No Degree? No Problem—Here’s How You Can Still Write a Winning Resume

person sitting at a table typing on a laptop with a glass of water and notebook and pen nearby

I’ve been a career coach for years. And of the hundreds of clients I’ve worked with, I can’t think of a single one without a college degree who wasn’t worried that their lack of credentials would hold them back—or rule them out entirely—from their next job.

The assumption that you can’t be a compelling and qualified candidate for all kinds of incredible jobs without a college degree isn’t just a bummer, it’s simply not true. In fact, there are plenty of in-demand and high-paying jobs —including software developer, software sales representative, e-commerce manager, and executive assistant—that don’t require any college at all. So that’s good news.

That said, if you don’t have a college degree, you’re still going to be competing with candidates who do. And if you’re in a field where college degrees are more the norm than the exception, this means you need to be strategic as you create or amend your resume. As I always tell clients, if you think a reader will wonder or worry about something about your background, assume that they will and go on the offense. 

Let’s review some typical scenarios among non-degreed candidates and talk about how to address each on your resume. (If you’re a current student looking to apply to internships, part-time jobs, or other opportunities while your degree is in progress—so you technically don’t have one but will at a predictable time in the near future—you can follow the advice for writing a college resume  here .)

You Didn’t Finish Your Degree (and Don’t Have a Current Plan To)

Sometimes, you’re rolling along as an undergrad and life (or lack of funds) derails the plan. If you’re taking a short break, like a gap year, and know when you anticipate finishing your degree, you can list that expected date and approach your resume as a current student would. But in other cases, funds or circumstances make finishing your degree impractical and maybe you’ve decided you’re not planning to go back. Or you might intend to go back and complete the degree at some point, but you don’t have a current plan to do so with a clear timeline. Or maybe you discovered that college just isn’t your jam, and you want to focus on other things. That’s A-OK.

Just don’t sell yourself short by omitting the details of your schooling from your resume. Certainly, you can’t list part of a degree as a completed degree. That’s called lying and, in my recruiting days, I saw things end very badly for candidates who decided to fudge the details. Instead, mention the coursework in your education section . And if the topics you studied are directly relevant to the role you’re pursuing, list a few. Here’s what that might look like:

Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI Coursework toward B.S., Accounting (Data Analytics, Financial Planning & Analysis, Internal/External Audit)

You Didn’t Go to College (But Took Professional Courses)

Here’s another common scenario: You didn’t do college, but you’ve taken professional courses—whether it’s a leadership program or a coding bootcamp—that have provided you with relevant and beneficial skills. Mention them! I’d set them up right in the education section. (In fact, leaving the education section completely off your resume may be a red flag for both the applicant tracking system and the human reviewer.)

A while back, I coached a client who had worked in the automotive industry for 20+ years. He was the head of a large car dealership yet hadn’t spent a day in college. What he had done, however, was take advantage of every opportunity to learn and grow professionally, including enrolling in a rigorous leadership development program offered through a professional association.

Through my work with him, I learned recruiters view candidates who completed that program quite favorably. So we made it extremely easy to find on his resume, as a bullet point in his summary and in his education section. The summary bullet looked like this:

  • NADA Academy graduate with authoritative knowledge of operational best practices, financial management, cost controls, compensation structuring, and policy/program development.

And here’s what his education section looked like:

North American Dealers Association (NADA) Academy 2018 Graduate—Curriculum in Business Leadership, Fixed & Variable Operations, Financial Management

Arizona State University (Online) Leadership Principles Course

You Didn’t Go to College (But Have Valuable Licenses or Certifications)

Similarly, you’ll find plenty of professions that don’t mandate a degree but do either require or strongly favor candidates with certain licenses or certifications . For instance, if you’re an IT project manager with PMP (Project Management Professional) and Scrum Master certifications, that’s money. Or if you’re working to shift into a job as a residential real estate appraiser, you should absolutely mention that real estate license on your resume. In short, if you’ve got licenses or certifications that will give you even a slight advantage, make sure you make them easy to find on your resume.

I would set them up in their own section vs. just putting them in your education section or making a passing mention of them elsewhere in the resume. Here’s how it might look for an IT professional:

CERTIFICATIONS/LICENSURE

  • CompTIA Security+ Certification
  • CISSP (Certified Information System Security Professional)
  • Certified Scrum Master

The more directly relevant the certification is to the job you’re applying to, the higher up on the list it should be. You can also mention the most valuable credentials up in the summary section, much like the examples above.

You Didn’t Go to College (But Have Directly Relevant Experience)

So what if you didn’t go to college and don’t have any certifications but still want to (or do) work in an industry that values higher education? Is this realistic? Depends.

If a company flat-out requires the degree, you may need to consider targeting their competition or refining your search. Sometimes, organizations have unbending policies related to education and you probably won’t get far with them.

However, plenty of companies know and appreciate talent when they see it and will make an exception if you show them very clearly (and quickly) that you’re not just a plausible match, you’re even better than the standard degreed candidate.

I call this flipping the script. You turn what could very well be perceived as a liability or dealbreaker as a decided advantage. Here’s an example: I had a client who worked in marketing within the sporting goods industry. He had progressed rapidly within his company despite having never attended college or pursuing any additional schooling. What was remarkable was that most of his colleagues—including those he now managed—were college graduates, many of whom had also been student athletes at big name universities.

What was his secret? He had experience that gave him an edge. Beyond his current management role, he’d also been an avid skateboarder since his youth, and he’d opened a small skateboard shop in his hometown right after high school. This early experience—which he gained while others his age were earning degrees—gave him direct perspective on the wants and needs of consumers and immersive knowledge of youth culture.

As he worked to land a senior leadership role, we knew this experience had to be front and center on his resume. We included it in the summary section and spelled it out with clarity in his experience section. Here’s how the summary bullet read:

  • A marketing leader with authoritative knowledge of youth culture. Having been at the epicenter of the skateboarding community since youth, consistently delivers consumer-first products and strategies.

And here’s how we outlined the job that we knew would help set him apart from his traditionally schooled competitors:

STEEZY SK8 , San Diego, CA,  2004–2007 Owner At age 18, launched and led a retail store that was named the 2006 Board Retailers Association “Snowboard Retailer of the Year.” This experience provided an invaluable look at skateboarding and its profound influence on global pop culture.

Look for every opportunity to turn a perceived liability into your secret weapon as you construct or refine your resume for that next great job. Surely, college degrees can be advantageous or required for certain roles. But many employers are simply looking for the best candidates for the job. Make sure your resume does the heavy lifting in announcing that’s you.

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Resume With no College Degree Example + Writing Tips

Elena Prokopets

No degree? No problems. History knows plenty of highly successful college dropouts who banked on practical experience over formal credentials. Besides, enrolling in a university isn’t the only way to obtain a quality education — you’ve got online courses, professional certification programs, and coaching programs! 

Employers also increasingly recognize that screening out applicants based on their degree doesn’t work in their favor. Almost half of US companies have already eliminated (or plan to remove) degree requirements for most positions. Among them are large employers like Walmart , IBM , and Dell Technologies among others. 

Yet, you’re still required to provide a coherent resume as part of the job application. So do you best address your lack of a degree in a resume?

This post provides several working resumes without college degree examples, alongside actionable writing and formatting tips for each section.

Resume With no College Degree: Example (Word)

resume template with no college degree

Download resume example (.docx)

No College Degree Resume Example (plain text)

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.

Key Skills 

Social Media Marketing|Paid Media|Influencer Outreach|Digital PR |Community Management

Work Experience

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 

Certifications: 

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.

Sample Resume Without College Degree But Credits

Lydia Price

Customer Success Manager for FinTech & EdTech Brands

Proactive CSM with strong people skills and a proven track record of improving business metrics. Reduced customer churn rates by 15% in one quarter for the personal finance management app. Maintained a 98% CSAT for managed customer accounts for a corporate learning platform. 

Skills & Competencies 

  • Relationship management 
  • Digital community building 
  • Customer onboarding
  • Customer retention 
  • Sales demos and presentations 
  • Deal management and negotiation 
  • Business analysis with Power BI 
  • Salesforce, HubSpot, Zendesk

Work Experience 

Customer Success Manager FinTech Company Atlanta, GA May 2021-present 

Joined as the first CSM hire to a Series B startup, offering personal finance and wealth management services to Millennial consumers. During the first year in the role, focused primarily on customer retention and churn reduction. Performed customer surveys and did sentiment and statistic analysis of responses. Conducted 1:1 user interviews to elicit new insights and pitch personalized service offers. Collaborated with the product management team on implementing new user retention features (investment goal tracking, automated savings, and round-ups, personalized market analysis digests). Achieved a 15% churn reduction in 12 months. 

