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Job Skills Resume with some graduate

  1. Nov 2, 2008 #1
    I've tried googling for hours and I kept getting unwanted results. But how do I list my education if I've only did 2-3 semesters of graduate work before leaving? Is it wise to list "unfinished" graduate degrees, even if it was caused to personal problems or plain ol' failure?

    I'm afraid an employer might see my unfinished graduate degree as a sign of failure or a quitter. What and how should I handle this?
     
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  3. Nov 2, 2008 #2

    Moonbear

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    I'd suggest listing it as something like, "Additional graduate level coursework" and list the dates you were in the program and courses taken (and passed) in a block paragraph. You don't want take a lot of space with it, but show them you didn't have a big gap of time you were doing nothing.

    Be prepared to explain why you left graduate school if asked about it on an interview. Though, if that coursework isn't required for the position, they may not care whether you were in a matriculated program and left or if you were just taking some extra classes as a non-matriculated student.

    Of course, if you failed all those courses, I don't know how to handle it, because if they ask for a transcript, you're really screwed. I'd perhaps only list ones you passed, since a course that's been failed really doesn't add much to your knowledge. If you left for other reasons, that's easier to explain, such as financial considerations, family obligations. As long as they aren't ongoing problems that would leave an employer wondering if you'd stay with them too...for example, if you needed to move closer to home to care for an ailing parent, and the new job is close to home, that would make sense to an employer. Likewise, someone who left graduate school to have a baby and raise it until it was school aged, and now returning to work once the kid is in school would be a "safe" reason, as long as it was clear you weren't planning on getting pregnant again very soon and leaving to do it all over again (but an employer isn't legally allowed to ask if a woman is planning to get pregnant or have kids during the interview, so if this in any way applies, don't even mention it since they CAN follow up if you bring it up as part of the discussion). BTW, I have no idea of whether you're male or female, which is why I'm bringing up this point.
     
  4. Nov 2, 2008 #3
    Thanks for the input. So I shouldn't list my graduate education like: Masters of XXXX, April 2002-December 2002. Since I really didn't end up with a MS degree. This is just an example.

    Would something like: "I wanted to take some graduate level courses to gain some more experience and in-site for a certain field" be acceptable in the interview? I finished my BS physics degree with only one programming course and zero experience. I thought by taking some graduate courses in CS and CE would help me a bit.
     
  5. Nov 2, 2008 #4

    Moonbear

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    Yes and yes. You should definitely NOT list a degree you did not obtain (and especially not if you're related to a university president or the friend of a university president...we had a big scandal here and a lot of people at the university lost jobs over it, including the university president and his friend's daughter who was claiming a degree she never received).

    And yes, wanting to take some advanced courses for additional experience is a good thing, so that is perfectly acceptable to explain on an interview.
     
  6. Nov 2, 2008 #5
    I second what Moonbear wrote.

    Although, your explanation of why you have a few grad courses will seem dubious if there are a lot of them - 9 courses will seem iffy. Be careful about telling them one thing and having another come out later; if they later figure out you actually started out wanting a grad degree but stopped, it will look ugly. Uglier than if you told them that up front.
     
  7. Nov 2, 2008 #6

    Moonbear

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    That's true. Be honest about that. They could decide to check those references or ask for a transcript, so if your explanation is made up to sound good and isn't true, you could lose getting the job over it, when just saying, "I realized grad school wasn't for me," might have been a better explanation.
     
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