Success without diploma possible; the story of an abuse survivor

(NewsNation) – Angel Hernandez had years of sales experience, but employers deemed her resume “insufficient” because she didn’t finish college.

In 2020, Hernandez took an entry-level sales job she felt overqualified for in order to financially support her children. She moved from Pennsylvania to San Antonio, Texas.

“It was an opportunity for me,” Hernandez told NewsNation Digital, “an opportunity to prove that I could take care of myself and my kids. had said before were not true.

Hernandez is a survivor of domestic violence and has endured the trauma of sexual, physical and emotional abuse, as well as neglect.

Within weeks at her new job in San Antonio, Hernandez became one of the top sales reps among her team of six. As she looked for opportunities to grow in the company, Hernandez felt that once again not having a degree was the reason she couldn’t get a raise or advance.

She heard it all. Employers blatantly told her in interviews that having children made her an apparent handicap and that they simply couldn’t hire without a college degree.

“What I really want people to understand is that not everyone starts in the same place. It’s not Monopoly. We are human beings at the end of the day. And for me, I think it’s more important to highlight how someone overcame those things,” Hernandez said.

Sometimes employers require certain documents upon hiring, including a background check. Hernandez has had to live in domestic violence shelters throughout his life, and those who live there cannot reveal their address to anyone. This was just one of the challenges Hernandez faced trying to work in corporate America.

Hernandez struggled to convey her experience on a resume. She knew she needed help and decided to seek out a career coach on LinkedIn. Hernandez came across and certified career coach Jonaed Iqbal, who has helped over 400 job seekers without a college degree.

Iqbal hosts “The NoDegree Podcast – Non-Degree Success Stories for Job Search, Careers and Entrepreneurship”.

NoDegree works with companies that see beyond the lack of a college degree. Google, VaynerMedia, IBM and other famous names are leading this trend.

“I am a strong advocate for extraordinary individuals who have chosen to bypass the traditional college route and go directly to impact the world,” said Iqbal.

Iqbal hopes employers will keep in mind that “it’s a luxury to go to college,” noting that “80% of people who go to college tend to come from the middle or upper class. There are a good number of people who don’t go to college, not because they can’t actually pass the test, but because life hits them.

“Again, you have to break through to the entry level, do a good job and progress… People don’t realize that you can create your own experience. You can start a small business, build on it, and then you can use it to get into the business because it gives you a very unique story. YouTube is also “one of the biggest universities in the world”, Iqbal added.

The following jobs do not require a university degree:

  • Drivers
  • Technology jobs
    • Programmers
    • Project managers
  • Sales jobs
  • Human ressources
  • Recruitment
  • Video montage
  • Graphic design
  • help desk
  • Systems Administrator

Iqbal called the resume a “sales document” and encouraged job seekers to focus on building confidence as well as what you bring to the table.

The beginnings of Angel Hernandez:

Hernandez grew up in South Chicago in a family with a lot of drug addiction and mental illness.

In 2017, after receiving her doula certification, Hernandez launched her birth business.

She moved out on her own at age 15 with her high school boyfriend and started working and juggling school. Attendance requirements proved difficult, so she left traditional high school and enrolled in an alternative school that allowed her to graduate at age 17.

Hernandez said she wanted to go to college but lacked financial support.

“Even after working for two years and living independently, I couldn’t apply for financial aid without my mother’s information, so I married my then-boyfriend in order to enroll in college. community,” Hernandez said.

Hernandez applied to college several times, but each time her husband wouldn’t let her finish. Hernandez spent 17 years in an abusive relationship and gave birth to three children against her will.

“Needless to say, I endured significant abuse in the marriage, and I never told anyone about it because I truly believed he was the only person who loved me. I was terrified to be a single mom,” Hernandez said.

After the birth of her third child, Hernandez started a birth business to support women in her community. During her doula training, Hernandez learned that a woman who had been a good friend for 20 years had been killed by her fiancé.

Something inside Hernandez told her she had to go. She left her situation and trained as a flight attendant, continuing to run her birth business, to help resettle herself and her children.

Eventually, she found safety and a new love. She remarried and began the process of continuing her education. Angel is now 35 and is a full-time Customer Success Manager for her organization called “Woman to Mother”.

What’s next for Hernandez?

Hernandez is pursuing another position in technology and plans to move to Europe in the next two years with his family. As for a degree, she is enrolled at Texas Woman’s University.

Hernandez and family at a 2021 wedding

“It’s not for an employer. It’s not for anyone else. It’s for me. I’ve changed majors several times, and it may continue to happen. But it’s more about the journey than the destination. I’m really, really grateful to find myself and my kids safe and happy,” Hernandez said.

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