Junior CSM  EdTech Company  Atlanta, GA July 2019-April 2021

Worked with a roster of corporate eLearning clients (primarily in the manufacturing sector). Facilitated with preparation of product presentations, demos, and sales decks. Took an active part in negotiating B2B contracts through a 12-month sales cycle. Developed and pitched up-sell opportunities with a 25% conversion rate. After a year, was appointed to run the annual CSAT program.  

Customer Support Specialist  Ecommerce Business  Atlanta, GA Sep 2018-June 2019

Handled customer support tickets via Zendesk for an online fashion retailer. Provided assistance with shipping tracking, product returns, and refund processing. Helped troubleshoot common payment and online ordering issues. Maintained an average customer review score of 95%. 

Education: 

University of Atlanta (2017-2018) Atlanta, GA BA: Business Administration  Completed 45 credit hours in 2017-18 before dropping out. 

Professional certifications: 

  • Customer Success Association – Certified Customer Success Manager (CCSM), issued in 2018. 
  • HubSpot – Inbound Sales Certification, issued in 2020. 

Pro Tip: How to Put Education on a Resume Without a Degree

When it comes to listing education on a resume without a degree, several scenarios are possible. 

First, you may have an unfinished degree . You’re still either pursuing it or decided that formal education isn’t for you. In this case, here’s how to style your education entry on a resume: 

University of Toronto (2022 – 2023) Toronto, CA BS: Accounting — Completed 25 Hours Passed Grade 1 Certification Examination

An alternative scenario is that you’ve never even gone to college or a trade school (which is fine!). But it doesn’t mean the education section on your resume has to be blank. 

In place of a formal degree, you can mention the following:

  • Professional certifications and licenses: List all the credentials you have obtained to develop your skill set. Make sure to add the year and validity status if applicable. 
  • Professional training and courses: Create a curated list of programs, workshops, or masterclasses (online and in-person) that you’ve completed to show your competencies. 
  • On-the-job training: Mention relevant training your former employer(s) have administered. 

Here’s how a sample education section on a resume may look like in this case:

  • Professional Certificate in Content Design by UX Design Institute, issued in 2021. 
  • Google UX Design Professional Certificate, issued in 2022
  • Online courses from Interaction Design Foundation: “Mobile UI Design”, “Design Thinking”, and “Information Visualization”. 

How to Have a Great Resume Without a College Degree

For hiring managers, degrees are often a quick proof point of the candidate’s competency. Your goal is to emphasize your qualifications through other means: On-the-job experiences, skills, and work accomplishments. Focus on showing what you can do in practice, rather than just stating that you know the “theory”. Below are step-by-step tips for writing a resume without a college degree. 

Open With a Compelling Resume Summary

Open your resume with a succinct and memorable resume summary 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 promising 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.

Read more about writing and styling a winning resume header . 

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 role. Prove that you are a solid performer that can bring a tangible impact to the new organization. Here’s a quick template you can use for that:

Position Name 

Employer 

Dates of employment 

  • List key skills and the results they helped achieve for the company
  • Quantify your impact with numbers if possible to add extra weight 
  • Describe your growth and extra skills/experiences you’ve acquired. 

Emphasize Alternative Education And Courses

Today formal education can be easily replaced with alternative training, offered by e-learning providers and MOOCs. Prestigious universities like Harvard , Stanford , Yale , and others offer free online courses and issue certificates of completion. Moreover, there are 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. 

Finally, you can also list hobbies and interests if these are relevant to the job and help demonstrate your skill sets. For example, saying that you’re an avid marathon runner can strengthen your profile as a potential personal trainer. 

Edit Your Resume for Impact 

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) to better articulate your competencies. Beef up your accomplishments and duties and re-check the texts for any grammar and formatting mistakes.

Pro tip: Use our free resume builder to create a well-formatted resume 2X faster. The app automatically guides you through each section and then generates a recruiter-friendly resume in Word or PDF format in one click. 

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 the said 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.

Elena Prokopets

Elena runs content operations at Freesumes since 2017. She works closely with copywriters, designers, and invited career experts to ensure that all content meets our highest editorial standards. Up to date, she wrote over 200 career-related pieces around resume writing, career advice... more

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  • • Managed a team of 7 engineers and 15 technicians ensuring optimal productivity and deadlines met.
  • • Implemented Kaizen and Lean Six Sigma methodologies, improving overall efficiency by 25%.
  • • Launched an initiative to turn production waste into a new revenue stream, generating $300K annually.
  • • Conducted feasibility studies on new technologies for product line improvement.
  • • Coordinated manufacturing activities for 3 product lines, involving staff of 50+.
  • • Improved equipment efficiency by 20% through preventive maintenance procedures.
  • • Reduced production defects by 15% by implementing new quality control measures.
  • • Redesigned workflow to reduce bottlenecks and increased assembly speed by 30%.
  • • Participated in process enhancement initiatives for semiconductor manufacturing.
  • • Reduced cycle time by 15% through workflow optimization.
  • • Improved efficiency by 10% by streamlining operational processes.
  • • Managed process documentation, ensuring updated and accurate technical information.

5 No Degree Resume Examples & Guide for 2024

Your no degree resume must be a testament to your skills and experiences. Highlight the expertise you've acquired, not the diplomas you haven't. Show potential employers how you've successfully applied your knowledge in real-world situations. Use specific examples to demonstrate your worth and stand out from the crowd.

All resume examples in this guide

writing a resume without college degree

Traditional

writing a resume without college degree

Resume Guide

Tips for refining your no degree resume format, writing your no degree resume experience, spotlighting your no degree hard and soft skills, highlighting no degree-specific certifications and education, choosing between a resume summary or objective, additional no degree resume sections for a personalized touch, key takeaways.

No Degree resume example

One specific challenge faced by people with no degree is effectively highlighting relevant skills and experience which can be overlooked due to the lack of formal education. Our guide assists in addressing this challenge by providing detailed tips on how to emphasize practical experience, transferrable skills, and professional development in a way that makes your resume stand out, regardless of your educational background.

Enhance your application for the no degree role with our concise guide on how to:

  • Format your no degree resume, ensuring a balance between professionalism and creativity, in line with best practices.
  • Align your resume with the no degree job requirements by incorporating relevant industry keywords.
  • Utilize distinct resume sections to highlight your skills and achievements, making a case for why you're the top pick for the no degree role.
  • Draw from leading no degree resume examples to effectively tailor your experience.

Recommended reads:

  • Returning to Workforce resume
  • Board of Directors resume
  • Infrastructure Engineer resume
  • Stock Broker resume
  • User Researcher resume

The resume format sets the stage for your professional narrative. Ensure it:

  • Adopts the reverse-chronological format , placing your most recent experiences at the forefront. This format is ideal for those with relevant and up-to-date experience.
  • Features a clear headline, making it straightforward for recruiters to access your contact details, portfolio, or current role.
  • Stays concise, ideally spanning no more than two pages, focusing on relevant experiences and skills.
  • Maintains its layout by being saved as a PDF, ensuring compatibility with Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS).

Upload your resume

Drop your resume here or choose a file . PDF & DOCX only. Max 2MB file size.

Choose a functional resume template that offers ample space to showcase your unique no degree expertise.

Key sections to include in your no degree resume are:

  • The header - with your contact details (like email and phone number), a link to your portfolio, and a headline.
  • The summary (or objective) - highlighting the high points of your career so far.
  • The experience section - limit yourself to six bullets per role to focus on specific results.
  • The skills list - offering a balanced mix of your personal and professional talents.
  • Education and certification - displaying your most relevant degrees and certificates for the no degree role.

What recruiters want to see on your resume:

  • Relevant Skills: What practical abilities have you developed that are directly applicable to the job? This could include both hard and soft skills.
  • Work Experience: Any work history, including internships or part-time jobs, can provide evidence of your capabilities and reliability.
  • Certifications/Training: Non-degree education, like online courses, professional certifications, or vocational training can be important in some fields.
  • Personal Projects: For roles such as software development or design, personal projects can demonstrate creativity, initiative, and technical capability.
  • References: Especially without a degree, having positive references from previous employers or mentors can make a big difference in how a recruiter views your application.
  • How to Use Resume Lines
  • Resume in PDF or Word

Here are some quick tips on how to curate your no degree professional experience:

  • Always ensure that you quantify your achievements by implementing the Situation-Task-Action-Result framework;
  • When writing each experience bullet, make sure you're using active voice;
  • Stand out by including personal skills you've grown while at the job;
  • Be specific about your professional experience - it's not enough to say you have great communication skills, but rather explain what your communication track record led to?

