(Finally) graduated!
May 18, 2014 5:54 PM   Subscribe

Entered school in 2006 and had to leave school a bit before finishing my degree (was supposed to graduate in 2010). I'm finally done with my coursework and can start looking for better jobs, but how should I address this gap on my resume--particularly in regards to formatting?

(I've worked full-time since 2010, so I do have a work history. [slightly related bonus question: Can I apply to jobs catered towards "new grads" despite having a few years of work experience?])

Thanks in advance, everyone!!
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (10 answers total)
You don't. You just put the date of when you were granted your degree, not when you started it.

It's also incredibly common for people to take quite a bit longer than four years to finish a four-year degree, with multiple stops-and-starts in there. I'd be very surprised if eyebrows were raised at this.

(My resume, for instance, has never said anything but "BA [school] [year granted]".)
posted by rtha at 6:00 PM on May 18, 2014 [4 favorites]

Seconding, 'don't'. Just put your graduation + your work experience.
posted by wrok at 6:04 PM on May 18, 2014

Chiming in to agree with "don't." I suspect you have no idea how common this is. Very common. Very. (Congrats!)
posted by Houstonian at 6:09 PM on May 18, 2014

I think graduating in four years is the exception, not the rule these days. Just put 2014 and your degree and don't worry about it.

posted by COD at 6:25 PM on May 18, 2014

Tell them you were sick. Tell them you needed to make some scratch to pay for school. It's none if their business, to be honest.
posted by discopolo at 6:30 PM on May 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

As discopolo says, there's always the option of playing it up... "As I was concerned about the question of debt, I required a certain amount of time to work and save..."
posted by mr. digits at 7:00 PM on May 18, 2014

I don't even put the year I graduated on either linkedin or my resume.
posted by saucysault at 7:12 PM on May 18, 2014

Put the year you graduated, as that can make recruiters think you're trying to hide something, such as perhaps being an older person who is re-entering the workforce. Have a good, truthful statement if you're asked what years you attended school. I've been asked all sorts of questions about why I spent 6 years in university and it really used to surprise me when recruiters kept hammering me with questions after I would say, "I worked my way through university to avoid debt and because I had many opportunities to pursue relevant work, as my resume shows". I think they were actually not very good recruiters who were suspicious of people. I never took jobs at those places. But it can still be unsettling and thus helpful to know how you'd answer.
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 9:59 PM on May 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

I took a 5-year hiatus between the time I started college and the time I finished. (I started in fall 1991, also left shortly before I should have finished my degree, worked for five years and finally graduated in 2001) I too just put my graduation year on my resume, but most of the applications (online and paper) asked for the dates attended as well as graduation date...so be mindful of that. In those cases I just put down "1991-1995; 2001." (or if they asked for month and year: "8/1991-5/1995; 1/2001-12/2001.")

I have had interviewers ask about that, and I just told them the truth: I took some time off to work, then decided to go back full-time to finish my degree. I've never had an interviewer have an issue with that. (If anything, they thought it was great that I did go back to finish!) If people do raise eyebrows, that's probably not a place you'd want to work anyway.

posted by SisterHavana at 2:14 PM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Absolutely, you can apply to "new grad" jobs. You are a new grad, and assuming you're still in your twenties or young-looking, that's how many hiring managers are going to see you.

On the other hand, if it means you'll be underpaid in comparison to what someone with a few years on them makes, then see if you can hold out for something better, and emphasize your experience.
posted by mitschlag at 4:59 PM on May 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

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