Job hunting can be tricky, especially if you’re looking for your first full-time job. The good news is, a lot of resume dilemmas have surprisingly simple answers — like how to list a degree on your resume when you haven’t graduated yet.
It’s fine — even normal — to list an expected graduation date on your resume before you have your degree in hand. Keep scrolling for tips on exactly how to list expected graduation on a resume, including formatting guidelines and tips for unique situations.
How to list an expected graduation date on a resume
You can list expected graduation on a resume in the exact same way as you would list a completed degree — as long as you make it clear that you haven’t graduated yet. Here’s how:
- Create an ‘Education’ section for your resume. If you’re about to graduate and don’t have a lot of work experience yet, keep this section at the top of your resume underneath your contact details.
- List the name of the school you attended, the location, and the degree you studied.
- (Optional) Include your major and any relevant minor(s).
- Beside the degree, list the month and year you expect to graduate (if known).
- As a recent graduate, you can also add extra information like your GPA, relevant coursework, study abroad, and honors or awards. These are all optional, and you can take them out after you have a little more work experience.
- For free, professional feedback on your resume, run it through an ATS resume scanner that can pick up anything you may have missed.
Here are some examples of listing expected graduation on a resume that you can copy and paste:
Resume Worded University, Boston, MA
Bachelor of Engineering (Expected May 2023)
Major in Computer Science
Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
Bachelor of Arts in Digital Marketing
Expected Graduation: May 2023
And here’s an example of what the education section of your resume should look like with an expected graduation date:
Expected graduation date format
There’s more than one correct way to put expected graduation on your resume. You can list an expected graduation date in any of the following ways:
- May 2021 - May 2024
- May 2024 (Expected)
- Expected May 2024
- Anticipated 05/2024
- Expected graduation 2024
It’s acceptable to:
- Write out the full month and year you expect to graduate
- Put ‘expected’ or ‘anticipated’ next to your graduation date
- Write your expected graduation date in numerical format
- Include the start and end dates of your degree
- Use the same date format as on the rest of your resume — for example, if you list your work experience dates as 06/2023, your expected graduation should look like ‘Expected 05/2024’
The only thing that’s not acceptable is to list the date as if you’ve already graduated — even if all that’s left is for you to walk, being upfront and honest on your resume is always the best move.
Should you put an expected graduation date on your resume?
In general: Yes, you should put expected graduation on your resume. Listing your expected graduation date:
- Makes it clear that you haven’t graduated yet and aren’t trying to hide that fact.
- Indicated that you’re still in school and may not have full-time availability until graduation.
- Contextualizes the rest of your resume and professional experience
Unsure if including an expected graduation date is right for your specific circumstances? Here are some more in-depth tips for different situations.
What to do if you don’t know your expected graduation date (and other tricky situations)
If you can reasonably guess your graduation date:
List your best guess, especially if it’s very far out.
If you don’t know what month you expect to graduate:
List only the year, e.g. ‘Expected graduation 2025.’
If you’re currently on hiatus from school:
You can still list an expected graduation date (and it’s okay if this changes).
If you have an unfinished degree that you’re not planning to return:
List the dates you attended and your number of completed credit hours, e.g.
Resume Worded University (2020 - 2021)
New York, NY
Bachelor of Science in Engineering — Completed 20 credit hours
If you’re completing a masters degree:
List your expected graduation date along with the rest of your educational details at the top of your resume.
If you’re doing an MBA:
Still list your expected graduation date as normal. If you’re still working while pursuing an MBA, keep your education section below your work experience. If you’re using your MBA to pivot careers and your current line of work isn’t super relevant, then it makes more sense to list your education first.
If you haven’t yet started your degree program:
There’s no need to list your expected graduation — or your degree — until you start your program. It would look strangely out of touch to list an expected graduation for a degree you haven’t yet begun. Instead, you can mention your upcoming enrollment in a cover letter, especially if that’s the reason you’re looking for a temporary or part-time job.
If you’re changing careers:
You can put your education section back at the top of your resume if you’ve gone back to school, even for a short course. On the other hand, it’s okay to leave a degree off your resume if it’s no longer relevant.
If you’re still in high school:
Only list an expected graduation date until you’re in college or your first job. List your school, location, and expected month and year of graduation, e.g.
Beverly Hills High School, Beverly Hills, CA
Expected graduation May 2023