Wondering how other professionals in the industry are presenting their job-winning experience? Check out how these no degree professionals put some of these best practices into action:

  • Developed and implemented a customer relationship management (CRM) system, resulting in a 20% increase in customer retention.
  • Led a team of 10 sales representatives, achieving a 30% increase in monthly sales revenue.
  • Streamlined inventory management processes, reducing costs by 15%.
  • Collaborated with cross-functional teams to launch a new product line, generating $500,000 in sales within the first quarter.
  • Implemented data-driven marketing strategies, increasing website traffic by 40%.
  • Managed end-to-end recruitment process, resulting in a 25% decrease in time-to-fill for open positions.
  • Developed and delivered comprehensive training programs for new hires, improving employee productivity by 15%.
  • Implemented performance evaluation systems, leading to a 10% increase in employee satisfaction.
  • Revamped the onboarding process, reducing employee turnover by 20%.
  • Collaborated with HR team to develop and implement diversity and inclusion initiatives, resulting in a more inclusive work environment.
  • Designed and developed responsive websites for clients, resulting in a 50% increase in website traffic.
  • Implemented search engine optimization (SEO) strategies, improving client websites' search rankings by an average of 20 positions.
  • Collaborated with graphic designers to create visually appealing user interfaces for web applications.
  • Developed custom web applications using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, resulting in improved user experience and efficiency for clients.
  • Provided technical support and troubleshooting for client websites, ensuring high uptime and customer satisfaction.
  • Developed and executed social media marketing campaigns, resulting in a 30% increase in brand engagement.
  • Managed the company's online presence through various digital platforms, growing the customer base by 25%.
  • Analyzed market trends and competitor strategies to make data-driven recommendations for product positioning.
  • Implemented email marketing automation, leading to a 20% increase in conversion rates.
  • Collaborated with influencers to promote products, resulting in a 40% boost in sales.
  • Managed a portfolio of 100+ clients, achieving a 90% client retention rate.
  • Developed customized investment strategies based on clients' financial goals and risk tolerance.
  • Conducted financial analysis and market research to identify investment opportunities for clients.
  • Executed trades and monitored portfolio performance to maximize returns for clients.
  • Provided regular updates and reports to clients on portfolio performance and market trends.
  • Led a team of 15 customer service representatives, achieving a 20% improvement in customer satisfaction ratings.
  • Implemented a customer feedback system, resulting in a 15% reduction in customer complaints.
  • Developed and delivered training programs to enhance the team's product knowledge and communication skills.
  • Implemented process improvements, reducing average call handling time by 10%.
  • Collaborated with cross-functional teams to resolve complex customer issues, ensuring high levels of customer retention.
  • Managed full-cycle software development projects, delivering on-time and within budget.
  • Led a team of developers, testers, and designers to develop scalable and high-performance software solutions.
  • Collaborated with clients to gather requirements and provide technical guidance throughout the project lifecycle.
  • Implemented Agile methodologies, resulting in a 20% increase in project efficiency.
  • Conducted code reviews and implemented best practices to ensure code quality and maintainability.
  • Managed a portfolio of key accounts, achieving a 15% annual revenue growth.
  • Identified upselling opportunities and successfully expanded business within existing accounts.
  • Collaborated with product development teams to align client needs with product enhancements.
  • Provided market intelligence and competitor analysis to guide strategic decision-making.
  • Resolved customer escalations and ensured high levels of customer satisfaction.
  • Developed and executed comprehensive marketing plans to drive brand awareness and increase sales.
  • Managed social media platforms and grew the company's online following by 50%.
  • Coordinated and executed promotional events, resulting in a 30% increase in customer footfall.
  • Led market research initiatives to identify new target segments and refine marketing strategies.
  • Collaborated with advertising agencies to create impactful marketing campaigns.
  • Provided technical support to customers, troubleshooting hardware and software issues.
  • Resolved customer inquiries via phone, email, and live chat, maintaining high customer satisfaction levels.
  • Collaborated with the product development team to identify and report software bugs and suggest improvements.
  • Assisted in creating user documentation and knowledge base articles for self-service customer support.
  • Delivered product training sessions to customers, ensuring smooth adoption and usage.

Quantifying impact on your resume

  • Include the number of projects you have successfully completed to demonstrate your ability to deliver results.
  • Feature the size of the teams you've worked with, as this can indicate your collaboration and leadership skills.
  • Mention your years of experience in relevant fields, illustrating your expertise and commitment.
  • List any quantifiable savings or revenue increases you contributed to, showing your direct impact on a company's bottom line.
  • Highlight the number of times you've been promoted or given additional responsibilities, showcasing your potential for growth and reliability.
  • Indicate the number of industry-relevant certificates or courses completed, pointing to your dedication to self-improvement and learning.
  • Note down the volume of clients or customers you managed or interacted with, reflecting your people skills and customer service abilities.
  • Present the percentage improvement in efficiency, satisfaction, or other key metrics due to your efforts, underlining your problem-solving capabilities and performance-driven attitude.

Tips for no degree newcomers launching their careers

Lacking extensive experience for that no degree role? No worries.

Sometimes, hiring managers go for the unexpected candidate when they see potential.

Here's how to convince them you're the right fit:

  • Opt for the functional skill-based or hybrid formats to highlight your unique professional value.
  • Always tailor your no degree resume to emphasize the most critical requirements, usually listed at the top of the job ad.
  • Compensate for limited experience with other relevant sections like achievements, projects, and research.
  • In your no degree resume objective, pinpoint both your achievements and how you envision your role in the position.
  • Resume Without Work Experience
  • Resume Job Description

Use the SOAR (Situation - Action - Results) method for each of your no degree experience bullets. Reflect on specific challenges you've addressed, the actions you took, and the outcomes. This approach also preps you for potential interview questions.

Hard skills denote your technological proficiency and expertise in specific tools or software. These skills are often validated through certifications and hands-on experience.

Soft skills , on the other hand, reflect your interpersonal abilities and how you navigate workplace dynamics. These skills are cultivated over a lifetime and can be more nuanced.

Why the emphasis on both? Hard skills demonstrate your technical competence and reduce training needs. Soft skills suggest adaptability and cultural fit.

To optimize your skills section:

  • Forego basic skills like "Excel" in favor of more specific proficiencies like "Excel Macros".
  • Highlight core values and work ethics as soft skills, indicating what you prioritize in a professional setting.
  • If relevant, create a distinct section for language proficiencies.
  • Balance hard and soft skills by crafting a strengths or achievements section, illustrating outcomes achieved through both skill sets.

To assist you, we've curated a list of skills highly sought after by recruiters. Ensure you integrate those that resonate with your expertise and the prospective employer's needs:

Top skills for your no degree resume

Technical Aptitude

Physical Stamina

Basic Computer Skills

Equipment Operation

Sales Experience

Hand-Eye Coordination

Manual Dexterity

Customer Service

Maintenance Knowledge

Time Management

Adaptability

Communication

Problem-Solving

Attention to Detail

Self-Motivation

Reliability

Sometimes, basic skills mentioned in the job ad can be important. Include them in your resume, but don't give them too much space.

Your resume education section can be a treasure trove of skills and experiences relevant to the role. Here are the best practices when it comes to featuring it on your resume:

  • Highlight advanced qualifications, detailing the institution and duration.
  • If you're currently pursuing a degree, mention your expected graduation date.
  • Consider omitting unrelated degrees.
  • If your academic journey boasts significant achievements, especially in research, elaborate on them.

What's more, shocasing relevant industry certifications can bolster your credibility, even if you lack extensive work experience.

To effectively present your certifications:

  • Place pivotal industry certifications prominently in a dedicated section.
  • If a certification is particularly impressive, consider featuring it near your name or within the header, summary, or objective.
  • Provide details, where relevant, to underscore alignment with the role.
  • Recent certifications should be given advantage, as they show your up-to-date knowledge.

Both education and certification sections highlight your commitment to professional growth, a trait valued by employers. Below, explore some of the most current and sought-after no degree certifications to enhance your application:

Best certifications to list on your resume

I'm sorry but I can't generate the list you're asking for without a specified job title. Please provide a job title so I can give you the relevant certifications.

Remember, certifications can be woven into various resume sections, like experience or summary. Detail how a particular certification enhanced your performance or opened new opportunities.

  • Expected Graduation Date Resume
  • Activities Resume for College

Many no degree candidates ponder whether to include a resume summary or objective.

Here's a breakdown:

  • A Resume objective outlines your career aspirations. It tells recruiters why you're applying and the value you can bring.
  • A Resume summary offers a snapshot of your significant achievements, giving a quick overview of your expertise.

New professionals might lean towards an objective, while seasoned experts might prefer a summary. Whichever you choose, ensure it's tailored to the role.

For inspiration, review examples from established no degree professionals.

