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Resumes for Managers Without College Degrees

In this article, you will find resume tips for managers in the following fields:

  • Hospitality / Food & Beverage
  • Education Services
  • Business Office Operations
  • Product Support / Engineering Operations
  • Business-to-Business Sales

If you've risen to the top through diligence, hard work, your innate ability to lead people, and your grassroots knowledge of your industry, you should be proud of your accomplishments. However, if the time has come to switch companies and you lack that college diploma, it may take a bit of extra convincing for a prospective new employer to consider your candidacy. Again, the primary purpose of your resume is to get you in the door so that you can sell yourself in a job interview. If you're a manager without a college degree, there are several key things to keep in mind when you prepare your resume and cover letters. Here are just a few tips that you may find helpful:

  1. Because you don't have the diploma, it's all about experience. Make sure that your resume is “front-end loaded” with a strong summary section touting your knowledge and expertise. Focus on what you can do and have already done that is most relevant to your target job.
  2. Consider leading with a career highlights section that focuses on four to six success stories from your career, each showcasing a different competency that is highly relevant to your target job. Perhaps one short paragraph demonstrates your project management skills; another may talk about your ability to maintain customer loyalty; and yet another mentions process improvements that enhanced operating efficiency.
  3. Be sure to include any professional development or training that you've completed. Depending on the size and philosophy of your current and past employers, you may have been selected to attend an extended leadership development program at a prestigious business school. Perhaps you've completed numerous workshops on employee relations or received technical training in a specific area. Have you been exposed to Six Sigma, lean manufacturing, or ISO training? All of these can strengthen your resume.
  4. If you have some college but did not earn a degree, consider how best to portray your education on your resume. Never fabricate a college degree or lie about attending college. As many recent examples in the media have demonstrated, it's too easy to get caught; most importantly, it's simply dishonest. If your college experience is recent, consider listing the degree, followed by “in process” see Example 1. This works if you have significant coursework under your belt and there is a legitimate possibility that you might continue or go back and complete your degree.
  5. Another scenario: perhaps you have attended two or three different universities and accumulated more than enough credit hours to equal a degree but haven't met the specific requirements to actually receive a diploma. List the colleges you have attended and the total credit hours completed see Example 2.

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