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Completed course work for M.S., Technical Communication,
>University of Washington. Thesis pending.
I would remove "thesis pending" from your statement. Just say completed
coursework, which is true, and answer further questions if they come up in
the interview. Omitting thesis pending is not a falsehood. It could work
against you by implying that you cannot give 101% to the new job because of
I don't thin an unfinished Masters is that detrimental, but it would depend
on the field. Not all Masters programs require a thesis. I think if a
person had finished an advanced degree in a "non applicable" degree field,
one question at an interview would be "Why aren't you working in that field?"
The Phd candidate who is ABD has gone through all the hoops (course work
and oral exams) but one. This is fairly common, and I doubt if it would be
One of my friends is a LAN engineer at a large technical company who is ABD
in anthropology. He said his course work in anthropology was a plus, because
his hiring manager also happened to have studied anthropology. My friend
uses his knowledge of anthropolgy to help him understand his organization
and his clients.
On the other hand, finishing a thesis or dissertation is proof that you can
set your own schedule and work independently. But I think few employers
understand this unless they have been through the process themselves. There
is a tendency for employers to focus on specific technical knowledge rather
than transferable skills. The fact that I'd finished my master's helped me
obtain my last two positions, even though I've never worked outside of
research and development in landscape architecture (academic environment).
One hiring manager said the degree demonstrated technical skills and knowledge.
I would expect an unfinished bachelor's degree would be a negative to a
potential employer, at least in technical writing. Yet even then, evidence
of some school is better then none. One of my former coworkers was an
excellent technical writer, but had considerable difficulty getting work in
the DC area as he had not finished his 4 year degree. On the other hand, I
know of an RN who was discouraged in finishing his BS because the city
hospital that employed him didn't want to have to pay him more. He had the
certification required, and that is all the hospital wanted.
At 03:37 PM 5/9/97 PST, you wrote:
>>The usual way to indicate that you went to college but didn't graduate
>>is "Attended University of Foo with major in Bar Technology." As
>>opposed to "B.S., University of Foo, Bar Technology."
>>The line on my resume for post-graduate work goes like this:
> Completed course work for M.S., Technical Communication,
>>University of Washington. Thesis pending.
> I am interested in knowing how hiring managers feel about education
> that was begun, but never finished. Is it better to put it on the
> resume, or just leave it off? I leave mine off because I am afraid it
> makes me look like a quitter. Of course, I have other degrees on my
> resume. If the incomplete degree was my only education, I might see
> it differently.
> Janet Valade
> Technical Writer
> Systech Corp, San Diego, CA
> janet_valade -at- systech -dot- com
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