention to detail and conversational 


Managers need to be able to organize schedules and oversee day-to-day operations. No need to go to business school for that! Some managers are in stores, like our Advance Financial locations across Tennessee. Managers are also needed in our call center, where we have positions in collections, inbound customer service, and phone lending. The largest requirement? The ability to lead. 

The best part about these jobs is that you can build a lifelong career. Your career path doesn’t have to be dictated by having a college degree or not. As a company, we are dedicated to helping our employees succeed