Resume summary and objective examples for a no degree resume

  • Software engineer with five years of experience in Python, C++, and Java. Pioneered a machine learning algorithm that increased efficiency by 30% at ABC Tech. Seeking to apply my technical proficiency to a challenging new role.
  • Data analyst with a decade of experience using SQL and Tableau for transforming raw data into clear insights. Developed a predictive model that saved XYZ Corp over $2M annually. Eager to leverage my analytical skills in a dynamic environment.
  • Experienced project manager in the construction sector, aiming to pivot to software development. Self-taught proficient in Python, C#, and agile methodologies. Looking forward to leveraging my leadership skills and passion for coding in my next challenge.
  • High school teacher with an aptitude for data analysis. Gained proficiency in R, Excel and Power BI during various educational projects. Excited about transitioning into a data-driven role where I can utilize my excellent problem-solving abilities.
  • As a recent graduate, I've developed solid foundational knowledge in JavaScript, HTML, and CSS through academic projects. While I am just starting my professional journey, I am highly motivated to learn and grow within a collaborative tech-oriented team.
  • Holding a bachelor's degree in English literature, I'm now eager to step into the digital marketing realm. I've obtained Google Analytics and AdWords Certifications and have a keen interest in SEO. Driven to contribute fresh ideas and creativity to a forward-thinking marketing team.

To further personalize your no degree resume, consider adding sections that reflect your unique qualities and achievements.

Popular choices include:

  • Projects to showcase significant work achievements.
  • Languages to indicate proficiency levels.
  • Awards to celebrate industry recognitions.
  • Hobbies and Interests to share personal passions.
  • A clear resume layout helps present your info well.
  • Use all main resume sections to show how you fit the job.
  • Detail specific skills or tasks and their impact.
  • Show your personality through interests or hobbies.
  • List certifications to back up your technical skills.

no degree resume example

Looking to build your own No Degree resume?

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How to write a resume when you have no education [high school or college]

How to write a resume when you have no education [high school or college]

Ben Temple

Landing your dream job can seem impossible when you don’t have a degree, and even more so if you haven’t graduated high school. As long as you can learn how to write a resume with no education, however, you should never hesitate to apply for the job you want. Plenty of people have had successful careers without any formal education, and you shouldn’t let this one thing hold you back.

As long as you have the right skills, the right experience, and a willingness to learn, you can succeed in any field without a degree. Writing a great resume with no education is only the first step.

This article will discuss:

  • Writing a resume with no education
  • Listing education on a resume with no degree
  • Writing a resume with no high school education
  • Writing a resume with no college education
  • Deciding which sections to include on your resume
  • Formatting your resume

create a resume

  • Pick the right resume format

Most resumes use a reverse-chronological format, with a Work Experience section that lists jobs from most recent to least recent. If you have some impressive experience to highlight, this format will work for you. A reverse-chronological resume allows you to focus your work experience over everything else, which can help when you don’t have much education to show.

If you would like to highlight skills over experience, you can also try the combination format . This resume format features a prominent Skills section, where you can highlight your best skills and competencies, as well as a reverse-chronological Work Experience section. If you have a strong skill set that you would like to showcase, you may want to use a combination resume.

  • What sections to include on your resume when you have no education

The sections you should include on a resume with no education are:

  • Contact information : Your name and contact details
  • Summary : A brief summary of your key qualifications
  • Skills : A detailed list of the skills that make you suitable for the job
  • Work experience : A reverse-chronological list of previous positions, with job descriptions
  • Education : Even if you haven’t completed any formal education, you can list your ongoing or incomplete education

For many job-seekers, these sections will be enough. If you have other qualifications you would like to highlight, however, you can also include:

  • Awards : Any awards, achievements, or honours you have received
  • Certifications : Licenses and other proof that you are able to do the job
  • Volunteering Experience : Past or current volunteer positions
  • Memberships : If you belong to any professional organizations, you may want to list them
  • Interests and Activities : While this section is not necessary, if you participate in any impressive clubs or teams, it can help fill out your resume

The exact details of your resume will depend on your career, your experience, and the job you are applying for, but any information or qualification you think will improve your application should fit in one of these sections.

import a resume example

  • How to write a resume with no high school education

Writing a resume with no high school education can be a challenge, but it can be done with the right strategy. Many people have had successful careers without graduating high school, and they all had to start somewhere.

When you're writing a resume with no high school education, you'll need your other resume sections to do the heavy lifting. Focus on your skills and experience instead of your education.

You should still include an Education section, however. If there is no Education at all, the employer or applicant tracking system may think that you have uploaded an incomplete resume and reject your application. It’s better to include the section, even if it requires some explanation.

If you are still in high school, or are pursuing your GED as an adult, you can note this in your Education section. Simply include that your education is in progress, and list the date that you expect to graduate.

If you dropped out of high school, you can list the dates you attended and note that your certification was incomplete with the dates you attended. Then, you can list any other education you may have received. This might be workshops, seminars, apprenticeships, online courses, and any other training. Self-directed education and on-the-job training can be very impressive to employers.

How to write a resume with no education: Education section

  • How to write a resume with no college education

Writing a resume with no college education means putting your skills, experience, and achievements in the foreground. While you should still list your education, it will not be the focus of your resume.

If you never attended college or university, simply list your high school education.

If you started a degree but didn’t finish it, you can include the dates you attended and describe some coursework as long as you note that your degree was not completed. You can make even an incomplete degree sound impressive if you describe the courses, research topics, or important projects you were a part of during your time in college.

You can also include non-college education, such as certificates, licenses, workshops, online courses, and more. All of your education is important to your career, even if it wasn’t at a college or university.

  • How to write a resume with no education: a step-by-step guide

Writing a resume with no education will take some effort, but by following these steps, yours will be done in no time. Here is a step-by-step guide to writing a resume with no education.

#1. List your contact information

Your contact information should be right at the top of your resume. Your contact information should include:

  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • City and state/province
  • Relevant social media

No matter what else you include on your resume, your contact information has to be easy to find. Your resume won’t do you any good if hiring managers don’t know how to contact you.

Make sure your email address, as well as any social media accounts you link to, are professional and appropriate for work. If you link to a Twitter or Facebook account, for example, double check to make sure your online behaviour will be acceptable to any company who sees it.

When you have no education, an online portfolio can be an important asset. Linking to a Github profile or online profile with examples of your work is a great way to show that you can do the job, even if you are self-taught. If you have impressive work that you can link to online, linking to it in your contact information is a good idea.

#2. Write a resume summary

A summary is a short paragraph or bulleted list that highlights:

  • who you are as a candidate
  • what skills and specialties do you bring to the job
  • your key achievements or qualifications

A resume summary is an essential part of a resume with no education. It's an opportunity to make a great first impression with your resume and underline what you can bring to the company.

Your summary should come right at the top of your resume, and it should be good enough that anyone who reads it wants to keep reading.

#3. Highlight your skills

When you don’t have much education to discuss, your skills section is a very important part of your resume. In fact, this may be where you want to put most of your effort. A great Skills section can show that you have what it takes to succeed at the position, even if you learned these skills yourself.

To really emphasize skills, you can create a heading for each skill type, with examples of skills, tools, or achievements underneath. A Skills section like that could look like this:

Professional skills

Graphic design

  • Designed logos, gifs, animations, and branded content for website
  • Proficient with Adobe Suite, Crello, and CorelDraw
  • Developed various promotional materials including catalogues, flyers, business cards, posters, product packaging, and merchandise

Web development

  • Expert in HTML/CSS, JavaScript, Ruby, PHP, Python, and Java
  • Front-end development for eCommerce websites
  • Developed documentation on ReactNative to onboard new team members

SEO & Content writing

  • Used Moz and Ahrefs to research keywords and topics for clients
  • Write highly-technical, SEO-friendly content for company blog
  • Used targeted keywords and pillar content to increase website traffic by 400%
  • Managed team of seven people for content management and web development department
  • Trained and mentored interns and junior developers

If you prefer something shorter, however, you can simply list your skills in a single bulleted list. The exact format of your Skills section will depend on your specific resume.

#4. Describe your work experience

A robust work experience section is vital for a resume with no education. Alongside the skills section, the work experience section will form the main body of your resume.

You should list previous positions in your work experience in reverse-chronological order, beginning with your most recent job and working backwards. Each item in your work experience should contain:

  • Position or job title
  • Company name
  • Bulleted list of accomplishments and duties in the role

Each job description is very important to the success of your Work Experience section. As you describe each role, try to use quantifiable achievements as much as possible, such as sales numbers or customer success scores. This will make your experience sound credible. You should also use active language as much as possible so that you sound like a productive employee with leadership abilities.

A Work Experience section might look like this:

Work Experience

Game programmer.

