2

This question is related to this one, but different.

I feel as if my highest education doesn't really reflect the skill level I later developed. I'm an autodidact and dropped out of several high schools before finishing a low-level one, continuing and finishing something that translates to vocational education or community college in 2009.

Now I have almost 10 years of relevant working experience (started freelancing while still in school), so my resume feels long enough.

Is it okay to exclude the education section altogether? Or can I omit the education level?

  • I should add to this that the type of education I'm talking about, doesn't have a good reputation in my country. – Sherlock Sep 29 '15 at 20:37
  • The Netherlands, and I don't believe that that's common practice, unfortunately. – Sherlock Sep 29 '15 at 21:24
  • This community college is post-high school and I finished it. – Sherlock Sep 30 '15 at 11:12
  • Yes, I finished it. – Sherlock Oct 1 '15 at 8:00
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    In the US, I'd list your college, with the date and name of the diploma, under education, at the bottom of the resume. Here, your degree wouldn't really matter. 99/100 white-collar non-upper-management jobs require a degree or some years of experience. They'll want to see whatever degree you have, no matter where or what, but will key on your experience. (I have a community college associate's (2 year) degree from 1982 I also have 15 years experience as a sys admin and another 15 years as an electronics technician.) No one has ever questioned my lack of major degree. Ever. YMMV in the UK. – CGCampbell Oct 1 '15 at 11:04
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Can you? Sure, you can. Do you want to? Almost certainly not.

If you've got 10 years of professional experience, no one is spending more than a moment or two glancing at your education. Your professional experience is much more predictive of your skills than what degree you have. At that point, most people are looking at your education primarily to check a box with HR which, for example, may just want to see a college degree. That's not to say that someone without a degree can't be hired but life is much easier for the hiring manager if they want to hire a candidate with a degree.

If you leave off the education section entirely, people are liable to assume that you have literally no education-- no college, probably no high school diploma. That would reflect much more poorly on you than what you perceive as a mediocre degree. It also makes it much more likely that your resume gets weeded out by HR before a hiring manager sees it-- HR is good at doing things like screening for the presence of a degree if a company is innundated with resumes. Plus leaving it off will tend to emphasize your education-- the hiring manager is undoubtedly going to notice that it is missing and will most likely have to make sure to ask about it. That's going to mean that you spend a lot more time discussing your education than you'd prefer and that it will be much more in the hiring manager's mind than it would have been if there were a couple of somewhat unimpressive lines on a resume.

  • This sounds reasonable - I conclude that you would also mention the education level. That should indeed raise the lowest number of questions. Thanks. – Sherlock Sep 29 '15 at 20:48
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    tl;dr: Listing your education won't hurt your chances, hiding it will. – Lilienthal Sep 30 '15 at 8:49
  • This. Exactly this. – CGCampbell Oct 1 '15 at 11:05
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Just as nobody really cares about your high school scores after you leave college, nobody really cares about your college scores after adequate time in the field -- though adequate may vary, and the college experience might have given you background not demonstrated in your recent jobs (though that's true of self-study as well).

On the other hand, if you leave the school off the resume, someone is going to ask you about it. I 'm not sure "ok, not a great school but that's old news" is worse than "what's he hiding"... Especially since it is in fact possible to get a good education from a bad school if you're willing to beat it out of them.

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