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Excluding education from résumés
February 10, 2014, 3:19 pm

The decision on whether to exclude your education details from your résumé often depends on the job for which you are applying. For instance, if you are applying to be a professor or a doctor it goes without saying that you need to include your degrees and levels of education to qualify for consideration.

But on the other hand, if you have a degree that is very specific, yet completely unrelated to the position to which you are applying, a recruiter will likely dismiss your seriousness as a candidate. Obviously, you should never lie, but perhaps you are best off explaining your career change in person rather than via your résumé. Also, if your education is less than stellar, there are still ways you can play up the most impressive parts of your résumé to catch an employer’s attention.

Play up your work experience: If you have a lot of experience that is directly related, some companies may overlook the lack of a formal education. Point to your significant accomplishments and they will probably focus on those and not your lack of education.

Obtain professional certifications:  There are accredited professional organizations in almost every field that offer recognized certification programs. These certificates demonstrate that you are not only capable of passing exams in your field, but that you are peer recognized.

Emphasize other abilities: If you are lacking a good education, then you need to highlight your work experience. Play up your other abilities by using strong adjectives throughout your résumé that jump out of the page. If a hiring manager is looking for a qualified person, highlighting your experience in the content of your résumé will probably make your education secondary and chances are that you will at least land an interview. Very seldom do hiring managers ask about education in-depth, it is the experience that they want to know about.

In general, including education is, of course, preferable, but use your discretion when deciding whether to add it to your résumé.  The key is to know how to communicate one’s education in a résumé. Define your résumé to your particular strengths; whether they are your education, employment achievements, industry recognition or a combination.

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