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.
COLLEGE (City, State)
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.