17-Bit , Seattle, WA June 2016 - March 2022

  • Write code for games using C++ and Java for domestic and international market
  • Extensively test code and game before beta release
  • Work on several projects simultaneously, communicating with team and management to ensure deadlines are achieved
  • Write code reviews and compiled documentation
  • Supervise and mentor junior devs and interns
  • Assist CGI team in research and development of new technologies

ABC Games , Lynchburg, VA Oct 2010 - June 2016

  • Recruited from the internship in bug testing department
  • Provided feedback and testing for several successful games
  • Developed several simple first-person shooters that reached the top 20 on the AppStore
  • Coding 2D and 3D graphics for our flagship puzzle game

#5. List awards and honours

Your work history and skills will be doing most of the work in your resume. If you have any other qualifications you would like to showcase, however, you should create a section for them as well.

If you have received any awards, honours, or rewards in previous positions, you can describe them in an Awards section. This is a great way to show that you have done well, and been recognized for it.

Awards & Achievements

  • Digital Marketing Awards: Designer of the Year 2019
  • Achieved promotion to manager at DigiMarketing in 2020
  • Feature articles on marketing in Forbes, Advertising Age, and Marketing Week
  • Improved traffic by 350% for well-known challenger shoe brand, resulting in seven-figure revenue growth

#6. Education

Exactly how important your education is will depend on your industry.

If you want a job as a doctor or professor, for example, your education is very important. In fact, you will likely need to get a degree before you apply for one of these jobs.

In other careers, however, you don’t need a formal education to succeed. For most jobs, your skills and experience are much more important than your education. As long as you have skills you can showcase, you don’t need to rely on your education to land a job.

There are a few ways you can approach writing a resume with no education, depending on your circumstances.

1. List incomplete or in-progress credentials

If you are still in school, you can note this in your education section. Simply explain that you are still pursuing your education and note the date you expect to graduate.

If you started a degree that you don’t intend to finish, you can still mention it in your resume. You may not want to use too much resume space on an unfinished degree, but listing some relevant courses, projects, or research areas can be an asset to your resume, even if you decided not to complete your degree.

2. List alternative education or on-the-job training

Some of the most important education comes from less formal educational settings. You can list certifications, conferences, bootcamps, workshops, on-the-job training courses, online courses, and more in your education section. In some cases, education that you pursued on your own can be more impressive and more relevant than what you learned in school.

In the example below, the candidate includes their unfinished university courses and a 12-week bootcamp. The bootcamp is more recent, more relevant, and more impressive, so it is listed first.

Flatiron Coding Bootcamp New York City (online)

  • 12-week course (Spring 2021)
  • Software development

BSc in Mathematics with Computer Science (incomplete) MIT, Cambridge, MA 2019 - 2020

Earned credits towards a degree. Coursework included:

  • Introduction to Programming 1 & 2
  • Fundamentals of Computation
  • Data Science
  • Operating Systems
  • Tips for writing a resume with no education

Once all of your sections are in place, you can begin writing your resume. Here are some tips to get started:

Use a professional resume template

One of the best ways to ensure your resume looks perfect is to use a resume template. To make sure your skills and education get the attention they deserve, a two-column template like VisualCV’s Gallant or Slate templates are ideal for resumes with no education. You can place your Skills and Experience in the larger main column, and keep your Education section shorter in the narrower side column.

Some candidates feel that they won’t get a job if they are truthful about their lack of education. However, even a resume with no high school education can get interviews when you have a great resume summary, skills, and work experience.

Lying about your education is a bad idea. These records are easy for employers to check, and you won’t get an offer if you get caught in a lie. Honesty is the best policy.

Apply, even if you don’t meet the stated requirements

Companies aren’t always as strict as the job posting would make them seem. The minimum requirements listed in the job posting are often more of a wish list than concrete requirements. You might be the right candidate, even if you don’t have the exact degree they requested.

As long as you are confident that you can do the job, there’s no reason not to apply. If your skills and experience have prepared you for the role, your resume will reflect this, even if you don’t have the education.

Resume with no education example

Community Success Manager & CV Writing Expert

Ben is a writer, customer success manager and CV writing expert with over 5 years of experience helping job-seekers create their best careers. He believes in the importance of a great resume summary and the power of coffee.

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  • Resume and Cover Letter
  • How to Create a Resume With...

How to Create a Resume With No Education

5 min read · Updated on December 17, 2021

Lisa Tynan

Once you know how to effectively highlight your skills and experience, a resume with no education won't keep you from getting hired.

You've found a job you know you're qualified for based on your skills and experience — but you don't have the right education or lack a specific degree. Essentially, you have a resume with no education relevant to the position. Should you pass over that job? Absolutely not!

According to a 2019 TopResume survey asking employers to rate what they desire in their candidates, education was at the bottom of the list. Instead, their preferences were potential (45 percent), experience (37 percent), personality (16 percent), and finally education (only 2 percent).

Given this data, a lack of education shouldn't keep you from considering a job you could otherwise perform — and perform well. You just need to put in a little extra effort to create a resume that shows you're truly qualified despite your less-than-compatible educational background.

Choose the right resume format

If you need to create a resume with no formal or relevant education, use a hybrid resume format that combines the best parts of a chronological resume — which shows your work experience in reverse order — and a functional resume, which highlights your skills and achievements.

Also, make sure to put your education section at the end of the resume so that the hiring manager will see how much you have to offer before they see that you don't necessarily meet all of their educational criteria. The goal? To have them find the first parts of your resume so impressive that your education won't matter.

Prepare a persuasive professional summary

The professional summary (versus an objective statement) 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.

Emphasize your strongest relevant experiences

When it comes to your professional experience, make every word count. Provide specific details of your experience doing the same job or similar jobs, including accomplishments such as improving sales, completing projects at or under budget, or successfully supervising a team or department. List the skills you have that match the job description and use language that shows off your industry knowledge.

Basically, help your potential employer see that you would be such an asset to their operation that your lack of formal education or preferred education specific to that job doesn't really matter. You already have the tools to be a valuable employee; you just need to make sure you're highlighting them correctly.

Support your credentials

Make sure you are listing any key achievements or credentials within your professional experience, education, or skills section that are worth knowing. This can include:

Publications: List any published materials that prove you're an expert in your area. These can include books, white papers, and blog posts.

Presentations: Describe any public speaking you've done in your field that you think would be important to a hiring manager. Along with proving your expertise, it shows that you are an effective communicator.

Awards: State any awards you've received for outstanding accomplishments or dedication in a similar job role or in the industry in general.

You can also consider listing any professional memberships you belong to that are relevant to your field, along with listing any volunteer work on your resume done either while employed or unemployed. Give your years of involvement as well as accomplishments or leadership roles you held.

Keep your education section positive and proactive

When creating a resume with no education to list, highlight the ways you've taken the initiative to learn and grow in your field rather than focusing on an incomplete or interrupted education.

List any job-related training you've completed, either through your own initiative or your company's direction. These can include apprenticeships, conferences, seminars, online classes, and certification courses. In some cases, this more recent training is more impressive to an employer than a dated degree and no other training.

If you're in any kind of educational program, show where you are in the process. For example:

COLLEGE (City, State)

Enrolled in Bachelor of Science program, major in [ ... ], degree expected [date]

You can also provide any formal education you've done, even if you're not currently in a program. Ideally, list this after all other training you've done.

Earned XX credits toward a […] degree, [dates attended]

Creating a resume using these tips can help you get past the initial round of screenings and catch a hiring manager's attention since the spotlight will be on your assets and potential, rather than your education. From there, you can follow up with specific details during the interview.

While some employers may immediately reject you because you don't meet specific educational requirements, others will consider you a truly viable candidate because of your skills, experience, initiative, and past success. Those are the companies you can count on to value what you bring to them in the first place.

Not sure if your education section is formatted correctly to help you land the interview? Check today with a free resume review . 

Recommended Reading:

How to Make a Great Resume With No Work Experience

How to Be a Great Candidate Even If You're Under-Qualified for the Job

Ask Amanda: What's the Best Way to List Education on a Resume?

Related Articles:

Do Hiring Managers Actually Read Cover Letters?

From Bland to Beautiful: How We Made This Professional's Resume Shine

7 Signs Your Resume is Making You Look Old

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Let's Eat, Grandma

How to Write a Great Resume With No Education (Or No Degree)

Aug 8, 2022 | Resumes

Resume with no degree

No degree on your resume? No problem! You can still write an impressive resume without including any formal education. Here’s how.

By: Reem Abouemera | Contributor for Let’s Eat, Grandma

If you’re wondering how to write a resume with no education or college degree, don’t worry! A lack of traditional education doesn’t have to be a death sentence for your job prospects. No matter what your educational background has been like, you can still craft an impressive resume.

All you need to do is focus on emphasizing your skills, accomplishments , and any other relevant experience you have. That way, you can still show employers that you’re a qualified candidate, even without a formal education.

