Friday, March 30, 2007

Resume Stumbling Blocks: No Degree, Company Folded

When you do a resume how far should one include jobs, like for example, the company I used to work for I don't believe exist anymore. Also, if you don't have a degree, but some college experience plus work experience will that work?
Please advise.
-- G.

by Catherine Sutton, Professional Resume Writer

G, let me reassure you that few employers are bothered with anything much further back than 10 years ago. However, if you achieved something really impressive and relevant longer ago than that, then it would be a good idea to go far enough back in your job history to include it. It doesn’t matter if a company has gone out of business. These days, there are plenty of those! Just list the company by the name it was known as.

I suggest you find a way to quantify your college experience (number of years, number of credits – whatever looks best) even if you can’t claim a degree. If you are able to show significant achievements in your job history section, your lack of a degree is less likely to be a stumbling block.

By adding a degree requirement to the job opening description, the employer is letting you know he’s looking for an intelligent employee who finishes projects she starts. If you can satisfy that requirement with an impressive summary section near the top of your resume and strong achievement statements in the experience section, the employer is likely to give you a chance, even without a degree.

And if one or two hiring managers refuse to read your resume because you didn’t finish college, keep your chin up and go on to the next job opportunity!

Good luck!

Catherine Sutton has been a professional resume writer on Susan Ireland's team since 2002. She works with job seekers from all levels of employment in person or by phone and email.

Susan Ireland’s Two Cents
I recommend How to Write a Resume: Education and Training for more on this topic.


Anonymous said...

I can attest to this as I do not have a college degree. I have been asked about it and the reasons why I didn't complete it but that's been the extent.

Anonymous said...

I want to put the fact that I completed many courses at a community college almost to receive my AA on my resume but am not sure how to present the information. Where should I go from here?

Susan Ireland said...

Do you intend to complete the requirements and get your AA? If so, when will you have that completed?

Let's say you plan to finish December 2008. Then put down:
Such-and-Such College, AA anticipated December 2008.

If you don't intend to finish the degree program, put down:

Such-and-Such College, AA program coursework (no dates)

Do either of these work for you?