I'm trying to apply in the field of data analytics and have experience in the form of studies, which are mentioned on my resume. I recently had an interview and became apparent that it could be misleading because some are unfinished or not a full fledged education. Some background information:

  1. I quit my studies after mental issues and after finding out this field was just not compatible with me. It's very closely related to data analytics, but in the field of life sciences. Academics wasn't the right place for me. I stopped in my final year, which consists of an internship and thesis. I successfully passed all the theoretical courses and have proof of my grades validated by the university.
  2. Furthermore, I'm currently wrapping up a part time studies in Big Data. This is a short program of 6 months. Due to a hiatus thanks to COVID and family issues, it appears as a longer commitment than half a year.

I'm trying to be as honest as possible but have some issues with communicating this on a resume. "Unfinished" and "Short program" doesn't look that catching and doesn't paint the whole picture either. Diploma's I did receive are mentioned with "Diploma Acquired". Where this isn't the case, I left it out.

How do you go about mentioning possible shortcomings, while still presenting a likeable CV?

EDIT: gnat proposed an answer that helps me with my first point. The second one still stands

  • Does this answer your question? Incomplete studies. Should it be included into resume?
    – gnat
    Jun 17, 2021 at 12:28
  • 1
    @gnat: It does for my first point, thank you. I will add my points to my resume. It does not answer my second point, however. When listing a study, people tend to think of something longer than six months.
    – Iarwain
    Jun 17, 2021 at 13:38

2 Answers 2


I have had some similar issues. I actually quit my first two degrees. I did put them on my resume and I simply did it like this:

  • 2010-2012: Artificial Intelligence - University of X1 - Quit after Y1 ECTS
  • 2012-2013: Econometrics - University of X2 - Quit after Y2 ECTS

During my third degree in my final year I had to interview for internships, and I interviewed at a big consulting company for risk management. They obviously asked me what was up with this in the beginning. I told them what I did learn and what I gained from it as a person. I told them why I quit and how I did end up deciding what it was that I was looking for and because I reflected I ended up being able to articulate my previous mistakes and how I will now not make that mistake again.

I got a callback after a week where the partner (who was at the interview) told me he was surprised and happy with my honesty, and that I did seem to have learned from it. He offered me the internship and increased the salary offer with 33% when I didn't accept it. I ended up declining, but that doesn't matter here.


Own it, and take control of the conversation in the interview when they ask about the topic. Don't try to hide it, or gloss over it. Put it on your resume and simply mention it in your cover letter. This goes for both points. Just put the years you studied, no need to go into too much details.

On a related note: work on a data portfolio with your own data science/analytics projects (Kaggle, from your Big Data course, whatever) and show your work there. Be passionate about these projects.


You need to carefully think if these partial studies will help your resume or will cause issues.

Will they cause potential employers to doubt your candidacy or it will improve your odds?

If you feel they can benefit you, consider have a section called Education & Courses in the resume with bullets such as

  • Online Big Data course at XYZ (600 hours) - expected to finish in Sept 2021
  • Life science studies at the University of XYZ (did not complete)
  • What would be a reason for doubt when it comes to partial studies? It's experience, after all.
    – Iarwain
    Jun 19, 2021 at 7:18

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