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How To Add Unfinished Education To Resume

What To Include In An Education Section


As we’ve covered, different formats of resumes may require different information to be included within an education section.

In general, there is some basic information that should be included within the education section of a resume:

  • The name of the school â “e.g. Georgia Institute of Technology”
  • The location of the school
  • Your degree
  • Graduation year
  • Major field or department of study
  • Minor field or department of study
  • GPA

Here’s what that looks like for and university grad:

Georgia Institute of Technology ⢠Atlanta, GAB.S. in Computer Engineering, 2006 – 2010GPA: 3.9/4.0

For high-school students, you can do something like the following:

Georgia Institute of Technology ⢠Atlanta, GAHigh School Diploma, Graduated in 2010GPA: 3.9/4.0

Remember, including a GPA is optional. Only add it if it’s required by the job listing or it’s relatively high. If your GPA is low , it’s better to just leave it out.

Large Gap In Employment History

The most important question for this scenario is whether or not filling your education out on your resume would leave a large gap in your resume.

No gap, no problem.

But if you have a big empty space in the middle of your resume, you should absolutely draw the recruiters attention toward your education and the fact that you were doing something productive instead of working.

Some might worry But my education has absolutely nothing to do with the position Im applying for.

Dont fall into that problems trap. Any gaps in your resume are always a red flag for any potential employer.

Even if there are no applicable courses in your education, its better to include your incomplete degree, rather than leave a gap in your resume.

How To Explain An Incomplete Education

You dont want to provide excuses or a reason why you didnt complete your education on your resume. Rather, you may opt to include a quick description on your cover letter. This will allow you to have more space and room to provide a fuller explanation.

However, you may opt to gloss-over your incomplete education altogether. This can work well, especially if you have sufficient work experience to back-up your lack of an undergraduate degree. If you do not have sufficient experience, then it may be better to discuss the incomplete education directly on your cover letter.

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Recent Graduate Within One To Five Years

If you’ve recently graduated from an academic program, place your education section before or in line with your work experience. Because most of your experience is academic, putting your education in a prominent place is acceptable and expected. Remember to include your date of graduation and any honours or achievements you want to highlight. If you attended multiple schools to receive your degree or certification, list the most prominent school where you were most involved. Here is an example:

2017-2021, Bachelor of Commerce Honour Degree in AccountingUniversity of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta3.8 GPAMember of Business Student’s Association and Network of Empowered Women

Get Professional Resume Advice

How to List Unfinished College Degree on Resume [Examples]

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Prepare A Persuasive Professional Summary

The professional summary at the top of your resume is where a hiring manager gets their first impression of you. Briefly state the key experience and skills you possess that make you a great fit for the role. Try to match the job description as closely as possible, using the same keywords and phrases when possible.

Why You Should Include Your Education On Your Resume

A resume is most effective when it includes a synopsis of your work experience, academic background, and explanation of your skills and competencies that help you be successful in the position you’re applying for. Including your academic achievements on your resume allows the hiring company an opportunity to assess your learned technical knowledge that qualifies you for the job. Many companies have educational requirements to qualify candidates for their open positions. This helps the company screen out less qualified applicants from candidates who have the training needed to perform the position’s duties.

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Dont Be Put Off By A Bachelors Degree Requirement Even If You Dont Have One

Heres a lesson about hiring: If you dont meet all of the qualifications, you can still apply. Not enough workers know this: In a survey of thousands of U.S. professionals, 46 percent of men and 40 percent of women listed I didnt think they would hire me because I didnt meet the qualifications as the reason they did not apply for a job. But required qualifications are not always required.

Even if a bachelors degree is required, I would still go ahead and apply. In my experience, weve made exceptions before, Watkins said.

Candidates may also discount themselves for lacking a recommended certificate or certain degree, but that does not necessarily mean they are unqualified.

I would let the employer tell me no instead of me making the assumption, Watkins said. If you have 80 percent of what the employer is asking for, youre more than likely safe to apply, because that other 20 percent is a learning curve. You dont want to apply for positions where you meet 100 percent of the qualifications, because you run the risk of being overqualified. You have no room for growth there.

Listing Education With Limited Work Experience

How to Write a Resume for High School Students with NO experience

In resumes that have limited or no work experience, as may be the case with college students or recent graduates, the education section may be a good opportunity to show off educational achievements instead.

Additional information that can be included in longer education sections can include:

  • Internships completed as part of a curriculum
  • Academic assistantships with professors or other academic professionals

As covered, in documents such as CVs the education section could be fairly lengthy.

However, the education section for most resumes will be one of the shortest sections.

This is mostly because standard resumes will be used for entry-level or mid-level positions, while longer-form resumes like the CV will only come into play for more prestigious or hard to obtain positions.

It is much more important to show either a robust work history or detail relevant and transferable skills, using your education as support rather than the main point of interest.

Here are some quick tips for deciding what educational information to include in a resume:

1) When including professional hobbies and extra curricular activities, it is important to keep relevance in mind

Incorrect: Do not include information about sports clubs or other clubs that cannot be connected back to your qualifications for a job.

Keep your descriptions simple and concise

Correct: Use bullet points to separate bits of information to keep your resume easy to read or skim.

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What Shows Up On Education Background Check

What Is Included In A Education Background Check ? Our Education Verifications include a complete report of a candidates credentials, expertise, and qualificationsincluding degrees, certificates, and diplomas. Graduation dates for each degree attained. Institution names from where the candidate acquired the

How To List An Incomplete Education On A Resume


Turning in the best resume you can put together is key to scoring a job interview. With only one to two pages to highlight your education, skills and experience, you want to do it right. Figuring out how to handle any incomplete education is a bit tricky, but in most cases, youll still want to include it.

