There are typically two different situations that a job seeker with an incomplete degree can be in. Either you didn't finish your degree and don't plan to, or you're currently completing it. I know job seekers in both situations and there is a great way to handle the incomplete degree scenario.
So how do you address your incomplete education on your resume?
Let's look at both scenarios: those job seekers currently pursuing a degree, and those who've decided not to return to school.
Didn't Finish The Degree
I personally think it's important to include your degree or coursework on your resume, especially when it's related to your current or desired career field. There are two ways I would suggest tackling this:
1. List the college you went to, the program area you studied, and dates you attended school. You're not including a degree here because one was not awarded.
2. State the university you attended, relevant courses you completed (especially if they're related to a position you're pursuing), and dates you attended the school.
You have to be careful when including this information on your resume. You don't want to mislead an employer into thinking you have a degree that you don't have. This can come back to bite you if you're offered the position and they fact-check.
Plus, the goal here isn't to deceive anyone into thinking that you have a degree you don't actually have. The goal is to include any education you have received—which, in my opinion, is important to show.
Currently Pursuing A DegreeBigstock
You should absolutely include information about pursuing a degree on your resume—especially if the position requires whatever degree or certification you're pursuing. There are two great ways to handle including this information on your resume:
1. State the college you're attending, degree you're pursuing, your area of study, current GPA (if 3.0 or higher) and include your anticipated graduation date; this is very important if your graduation date is within the next 12 months.
2. List the university you're attending, degree you're pursuing, area of study, current GPA (if 3.0 or higher), and the words In Progress. This works well if you're still going to be in school for a couple of years.
If the degree or certification is a requirement for the opportunity and it has been recently obtained or will soon be completed, I recommend putting your education information at the top of the resume.
If the degree or education you have isn't required or directly related to the position, put it at the end of the resume. This is also the case if you want to share with the employer that you have some education but you don't want to advertise that you didn't complete your education.
No matter if you're a college dropout or a current college student, your resume can look complete and professional with these two strategies!
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It’s exciting, no doubt about it. Your expertise, hard work, and perseverance paid off. You got the big promotion you were working toward. Then, along with exuberance, reality sets in with a bit of nerves for this new challenge. Now you have to deliver.
Even though promotions are exhilarating, they can also leave recipients uneasy about the change. Going from a position where you had proven yourself into a position with some inherent uncertainty will put a knot in the most confident stomachs.
Oftentimes, the easiest kind of promotion is where you’re promoted into a new environment with a new team to work with. That is like a clean slate. Much harder can be the transition within a business unit. Not to mention, the move from peer to boss can definitely be a minefield. Like it or not, we create an identity at work and many of our co-workers identify us with our role. Change our role or give us more responsibility, and people around us sometimes have difficulty adapting. There are also occasions when the person promoted has difficulty adjusting.
Let’s take a look at some of the steps the newly promoted can take to ensure a smooth, effective transition.
Embrace the newness and recognize your stakeholders—those affected by your work and your team’s work. Even if you are working with some of the same people, there is a good chance you have new stakeholders or new relationships with stakeholders. Meet with them and listen to their feedback. From employees to suppliers to customers to your boss, they will let you know what’s going well and what needs improvement from their perspectives.
Note the emphasis on listening. You don’t need to promise the world just because you’re in a new role. You are there to gather their feedback so you can ensure expectations are met. You will learn a lot when you actively listen and these people will notice your engagement.
Your promotion was a competitive process. Your boss saw something in you that persuaded them to give you this opportunity. There is almost always a learning curve to your new position, but during the transition, put together a plan for yourself and your role going forward. You bring a skill set, expertise, and a new perspective. These are all ways you can add value.
Determine 30-, 90-, and 180-day milestones about what you are going to learn and how you will proceed in making positive contributions. Utilize the SMART principle for goal-setting (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-Bound). The promotion is not the high water mark. You have greater things in store.
Be as transparent as possible about your goals and expectations. This communication should be the case up and down the chain of command, and you have to actively invite feedback and demonstrate a willingness to listen to it.
Once you have developed your plan and milestones, meet with your supervisor to discuss them. If you have not worked closely with this person before, it may be helpful to meet regularly, at least while you get your feet wet. Get to know his or her expectations and communication preferences. See to it that you’re both on the same page strategically and tactically.
The same holds true if you have any employees reporting to you. They should be aware of the direction you want them going in, and they should know how you prefer to communicate. Share your goals and plans. Research has shown that we are more successful at working toward goals and implementing new habits when we communicate them to others. We allow people to hold us accountable. In a team environment, there is no other way to move the needle.
Finally, you may be asking, “Why so much emphasis on communication preferences?” Relationships at work function much better when the individuals involved have clear understandings. This becomes even more important in workplaces with flexible schedules and working arrangements, different communication media available, and where teams are distributed and function in a virtual environment. Sending an urgent email to your boss when she only checks email once a day can be useless.
Taking the time to understand these important details can ultimately pave the way for cohesiveness and long-term success after your promotion. Good luck!
We know how tricky it can be to navigate a promotion at work. If you're struggling to adjust to your new role, we can help.
We'd love it if you joined our FREE community. It’s a private, online platform where workers, just like you, are coming together to learn and grow into powerful Workplace Renegades.
Join our FREE community today to finally become an empowered business-of-one!
This article was originally published at an earlier date.