No degree? No problems. History knows plenty of highly successful college dropouts who banked on practical experience over formal education. Besides, enrolling in a university isn’t the only way to obtain a great education today. As we’ll discuss in this post, you have plenty of alternative options.
But you are still wondering: how to address your lack of a degree in a resume. Below are some tips for that, followed by a resume without a college degree example.
Craft a Compelling Resume Summary Statement (or Resume Objective)
Open your resume with a succinct and memorable resume summary statement pitching the value you can bring to the company. Think of it as a quick “punch line” that immediately grabs attention and brands you as an experienced and interesting candidate.
Here are a few tips to help you brainstorm a solid summary statement:
- Attempt to write it after the work experience section.
- Create a quick list of 3-5 top achievements in your career based on what you wrote in the experience section.
- Re-read the job posting once again to determine which ones will be the most relevant to the employer.
- Don’t pitch what you “can do”. Instead tell, what you have already accomplished.
- Avoid vague, generic statements like these will make you sound like every other candidate applying for the job.
Keep The Focus on Your Accomplishments and Experience
In the chronological resume format, the “Work Experience” section comes first. Thus, you’ll have plenty of room to make a solid impression before the HR scans to the bottom education part. Make this section the focal point of your resume. Speak to your accomplishments at every position you have held, quantifying them with relevant numbers whenever possible. Showcase that you have solid hard and soft skills, highly relevant to the announced position. Prove that you are a solid performer that can bring a tangible impact to the new organization.
Emphasize Alternative Education and Courses
Today formal education can be easily replaced with alternative training, offered by e-learning providers and MOOCs. In fact, prestigious universities like Harward, Stanford, Yale, and others offer free online courses and issue certificates of completion. Moreover, there’s plenty of niche credentials you can obtain to complement your work experience and demonstrate that you have an up-to-date, hands-on skill set. Add these to your education section to make it more authoritative. Also, you can list all the professional training you have obtained on the job, plus add masterclasses, conferences, industry certifications and so on.
Review Your Resume Carefully
Once you are done with the initial writing, change gears for a while and then sit down to review your resume once again. Specifically, look for any gaps or vagueness that may leave the employer wondering about your expertise.
Sprinkle in additional power words and keywords (taken from the job description). Beef up your accomplishments and duties and re-check the texts for any grammar and formatting mistakes.
Resume Sample With no College Degree (Word version)
Download resume example (.docx)
Resume With no College Degree Example (text version)
088 000 0000
1636 East Avenue
Creative growth manager in the SaaS domain, delivering user base growth of up to 35% YoY and churn reduction of 20%. Specializes in growth hacking, social media user acquisition, and PR.
Social Media Marketing｜Paid Media｜Influencer Outreach｜Digital PR ｜Community Management
SaaS Subscription Company, Superstition, Arizona
Growth Manager (Nov. 2017 – Present)
- Worked with the data science team to gather and analyze customer sentiment around products in our niche and develop targeted social media campaigns.
- Secured 15 endorsements from industry thought leaders, resulting in reviews on blogs with 100K+ monthly audience.
- Cultivated and established relationships with journalists, resulting in product reviews on Forbes, Fast Company and Inc Magazine.
- Increased the total user base by 35% within one year.
Food Mobile App, Phoenix, Arizona
Social Media Marketing Manager (July 2015 – October 2017)
- Developed a communication strategy for the company’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts.
- Created a regular publishing schedule, maintained high engagement with users. Follower account growth on Twitter +5,000 followers in 1 year; on Instagram +13,000 followers in 1 year.
- Managed the collaborated with industry influencers on seasonal marketing campaigns. Reported on budgets and key KPIs.
Professional Certificates and Training
HubSpot Social Media Certification 2016-2019.
Google Analytics Certification
Facebook Ad Certification
Content Strategy for Professionals: Engaging Audiences completed in December 2017 at coursera.org. Offered by Northwestern University.
Influencer Marketing Strategy completed in April 2018 at coursera.org. Offered by Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.
Viral Marketing and How to Craft Contagious Content completed in June 2018 at coursera.org. Offered by Wharton School of Business.
Final Tip: Apply Even if Your Feel Underqualified
A lot of job posts come with specific education requirements in terms of BA/MA. Don’t skip on these if you feel that you are otherwise a strong fit. A lot of employers prefer candidates with strong hands-on experience to those with a less diverse background, but a standard degree.
Thus, emphasize your skills and career progression to showcase what results you can drive for this particular company. The best way to do so is by writing a strong resume summary/career statement and placing a stronger accent on your skills.