How To Address An Incomplete Degree On Your Resume

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. (Psst! Can’t get hired? Watch this free tutorial.) I know job seekers in both situations and there is a great way to handle the incomplete degree scenario.


Addressing An Incomplete Degree

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 to not 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 Degree

You should absolutely include this information 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.

Are you ready to get HIRED?

Watch our free tutorial “8 Ways You’re Being SHUT OUT Of The Hiring Process” with career expert J.T. O’Donnell to find out what’s holding you back from getting hired… and how to fix it! WATCH NOW This post was originally published on an earlier date.

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About the author

Jessica Holbrook Hernandez, CEO of Great Resumes Fast is an expert resume writer, career and personal branding strategist, author, and presenter. Want to work with the best resume writer? If you would like us to personally work on your resume, cover letter, or LinkedIn profile—and dramatically improve their response rates—then check out our professional and executive resume writing services at GreatResumesFast.com or contact us for more information if you have any questions. Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a Work It Daily-approved expert. You can learn more about expert posts here. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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