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Resume Writing Tip: Overcome the Lack of a Degree on Your Resume

Resume Writing Tip: Overcome the Lack of a Degree on Your Resume

mortarboard So you found your dream job in a recent position announcement. The skills and experience being sought by the employer seem to be a perfect match to your background, qualifications, and career aspirations. There’s only one problem: a bachelor’s degree is listed as one of the “must-have” requirements, and you never finished your degree.

Is it hopeless to apply for a position when you don’t meet the education requirements listed in the job ad?

Not necessarily!

Employers are often willing to overlook the absence of a degree if a candidate has ample experience related to the job in question. So your resume needs to highlight precisely that by showcasing your history of proven performance. It will be especially important for you to include quantifiable examples (using numbers, percentages, dollar amounts, and/or before/after comparisons) of how you have improved operations, profits, team performance, customer service, market share, etc. on your resume.In addition, even though you didn’t graduate from a university or college, mention college studies that you did complete. This can be an excellent way to add in keywords (such as “BA” or “BS”) to your resume that would otherwise be missing — without being misleading or dishonest.

Here’s an example:


Coursework toward a BA in Advertising, 2004 to 2006

Completed half of degree program requirements prior to being recruited by XYZ Company to join their account executive team.

Job seekers without a college degree should also include highlights of any professional development completed to show a commitment to lifelong learning.

Here’s an example:

Professional Development:

Completed numerous seminars and courses on topics including:

Legal & Regulatory Affairs / Leadership & Supervision / Six Sigma Principles / Performance Management / Finance for Non-Financial Managers / Strategic Business Plans / Balanced Scorecards

So don’t be discouraged if you find a job posting that interests you but you lack the educational requirements. It’s worth a shot to apply for the position, and highlight the value you bring to the table through your experience and proven track record. Wishing you a successful job search!

Karen Hofferber

Senior Resume Writer,