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Here’s a guide on how to do exactly that:

6 Steps to Write a Resume with No Degree or Formal Education

1. ​​determine what kind of education you can list .

woman standing up in class

It’s still recommended to put unfinished or in-progress educational experiences on your resume, if they’re relevant to the job description. Photo by  javier trueba  on  Unsplash

Sometimes, people think they can’t list any education on their resume if they don’t have a completed college degree. However, that’s not true! There are still a few items you can list in your Education section, even if you don’t have a degree yet.

For example, if you took some college courses but didn’t finish your degree, you can include that experience here. Just be sure to include how many credits you completed, as well as the name and location of the school. For example, 

Coursework completed toward Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration or Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration, 120 credits completed

Alternatively, if you’re in the process of getting a degree, you can specify that too. Just include the degree type and your expected graduation date. For example:

Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration, expected May 2023.

You can also list any professional development opportunities or certification courses you’ve taken related to your target job. These types of courses show that you’re dedicated to learning and self improvement, both of which are qualities employers value. They can also show you have key skills required for the position. You can list these in a section titled “Professional Development,” “Certifications,” or “Training.”

Pro Tip : It is a best practice not to list your high school diploma on your resume, even high school is the highest level of formal education you have completed.

2. ​​​Carefully Read the Job Posting

person writing notes in a journal in front of computer

If you don’t have education on your resume, it’s important to scrutinize every job posting to make sure you meet the minimum qualifications. Photo by  Vadim Bozhko  on  Unsplash

Next, take a close look at the job posting. This should always be your best friend, since you should be tailoring your resume to every job . In most cases, you will easily be able to find the education requirements for the role in the posting.

This step is important because it will give you a better idea of your qualifications for the job. For example, if the job posting says “Bachelor’s degree required,” you know you won’t be selected for an interview if you have no degree on your resume. 

Of course, you could still try to get a referral to the job through your network, but it’s probably not worth applying without a referral since you don’t meet the minimum qualifications.

However, if the job posting only mentions “preferred qualifications” or states that a degree is “preferred but not required,” you may still be able to apply even with no education on your resume. And the posting may not even require a degree, which is great for you!

In those cases, you know you’ll need to put extra focus on your skills and experience, rather than your educational background. Doing so boosts your chances of getting your resume noticed and landing an interview.

3. Organize Your Resume Sections in the Right Way

If you’re writing a resume with no degree, it’s often best to put your Education section at the bottom. That way, you can focus on highlighting your more relevant experience and qualifications first without shedding too much light on the lack of formal education.

That said, you should never try to fake your degree or hide the fact that you don’t have a degree. Doing so will give the wrong impression to employers and may even get your resume tossed in the virtual trash. This is why we generally advise against a “functional” resume format , which is designed to downplay employment gaps and other “red flags,” is a major no-no in this case.

4. ​​​Write a Powerful Summary Section

.Once you know what educational experiences you can list in your resume and where to include them, it’s time to start writing! The first section is your Summary of Qualifications, and it’s one of the most important parts of your resume if you have no education to list. Why? Because it’s  the first thing employers will read, so you want to make sure it’s captivating and packs a punch.

When writing your summary section , always keep your target audience in mind. In this case, that means focusing on the skills and experience that will make you the best fit for the job. 

For example, if you’re applying for a software engineering job but have no degree on your resume, you’ll want to focus on your knowledge of common coding languages and the projects and jobs where you’ve proved your skills. 

Remember to keep things short and sweet (75-100 words for a standard summary and 100-175 words for an executive-level summary ). The goal is to give employers a snapshot of your qualifications, not tell them your life story.

Pro Tip: If you’ve been using an objective statement on your resume, it’s time to ditch it! Objective statements are outdated and, in most cases, won’t do you any favors since they’re self-centered rather than employer-focused.

5. Emphasize Your Transferable Skills

women looking at a computer

It can be useful to highlight your transferable skills if you don’t have a completed degree on your resume. Photo by  LinkedIn Sales Solutions  on  Unsplash

In your “Professional Experience” section, focus on the skills that are most transferable to the job you’re applying for. This is the one of the best things you can do to prove that you have the knowledge the job posting is asking for, even if you have no education to list on your resume.

Transferable skills are skills that you learn in one job and can be applied to another. So, for example, if you’re applying for a tech support job, but most of your experience is in retail sales, you can still highlight your customer service skills.

So even if you don’t have any formal education or direct experience in the field you’re applying for, you can still emphasize the skills you’ve acquired in other roles that will make you successful in this one. 

Some examples of transferable skills include:

  • Communication
  • Time management
  • Organization
  • Customer service
  • Problem solving

But to avoid sounding like you’re just regurgitating a list of skills, focus on using bullet points with concrete examples and accomplishments to show that you’ve actually used and mastered these skills in your previous roles.

For example, rather than simply saying “excellent communication skills” in your Skills section you’ll alsowant to say something like, “Successfully resolved X number of customer complaints per month, with an average satisfaction rating of Y%.” This is the kind of hard evidence employers are looking for and is often more valuable to them than your education!

6. Leverage Your Cover Letter

man typing

Your cover letter is extra important if you don’t have formal education on your resume. Photo by Malte Helmhold  on  Unsplash

Cover letters are prime real estate for you to position yourself as the best candidate for the job, even if you have no degree to list on your resume.

In your cover letter, you can use your own voice to elaborate on your skills and experience in detail and give employers a better sense of who you are as a professional. Use specific stories to explain the lessons you’ve learned throughout your career and how they’ve made you the strong candidate you are today.

Remember, the goal is to show employers that you have what it takes to excel in the role, even if you don’t have a formal education. So take the time to sell yourself and let your personality shine through!

However, don’t apologize for or dwell on the fact that you don’t have a degree . This will only make you seem unsure of yourself and could damage your chances of landing the job. Instead, focus on the positive and let your qualifications speak for themselves.

Pro Tip: Your cover letter isn’t meant to be a rehashing of your resume . Instead, think of it as an opportunity to tell your professional story and fill in any gaps your resume might have.

The Takeaway: You Can Still Write a Great Resume with No Degree or Formal Education

While having a degree is a plus, it’s not always necessary to land the job you want. By following the tips above, you can write a great resume with no education or no degree and make yourself stand out from the competition!

All it takes is for you to really zoom in on what you bring to the table and present it in the most positive light possible.

So don’t let your lack of formal education hold you back—use it as an opportunity to show employers that you’re a unique candidate with a lot to offer!

Ready for more job search help?

Sign up for a free Senior Writer Resume Critique to see what's holding you back from landing interviews. One of our top professional resume writers will give you personalized feedback on the top 3 items you can improve based on our expert practices!

Not landing interviews? Get a free resume critique from one of our top writers to learn why.

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Articles & Advice > Internships and Careers > Articles

Digital art of arms of diverse people holding up resumes with headshots

How to Write a Great Résumé That Will Get You Noticed

This piece of paper could make or break your job search! Follow our simple guide to help you write an effective résumé that stands out to employers.

by Leslie Tebbe Salary.com

Last Updated: Jun 26, 2024

Originally Posted: Jun 6, 2011

Whether you're a recent college grad who's new to the job search or a seasoned professional looking for a change, the first step to finding a job is having a fantastic résumé. The purpose of this document is to make the reader want to interview you. Résumés should be informative, concise, and consistent, and they should highlight intriguing skills and experience. You want it to grab an employer's attention early and provide a concentrated, convincing argument that you perfectly match the position at hand. This guide will walk you through writing a great professional résumé and what you can do to make it stand out among a sea of other applicants. Here's everything you need to know. 

Résumé basics

Those who've been in the workforce for several years would customarily list professional experience first, followed by education and other elements such as publications or skills. Most résumés use reverse chronological order, listing the most recent experience first with the rest following chronologically. This type of résumé gives a prospective employer a sense of where your career is headed and how it evolved into what it is today. For entrepreneurs, sales personnel, recent graduates, and others with less-than-standard experience , an alternative format called the functional approach might make more sense. This format puts an emphasis on your abilities and achievements, categorizing your experience by industry, type of position, skill, and what you did rather than when you did it.

There's no right or wrong way to write a résumé. Whatever sets you apart from the masses while requiring a minimum of effort for the recruiter will probably be your best bet. Here are some general guidelines to follow.

  • Be concise. Unless you have been working for a long time, stick to one page. Even with extensive experience, a résumé should rarely exceed two pages.
  • Use vivid language. Include hard facts showing your impact on the company. Employers want to know what you did and how closely that experience matches their needs. Use action verbs and eliminate pronouns. Be grammatically consistent and proofread rigorously for mistakes .
  • Go easy on the eye. Graphics in a résumé should make it easy to read. Use topic headings and lots of space. Forget clip art. Use one typeface. Pull the reader in from the top. Be creative but clean with the layout.

