Does anyone have any thoughts on putting together a strong resume when I don't have a college degree?  I'm not talking about an explanation as to why I don't have a degree, but rather how to offset the strength of educational experience of a resume with professional experience?

Also, since I only have some I better off leaving it completely out of a resume as oppose then having to explain why I only have "some" college?

Any perspective would be appreciated.



timr's picture

You find my this thread helpful:


I had a similar question, and found that it was best to leave off the degree as it wasn't over 50% complete. Any technical training can be put under your current role. Incomplete courses, as I've found out, will always bring the question of "can you not commit?" and while you may have an answer that will hit it out of the park, it is unlikely for most people.

In terms of what you can do to offset your education, I'm afraid the answer is what have you done to offset no education? You most likely have a number of accomplishments that have shown your skills, you just need to extract what those skills are. 

What have you been doing over & above your current role?

What have you been doing to support your industry?

Have you any volunteer work in your community? Time spend on committees?

I purchased the interviewing series, $150 was a drop in the hat for the value you receive from it (and the free podcasts). There is great guidance on how to cull accomplishments from your experience. Highly recommended.


Mark's picture
Admin Role Badge

Tim's thread reference is a good one for a little more information.

It depends, though, on what percentage of school you finished, how recently you did so, and if you intend (or are studying) to graduate.

Tell me that, I'll tell you what to do. ;-)


bcockhern's picture


 Thank you both for such a quick response, I honestly appreciate this. 

I've finished about one semester of college aprox. 14 years ago and I'm currently in school now working on a Business Admin. degree.  

My experience the past 14 years is in branch level banking, finance management, limited HR, office management and internet marketing.  I've been with my current employer for 12 years and I'm only looking to move because my growth is in the early stages of becoming a net-negative…if that makes sense:) 

I got married young and the wife got pregnant earlier that planned (my first year of school) so I had to man-up get to working right 15 years of marriage and three kids later I'm wanting to make some career changes.  

Thanks again!


Mark's picture
Admin Role Badge

...for not having a degree.  We totally understand.

And, kudos for working on it.  Yes, it's going to hurt you in some cases.  C'est la vie.  At least you haven't been fired, like I have.

And...I'm not sure you answered my question.  Counting the one semester (if you've been given credit for it), how far are you now, in semesters, or percentages, and when are you scheduled to graduate?


bcockhern's picture


I'm 6.25% into my degree and I'm scheduled to graduate in the fall of 2014.

Thanks again!

Mark's picture
Admin Role Badge

You can't put that on your resume yet.  Just leave it off.  When you get to 40-50%, put it at the bottom the way we recommend, and put your expected graduation date in parentheses plus your percentage complete.


13bravo's picture

If you completed 50% twenty years ago and are not currently attending, do you still recommend including it?

I am in senior (not executive) level management at my current company with 20+ years of experience and after more than a decade with the same organization am looking for a new opportunity.  20 years ago I was working full time and going to school at night full time and during my sophomore year I learned my folks were both diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

I started to care for them and was really making a name for myself at work (was promoted and received two performance based pay increases within 9 months nearly doubling my salary) and it all started to come crashing down, I couldn’t do all three effectively so something had to give.  Obviously I wouldn’t give up on my folks and so I decided to drop school and focus on them and my career.  I don’t think it was the wrong call and have done well professionally since, while caring for them for two decades, but now that I am looking again it is coming back to hurt me.

Considering I completed 50% but it was 20 years ago and am not currently attending (so there is no expected graduation date) what would you recommend?  Leave it off the resume or: put it on, note 50% complete, and note the years attended?

Thanks in advance for any guidance you can provide,,  I hope posting on an older thread isn’t frowned upon...this thread just fit so I thought it made sense to post here.





jbennet's picture

Definitely highlight your work accomplishments and try to quantify this.  Stats such as I reduced costs by x% or I improved profits by y% look great on a resume.  Other suggestions are I successfully expanded a team of x to y and include the team goals and accomplishments as well.

Include any training you may have received over the years.  For example, say you took Notre Dame's online leadership courses or other initiatives to advance your skills - all of these would be great items to include.

Hope this helps.....