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Should I Include an Incomplete Certification on My Resume?

Ask Savvy: Should I Include an Incomplete Certification on My Resume?

Dear Savvy,

I nearly completed a certificate program at a university different than my alma mater. I had to take seven courses and then make a portfolio, and the program had to be completed in two years. I finished the courses, but I wasn't able to complete the portfolio in time, so I didn't receive the certificate. How do I list this in my resume?

To see my answer,

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Savvy savys: Because you didn't actually earn the certification, the best way to acknowledge your efforts is to include relevant coursework when appropriate. If you're applying to jobs that would benefit from any skills or knowledge you picked up while taking the required courses, then include a small section that lists the applicable classes and where you completed them. Otherwise, an employer will assume you took the courses from the university where you graduated.

Remember, just because you completed the coursework doesn't mean you should include it on every resume you send. Your resumes should be tailored to each position you apply for, so take the time to revise your resume accordingly. Also, be prepared to answer a hiring manager's questions about why you didn't actually complete the certification program. If you can't come up with an answer that an employer would respect, then you might want to weigh if including the relevant courses will help or hurt your chances in the end.

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