Winning cover letters and resumes lead to winning interviews:
Get the job you interview for -- without ‘interview jitters’, embarrassment, or being stumped by trick interview questions. Matt & Nan DeLuca and the job-interview.net experts will prepare you for your interview with the Complete Interview Guide.
INTERVIEW IN DEPTH
If hired, how soon will you be able to start work?
Be honest...if you can start right now (you are currently unemployed) or if you feel that in good conscience you must allow 2 weeks notice to current employer, say so. If the interviewer does not raise the issue you certainly should. "If hired, when would you expect me to start work?" and "When will you expect to make a hiring decision?" Most organizations know that individuals must wind up certain transactions before starting.
If you are totally free to start immediately, point this out as a positive element in your candidacy. "One of the advantages of my being currently unemployed is that I can start immediately."
With all your experience why would you want to take an entry position job?
Why do you? Do any of these responses fit the bill?
Simply because of all my experience I am better able to evaluate what I want to do at this point in my life.
This (career change/job opening) is what I have wanted to do for awhile. I have taken classes....(what have you done to evidence your interest in making a change)
I realized that my prior career path would not lead me to what I wished to do. In order to re-position myself, I am starting in the beginning.
It is worth it just to be able to work in this organization. I have looked for job openings here in ___ department for ages; I am a fast learner and see proving my value to the organization quickly, once given a chance.
Have to go with 'real' reasons as much as possible. Tell the truth but cast your decision in the best possible light...a positive move to make for both you and the organization that hires you.
What if a person has years of experience, but no college degree to back it up?
There are many reasons why an employer might make a degree a requirement for hiring. One is a belief that essential training is received in college...writing, communication, technical skills. Second, the employer may want to upgrade its staff and believes hiring college grads. Third, to maintain salary levels and promotional grades, a college diploma is often used to demarcate different levels. A diploma is often used to 'graduate' from clerical to administrative.
That said, what to do? Have you purposely not gotten a degree or was it simply not available to you? Not everyone can attend college...but college is becoming what a high school degree used to be a requirement, even if it does not give the holder the practical experience someone like yourself may possess.
You need to make a strong presentation of your practical skills and first-hand expertise. You might consider taking classes...many schools offer life credits for your practical experience so you would not have to start at the beginning. You may enjoy this educational process. Lastly, you will probably have more success with a line manager...someone who actually does the work...rather than HR/Personnel. HR typically looks for the check-off points in a resume or in an interview, seeking to exclude or include individuals who pass the stated requirements. Line managers, however, typically look for potential and practical experience. You might try directing your resumes to these people. If you can pass the gatekeeper, you will have a better shot. The question you might ask is "Why is a degree essential to the position?" and have strong responses to counter their stance.