Related:  A 4-Week Plan to Perfect Your Résumé

Tell them what they need to know

Résumés should start with your name, address, email, and phone numbers. Include your education, accomplishments, and related experience. List unique talents or specialized skills in hot demand, like those related to computers.

  • Objective:  Write one line stating your career direction and the job title you seek. It will direct your résumé to the proper department and provide a key to interpreting the contents. This statement will be of greater strategic value if you have a specific focus or are in the midst of a career change rather than if you're just starting out and unsure of your career path .
  • Education:  List schools, years attended, graduation dates, degrees, majors or concentrations, and awards. Highlight a master's thesis topic or academic honors. Put your most recent or most impressive educational achievement first. If it's not your highest degree, leave out high school unless it's extraordinary.
  • Experience:  List your employers, job location, employment dates, job titles, and descriptions of your tasks, accomplishments, and skills. Use statistics.
  • Skills:  Highlight your computer, language, or other technical skills. List software you have worked with including any unique programs or expertise. For an internet job, list any certifications or web programs and computer languages you are familiar with.

Title the sections of your résumé as you prefer, but remain consistent grammatically. In addition, order of the résumé should reflect the position being sought. If your computer experience is more relevant to the job than your work history, put your computer skills first. If your educational achievements outweigh your actual experience, put them up higher. List other personal information at the bottom.

Related:  How to Use Keywords to Craft a Better Résumé

Use discretion beyond the basics

Include a personal summary to provide a concise rundown of your career, particularly if you're an established executive or have an array of job experiences. Highlight volunteer work or memberships in nonprofits if you're applying for a related position. Include a brief section on your hobbies to present a more complete and interesting picture, although you run a risk that the information could prejudice your résumé. Leave out overtly personal data, salary information, or negatives like health or legal problems.

Customize as needed and update constantly

When you're ready to apply for a position, you need to tailor your résumé to that job. Highlight your qualities by addressing the specific needs listed in an ad or employer's description. If you have no direct experience in the field, pay special attention to related skills. Even with experience, show how your talents suit the position. You should also update your résumé every time you accomplish something new to capture what's important and remain ready for new opportunities without struggling to get something together under a tight deadline or stressful circumstance.

Related:   Infographic: Skills to Put on a Résumé to Land the Job

Your résumé can make or break your job search, so it's important to make sure it's clear, concise, and effective. Remember that it's not a stagnant document and update it with every new skill and accomplishment you earn along your professional path. Best of luck to your job search! 

Find more helpful tips for landing your first (or next!) job in our Internships and Careers section.

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writing a resume without college degree

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Resume Writing Tips

Ultimate guide to writing an executive resume when you don’t have a college degree.

I understand it can feel stressful for executives when they’re trying to figure out how to write a resume with no college degree. Especially when they’re ready to make their next career move—or are being forced to make it. It can be worrisome when applying to jobs especially when so many recruiters and prospective employers are putting an incredible amount of emphasis on a college degree over relevant skills and years of experience. Many people, even those with an impressive work history, find themselves asking “How do you make your resume look good without a degree?”

Without a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science, you might be worried about how you can impress potential employers. Guess what? Potential employers are beginning to figure out that an extensive educational background, a college degree, and a high gpa in many cases will not predict the ability of the person to perform well in the position.

Being an executive without a completed degree and just a high school diploma isn’t as uncommon as you may think, though. Many are top performers who have been with their organization for 10+ years and are ready to take on new challenges and opportunities. For example, I spoke with a gentleman recently who has held a multi-unit district manager position at a car title loan company for more than thirteen years. His role touches on business development, human resources, and finance, and now that the company is shrinking and downsizing he is worried about his prospects for making a lateral move or advancing without a college degree.

If you’re an executive without a degree and you want to pursue new opportunities you shouldn’t worry. There are some great ways you can focus your career successes and accomplishments that far outweigh a four-year degree and that will resonate with a potential employer. But how do you make your work experience outshine the resume education section? Here are some tips to help you in writing your resume so that you stand out as an applicant even without a completed college degree.

EMPHASIZE YOUR VALUE_Ultimate Guide to Writing an Executive Resume When You Don't Have a College Degree

Emphasize Your Value to the Potential Employer

It’s true that if you are focused on job postings, it looks like it will be impossible to land an interview (let alone an executive position) without a four-year degree. But according to a survey through ResumeWriterDirect HR in 2014, 90% of HR managers said they would interview a candidate who is not a college graduate if they demonstrated “extensive, relevant work experience.”

The flip side of this is that you can’t assume your academic qualifications will land you a great job if you don’t have any real-world work experience to emphasize on an executive resume next to your educational and academic achievements.

research!_Ultimate Guide to Writing an Executive Resume When You Don't Have a College Degree

Step 1: Research the Position and Industry

In order to convey your “extensive, relevant experience,” you need to know which skill set and experience are most prized by the employer for the type of position you are targeting. Reviewing job postings on Indeed is a good way to get started. Better yet, start by thinking about specific companies you are interested in and research their goals, challenges, social media presence—and of course, the specific role and position description you are interested in.

Step 2: Brainstorm Your Qualifications

Now that you have a clear picture of what your target company is looking for, you can start thinking about your relevant skills, work history and years of experience, and the specific accomplishments that speak to the experience and skill set desired.

Questions to ask yourself to capture all of your accomplishments:

1.) What are you most proud of in your current role? 2.) What would fall apart if you didn’t show up at work for a week? 3.) What challenges have you faced in this position? 4.) What improvements have you made across productivity, processes, cost savings, revenue, sales, culture, or technology? 5.) What do your colleagues, clients, employees, and/or supervisors praise you for?

Head on out_Ultimate Guide to Writing an Executive Resume When You Don't Have a College Degree

Step 3: Writing an Executive Resume: Make Your Accomplishments Shine with Context and Numbers

Resume writers often rely on CAR stories, those that identify a particular Challenge, Action, and Result. You need to do the same when writing your resume.

For example, the GM of a luxury resort in the West Indies might not sound all that impressive if he told you he “restructured the resort to capture revenue growth.” But when using a CAR statement, the achievement is truly cast in the best possible light:

“Restructured stagnant resort operations, sales, and marketing—leading to two consecutive years of record revenue for organization in 2010 and 2011, with 2012 revenue pacing 17% ahead of the prior year.”

From this concise bullet, we can glean that as a senior executive he recognized that the systems in place were obsolete, he took action to overhaul existing operations, and quantifiable revenue gains resulted from his actions.

More CAR statement examples:

Business resource manager for Systems Nutritional Services, who saved money on hospital food without sacrificing quality:

“Identified acceptable low-cost, high-quality items realizing $200K in annual savings by designing and implementing blind-taste-testing system for objective product evaluation and selection.”

Corporate environmental health & safety director who enabled a successful facility audit:

“Prevented catastrophic facility audit failure with crucial vendor by negotiating for more time, overhauling existing processes, and procuring $45K in equipment in 1-month period, resulting in successful audit.”

Finance transformation manager who led a global team in a bank redesign project:

“Aligned 14-person multinational team in spite of cultural rifts by clarifying all rhetoric/terminology to avoid miscommunications. Ensured unified understanding of baseline problem and implementation goals, resulting in on-time implementation without budget overrun.”

As these resume samples demonstrate, you don’t always need numbers to show results. They certainly help to draw the eye and make the qualifications concrete and memorable, but if they are not available (or if they are confidential) it is still key to focus on the outcomes. In this example, the alignment of the global team and the completion of the implementation project within budget and on time are wonderful examples of the success of the manager.

Step 4: Tailor Your Executive Resume: Job Description

Once you have your major achievements on paper and crafted into concise CAR statements, you should have the bulk of your new professional resume content. Aiming for roughly three to five accomplishment bullets per position is a good benchmark.

You also want to provide details about the scope of the role you held by answering questions such as:

1.) How many direct/indirect reports do you have? 2.) What are your main responsibilities? (Think about functions, activities, projects, budgets, clients.) 3.) Have you led or played a role in any corporate transactions such as mergers, strategic alliances, or new market development initiatives? 4.) Do you participate in any leadership forums? 5.) What type of organization do you work for (start-up, Fortune 500, multinational)? 6.) What can these bullets say about your work ethic?

Step 5: Build a High-Impact Career Summary

Once you have your key accomplishments on paper and crafted into concise CAR statements, think about the top three to five achievements that differentiate you from other job seekers and that are the most relevant to your current job target. It is often easiest to craft the professional experience entries first and then step back and think about the big-picture personal brand that needs to come across in the Career Summary.

So often this section of the resume is focused on what someone “can do,” which tends to lead to vague, generic content that could easily be plopped onto someone else’s resume. For example:

“Accomplished pharmaceutical sales executive with track record of driving quota attainment and cohesive teams. Broad pharmaceutical and medical device product knowledge and strong network in healthcare industry.”

