Regardless of your level of education, properly listing your education endeavors in the resume education section often makes a difference in receiving an interview. Many job postings specifically require a certain level of education or a specific degree, but what do you do if your education does not match up exactly? You work with it!
The way you present information in a resume education section can make a less-than-ideal situation seem more appealing, or at least presents it in a way that avoids harming your interview potential. Four common situations that may apply to your education include the following:
If any of these situations apply to you, presenting the information the right way in your resume education section can help you avoid being dismissed for a position that you may not appear to be qualified for on the surface.
In some fields, a degree is not the only way you can qualify for a position. If you have worked in a field and have gained the necessary experience and knowledge, some prospective employers are still willing to give you a chance. Emphasize any relevant experience regardless of whether it is from a professional setting or a volunteer one. If you have any educational classes or training that relates to the position, you can include it on your resume under the heading of “Education and Training” for your resume education section. In your cover letter, explain more in-depth how your experiences qualify you for the position.
A degree earned in another country is more of a positive than a negative. However, some positions that require very specific degrees and educational training might cause a problem if you cannot show how the foreign degree is relevant in the resume education section. For any foreign degree, though, make sure you understand the US equivalent of the degree. Classes and program focuses likely differ from one country to the next. Contact a university or a professional organization that regulates credentials. On your resume, list the US equivalent degree, and bring an official assessment that demonstrates the value of the degree to an interview.
If you did not complete your post-secondary education, you want to explain the circumstances or situation to avoid missing opportunities. For degrees you are currently working on, list the degree as in progress, state the expected date of completion or put the date you started and “to present” for the date in your resume education section. This shows prospective employers that you are in the processing of obtaining the degree.
If you quit pursuing a degree without completing it, do not list the actual degree in your resume education section. Instead, reference relevant course work when it applies in your cover letter or in a section of your resume where it fits well.
If you never received your high school diploma, it can be a tricky thing to avoid saying so directly in your resume education section. However, a few tweaks to how you present the information can at least temporarily keep the information unknown to prospective employers. There are three scenarios and ways to present information for each.
While the special circumstances presented above might seem completely harmful to your chances of landing an interview, you can downplay the negative aspect of each by incorporating the information in the right way. However you include special circumstances in your resume education section, always stay prepared to discuss them in a positive way in a face-to-face interview.