Back to School? Good For You! Now, How To Present It In Your Resume…

Back To School

Just because you’re going back to school and job searching at the same time (and sleeping never, apparently,) doesn’t mean that your resume will automatically be sent to the back of the pile. It’s very common for working professionals to seek to finish old degrees, start new ones, or to complete new certifications or job training while changing jobs. Here’s what you need to know about how to spin it in your resume.

First, brass tacks.
Alright, where do I put this darn degree? How do I add it?

Any new degrees that you have not yet completed should go under you Education section, newest ones first. Instead of a graduation date, write “Expected ____ Month, _____Year”. This tells them that you are currently in the process of getting the degree, and more importantly, when you’ll have it. It’s also important to include the dates to explain any gaps in your work history that school may have caused.

Where in the resume should it go?
Do I put this right at the top? Or should I hide it at the bottom?

That depends. Are you clearly just seeking a temporary job to get you through school that you intend to quit as soon as you get your degree? A red flag for employers might be if you are seeking an advanced degree in a completely different field than the one you are applying to. That makes it pretty clear that you have plans for your future, and it doesn’t involve that company. If this is the case, it may be better for you to simply leave the new degree off entirely– again, unless removing it creates a large gap in your work history. If the degree is highly relevant to your intended field, put that baby right at the top!
Will this graduation date show my age?

Age descrimination is illegal — but it’s not very easy to prove why your resume got tossed out.

Do you have an old degree from more than ten years ago that shows your age? Consider leaving the graduation date off, or removing the entry entirely if you’re now working in a different field than you went to school for. (Another very common occurance.)
What about unfinished degrees?
That’s all well and good, but what if I don’t intend to finish this degree?

This is also very, very common, and happens for a lot of different reasons. Don’t assume that it’s a deal breaker. If you completed a significant portion of the degree, (say, more than three or four semesters,) it is highly relevant or shows a significant body of work in your intended field, than include it by replacing the graduation dates with the beginning and ending dates that you attended the school. Also be sure to note your GPA (as long as it was above 3.0) and the number of your earned credits versus credits required for completion. It should look something like this: Credits Earned: 64/128.
And Remember:

You control what goes on your resume!

You do. not. need. to include something on resume just because you started it. If you suspect one of your new or old degrees may do more to harm your chances than improve them, don’t include it!

And remember, if you could use some professional advice for your particular education situation, we’re here to help.

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