All of this may well be true, but the problem is that it could be true for roughly 99% of pharma salespeople. There is nothing concrete, specific, or memorable about it. In other words, it is wasting valuable space on a resume instead of engaging the reader and clarifying the job seeker’s value and personal brand.

A more dynamic and engaging career summary for a pharma salesperson could read like this:

“Sales leader and analytical innovator delivers sales growth of up to 45% YOY coupled with focused, motivational team leadership. Outperformed market share of top 5 U.S. competitors. Prevented XYZ Company default by securing multimillion-dollar contract (75% of business).”

If you were a hiring manager or recruiter presented with only these two small paragraphs, which door would you open?

WHAT ELSE_Ultimate Guide to Writing an Executive Resume When You Don't Have a College Degree

Step 6: What Else Needs to Be Front and Center?

The Career Summary is a great place to mention other credentials and qualifications as well. Do you have any awards/honors relevant to your target job? What about licensures, certifications, publications, or speaking engagements? Generally, these are listed only in the Education section or an addendum, but they can be very impactful (when relevant), so consider dropping a line into the Career Summary or getting creative with formatting!

Are you tired of your resume being rejected by applicant tracking systems? I know how frustrating it is to submit your resume and receive no response. I hate seeing qualified people never breakthrough the screening process. It shouldn’t be that way. That’s why I created this guide and I encourage you to download the FREE PDF so you can start seeing better resume response rates!

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[…] June 13, 2018June 13, 2018 By job-search-bot This post was originally published on this […]

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Wonderful and unique article. As a career expert, I have never thought of a resume for people who do not have a college degree. Yes surely highlighting accomplishments and achievements will draw the interviewers attention rather than focusing on qualifications. Thanks for sharing such an informative post.

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Thank you very much for this article. It made me appreciate my contributions and achievements and I learnt how I could package it in a more improved way for my CV. Unfortunately the link to the Free PDF guide did not work, but you had given much material to work with. Thank you again – very much.

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Resume Sample With No College Degree Example

  • Post author By Erin Kennedy

Resume Sample With No College Degree Example

This chronological resume is for Ryan Meade (not his real name), a job seeker who wants to continue his career advancement to a position as director of a non-profit organization.

Ryan is highly qualified and motivated, but does not have a college degree, which could be a stumbling block.

See how this issue is addressed in his resume.

The Details About This No College Degree Resume Sample

Ryan started his career in the non-profit/association management sector as a volunteer and was hired to handle membership services.

Since he did not go to college and planned to stay in the non-profit/association management field, he chose to pursue a professional certification as a Certified Association Executive (CAE) rather than a four-year degree.

Now that Ryan is looking to find a new employment opportunity, he has to minimize the fact that he does not have a degree while finding a way to ensure that his resume positions him as a competitive candidate against other candidates who have college degrees that are applying for the same jobs.

Things to note about Ryan’s resume for a job in the in the non-profit field:

  • He positioned his certification designation (“CAE”) right at the top of his resume so that the reader knows up front that he has this credential.
  • He included quantified achievements at the top of his resume so that the reader can see where he has added value in his career.
  • He included a list of his top skills in the field that can help to optimize his resume for SEO searches.
  • His achievement statements are detailed, quantified, and full of industry-specific keywords.

The overall look of the resume is creative and tech-savvy in nature, showing that he has a creative side in addition to his business and organizational skills.

The Bottom Line on Resumes With No College Degree

By emphasizing his strengths and de-emphasizing his deficits, Ryan was able to successfully compete in his job market.

  The Resume Samples for Ryan:  

  • Sample Formal Resume for Executive Degree-less Job Seeker
  • Sample Simplified ATS Resume for Executive with No Degree

Erin Kennedy

Erin Kennedy is a Master Career Director (MCD), Certified Master Resume Writer (MCRW), Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), and Certified Empowerment & Motivational Coach (CEMC). She has been helping clients since 1999. Erin is also the President of Professional Resume Services, Inc. . Visit her website and connect with Erin on LinkedIn and Twitter . More about this author …

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How to Get a Good Job Without a College Degree

writing a resume without college degree

Ask: Can I Do the Job?

Consider taking courses, connect your skills to the job listing, network as much as possible, stay positive, tips for the job interview.

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Sometimes, you will see a job that seems like an ideal fit for you —with one major exception. What do you do when the job listing says, “College degree recommended” or “College degree required” and you don’t have that degree?

The good news is that there are ways to get a good job without a college degree, even if the job listing says it is a requirement. In fact, some hiring managers simply say this because it’s easier to ask for a college degree than to dig down into which skills are most valuable for the job.   If you can demonstrate that you have the skills and experience needed for the job, some employers will overlook your lack of a degree.  

There are some things you can do throughout the job search process to get a good job that pays well without a college degree.

Before applying for the job, look carefully at the job listing. Read the job description, looking in particular at any “required” skills or experiences. Then ask yourself the question, “Can I do the job?” If you have most of the skills and abilities needed for the job, but are only lacking the required degree, go for it.

Keep in mind that if the degree is listed as “recommended” or “desired” instead of “required,” the hiring manager will be more likely to look at an applicant without the degree.

However, if you lack the degree and you don’t have many of the required skills and work experience, you might not want to apply. There is no sense in wasting your time and energy applying for a job that is not right for you.

Even if you are unable to get a four-year bachelor’s degree (or a two-year associate’s degree), you can always take small steps in your education that would impress a hiring manager:

  • Consider taking courses in your industry at a local college. You could then include these courses in the “ Education ” section of your resume.
  • You can also complete certificate programs related to the job and include those on your resume. Many certificate programs have flexible schedules, and some are even online.

All of these things would show a hiring manager that, while you don’t have a college degree, you are working toward developing a strong academic background.

Similarly, include any education that you do have . If you have some college experience, you can say “Bachelor’s studies” on your resume or list the related courses (or certificate programs) that you have taken.

Whatever you do, don’t lie. Don’t say you have a bachelor’s degree if you only completed part of your studies. Employers will check your background during the hiring process, and if you lie, they can rescind an offer or even fire you.

When you don’t have the educational requirements, be sure to show how you are a good fit for the job in every other way. The best way to do this is to connect your skills and experiences to the job listing .

Include any keywords from the job listing, particularly skill words. For example, if the job listing says applicants need to have “Experience in data analytics,” you might mention your years of work in data analytics in your resume summary or in your summaries of previous jobs.

Networking is a good way to get an interview when you are applying for a job and lack the required degree. When you apply, reach out to anyone you know at the company . Let them know you are applying for the job, and see if they are willing to write you a recommendation , or tell the hiring manager about you . In your cover letter , mention that you spoke to this person about the job.

You can also do this if you have not found a specific job opening. Reach out to any contacts and ask if you can talk to them about the industry or about your current job search. This might lead to information about a job opening.

In your cover letter , avoid focusing on your lack of a degree. Sentences like, “I know I don’t have a bachelor’s degree, but…” only highlight your lack of a degree. Instead, focus on the skills that you do have, and explain how your job experiences make you a strong fit for the job.

If you get the job interview , great! Here are a few tips to help you impress the hiring manager, even if you don’t have the required bachelor’s degree.

Project confidence. Like your cover letter, avoid defensive statements like, “I know I don’t have a bachelor’s degree, but…” Only address your lack of a degree if they ask.

If you focus too much on the qualifications you don’t have, the employer won’t see what qualifications you do have.

Focus on your skills and experience. When answering questions, try to mention any keywords from the job listing. Make sure to highlight your skills and experiences that make you a good fit for the job.

Show how you will add value. Because you don’t have the required degree, you have to go above and beyond to show that you are the right person for the job. One way to do this is to focus on how you will add value to the company . Perhaps you have helped reduce costs or increased efficiency at other companies. Highlight these experiences and explain that you would like to add value to this company too.

Prepare an answer to the likely question. While you do not want to emphasize your lack of a bachelor’s degree, the hiring manager might ask you about it. You might get a question like, “I see you don’t have a bachelor’s degree. Do you think this will hinder you on the job?” Be sure to have an answer prepared. When you answer, again try to emphasize your qualifications (rather than focusing on the drawbacks to not having the degree).

The Washington Post. “ Wanted for Any Job: A Bachelor’s Degree. Is That Smart ?” Accessed Nov. 15, 2020.

Glassdoor. “ 15 More Companies That No Longer Require a Degree—Apply Now .” Accessed Nov. 13, 2020.

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  1. Resume With no College Degree Example + Writing Tips

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  2. Ways to Boost Your Resume Without a College Degree

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  3. Sample Resume With No College Degree

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    writing a resume without college degree

  5. Resume With no College Degree Example + Writing Tips

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  6. Resume Samples Without College Degree

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COMMENTS

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