I studied at the top university of my country (well-known in the world), obtained top grades, grants, bursaries, had some of my research published, was hopeful of an academic future... but then I had health problems and deferred indefinitely just short of 2 modules. I took a few years off and since I had to finance myself, I started a career in a field not entirely related to my studies (but still a good one, a bit like studying any Science helps one get a career in banking) and have been very successful there as well, was promoted twice already - but my health is irregular again, severely affecting my performance. I fear I might end up unemployed soon, but only because my current job has an extremely high-pressure environment. Therefore, I think I would thrive much better in a a more senior position in a company which does not have such a dog-eat-dog work culture.

In any case, my question is: how (and how much) should I explain on my CV?

Should I leave out my education and focus entirely on my career progression, or should I include my studies, including all the top achievements, valedictorian grants, etc. and just on the side mention that it is incomplete?

EDIT: (to answer a question in one of the answers below) my health problems are directly influenced by high pressure work, stress and irregular hours. The more balanced and flexible the workplace, the more chances I have of curing myself.

  • 3
    Hello cambridge, and welcome to The Workplace! Questions that get the best answers here inspire people to explain why and how. Since none of us know your specific details, there is no way to offer customized advice, and customized advice isn't too useful to future visitors who have slightly different details. If possible, could you edit your question to focus on the specific problem you're facing? "How to list your education if you didn't graduate?" is a good question, but right now the question doesn't quite focus on that...
    – jmac
    Oct 8, 2013 at 23:18

2 Answers 2


What I have done in the past is:

XXX University - Computer Science - 19XX-19XX

And then if people ask (and usually even if they don't), I give them the story about why I did not finish (and why they should not worry).

For someone with one relatively short term successful job, I would recommend emphasizing the one that you think is most appropriate for the job you're applying for. Fancy university is likely going to help for some kind of jobs and advancement in high-pressure environments will be more valued by others.

Tailoring your resume to the job your applying for is a good thing to do anyways, and other resources can help in that regard.

Though in this case, I would focus on preparing a story about your medical problems. It will inevitably come up during the interview, and as an employer, I would be concerned since it seems to be a recurring thing that either cannot be cured or can never be "completely" cured. The resume can only get you in the door.


I have seen some people listing it as following in their resume:

2001 - 2002: MS in Computer Science
University of Florida - dropped out
- participated in XYZ software contest and won 3rd prize
- organized a seminar on big data

1997 - 2001: BS in Computer Science
University of Florida - GPA 3.4
- projects / achievements here..

the Resume is just a glimpse of facts. The details follow in the interview. If the guy looking at your resume feels that 'drop outs' are not welcome in his company, then you wouldn't want to work for that company anyway.

The smart HR guys will look at the potential business value you can add to the business.


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