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If Youre A Current Student

You can still include your degree on your resume if you havent graduated yet in fact, if youre applying for jobs in a related field, you definitely should. You should put your education section at the top of your resume, since thats likely to be your most relevant experience, and list an expected graduation date. Its okay if this changes employers understand that things dont always go exactly to plan.

If youre currently on hiatus, you dont need to change the way you list your degree unless its been over a year. Within this timeframe, you can still legitimately consider yourself a current student.

If youre a current student or have been on hiatus for less than a year, list your education section first and include an expected date of graduation.

For more tips on what to include in your education section, check out our guide on how to list education on your resume.

If You Plan On Going Back To School

Options for Listing Education on a Resume

If you plan on going back to finish your degree in the near future and its relevant to the job youre applying for you can address this in your cover letter. This doesnt need to be a long explanation just a sentence or two is fine:

Im currently on hiatus from my degree at . However, Im committed to returning to school in January 2022 to earn my .

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How To List Incomplete Education On Your Resume

Although it is better to have a degree conferred to your name, most employers want to see some level of undergraduate coursework completed. You should list the college or university you attended beneath the education section of your resume. In addition, you should indicate the major or concentration which you were enrolled in.

Within the education section of your resume, you should include the dates that you were enrolled. This should be formatted to include both the month and year you started, and you ended. To provide additional context, you should also include any relevant courses completed which may be beneficial to your career path and career goals. Lastly, you may also consider including the number of credits you completed. This can provide a more holistic view and understanding to the interviewer of how far you were to completing your degree.

How To Write A Geologist Cv

Whether you’re looking for your first job or your tenth, you want your resume to wow a potential employer. It’s your calling card to get a foot in the door for that job you want, and your best shot at getting invited for an interview. There’s just one problem, and it’s a potentially serious one: you didn’t complete your degree. Resist the urge to embellish, however. Instead, highlight those parts of your education that are relevant in your job search and emphasize other aspects of your background and work experience that make you a competitive candidate.

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How Do You List A Bachelors Degree On Resume For Concentration

Always include the following information: the degree you received, your major, the name of your school, its location, and your graduation year. Start with your highest educational attainment. List all other degrees in reverse-chronological order. Delete high-school education if you already graduated from college.

If Its Relevant To The Position

Resume Builder Step 5: How to write your EDUCATION Section

If your unfinished degree is relevant to the job youre applying for, include details that show your hiring manager the experience and knowledge youve gained from your education.

Include any relevant coursework or the number of credits completed in your education section. You should also include any academic achievements that demonstrate excellence in your field of study.

Heres an example of how to list unfinished college on your resume if its highly relevant to the job:

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN Ann Arbor, Michigan2018-2020, GPA: 3.8/4.0Completed 75 credits towards a B.A. in Environmental Studies with a specialization in Urban Planning

  • Awarded the Abrams Family Internship Scholarship for my internship at Ann Arbor City Government Planning and Development Department.

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If Its Not Relevant To The Position

If your area of study was unrelated to the position youre applying for, then you dont need to include much detail. You can simply list the college and years attended.

If you excelled academically, include your academic achievements such as a high GPA, inclusion in the Deans List, or other academic awards or scholarships.

Heres an example of how to list an unfinished degree on your resume:


If you took some courses related to the job, include those under your university information. You can list them by individual courses taken or by number of credits earned in a certain area of study.

Heres what that looks like:


Relevant coursework: Data Driven Inquiry, Big Data Analytics

How To List Education In Progress On Resume

Perhaps youre still in school now, looking for a job to make ends meet.

This means that you should add high school below, like so:

Townsend Harris High School, Flushing, NY

Graduated 2017

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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 , 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 receivedwhich, in my opinion, is important to show.

What To Include In Your Education Section

How Should Education Be Listed On Resume

When reviewing a job posting or job description, be sure to look for educational requirements usually listed under “requirements” or “qualifications.” This information can provide insight into what the organization is looking for in potential candidates regarding training or certifications. You can then use this information to customize your resume for each application process.

There are specific details a hiring manager is looking for in your educational section that include:

  • Your most recent degree, or education in progress
  • The name of the school
  • The location of the school
  • Your field of study or degree major
  • Graduation year, or expected graduation date
  • Your GPA, if above 3.5
  • Any academic honours or accolades

Your educational section is often the smallest part of your resume. Based on the job description, you want to provide varying amounts of detail, but an education section is typically 15-30 words. Customize your education section to reflect the requirements of the position. Ensure that your education section is truthful and accurate, as employers who complete background checks may also confirm your schooling.

Also Check: Should You Put Your Gpa On Your Resume

Options For Listing Education On A Resume

Not sure how to list your college degree on your resume? How should you list your expected graduation date if you’re an undergraduate student? What if you didn’t go to college? How about if you’ve already graduated? Alternatively, what do you do if you haven’t yet graduated but intend to complete your degree at some point in time?

Even if you didn’t graduate, there are options for presenting your educational background in a positive manner. An entry-level resume will often present more educational or training information than would a resume for someone who has been in the workforce for many years.

If you dont have a lot of work experience to prove your skills and capabilities on the job, it can be important to list any relevant college coursework, even if you didnt graduate with a degree.

Here are a few options for including your education, as well as for mentioning credit you have earned for college-level work on your resume even though you didn’t graduate.

How Do You Say You Didnt Finish College On Resume

You can simply write the college and its location with no other details. If you think more information will help you look good, add the years you attended and how many credits you completed. If you had a great GPA, put that as well. Another way to list unfinished college is to mention some of your coursework.

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