Education is one of the key sections employers always look for on a resume.
Adding the information about your educational background to your resume is the best way to show off your skills and qualifications. You want people reading your resume to see all the great things you've learned and recognize that they need someone like you on their team. It will help them understand who you are as a professional, what skill set you have, and what value they'll get if they hire you.
As such, education is an essential element of any resume.
Even though listing education on a resume may seem straightforward, it's not always easy to know what information should go to the resume education section or how best to format it.
If you want to make it perfect, read on to learn the following:
Where to put education on a resume
Throughout the article, you'll find examples for all educational levels and scenarios, from incomplete high school, to college degrees in progress and unfinished higher education or ongoing online courses.
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Ok, let's start with the basics!
Do You Need to List Education on a Resume?
The education section is one of the few mandatory sections on a resume. It's also the second most important part of it, right behind the work experience.
The education section is the second most important part of a resume, right behind the work experience.
The main purpose of this section is to provide insight into the credentials you have obtained and additional courses you have taken.
Recruiters and hiring managers always look for this information because it helps them get a clear picture of your background and skill set. It informs them about your capabilities and knowledge you can bring to the table, helping them understand your fit for the job.
Although the education section may be irrelevant for some jobs, like retail positions where most employees don't need formal qualifications to be successful in their roles, employers still expect to see this info.
On the other hand, if your educational background is closely related to the job or includes any credentials required for the position, this section will give you a competitive edge and be one of your strongest selling points.
So, don't sell yourself short by omitting or downplaying it on your resume. Always add education to your resume.
If you don't have any education, training, certifications or credentials whatsoever, don't worry!
In this case, you can skip this section while emphasizing other parts of your resume to highlight your value. Alternatively, read about what you can do if you don't have relevant qualifications.
What to Include in the Education Section?
Knowing what to include in the education section on a resume is essential for moving forward in the hiring process.
Employers always look for this information, so it needs to be written in a concise and clear way for them to understand how your credentials match the job requirements.
When putting together your resume, add the following:
School name and location
Your major (if applicable)
Your minor (if applicable)
Graduation year (month & year if possible)
The above information is mandatory for creating a concise and informative education section that a potential employer will easily read and understand.
What Else Can be Added to the Education Section?
If you have limited work experience, adding information about other academic achievements to your education section is a smart way to accentuate your qualifications.
In this case, consider extending the education section with the following details:
GPA (if you're a recent graduate and your GPA is high; if you had a GPA lower than 3.5, leave this information out unless employers request it)
Academic achievements (honors and awards)
Internships completed as part of a curriculum
Academic scholarships or sponsorships
Add internships, coursework, project and extracurricular activities if they add value to your application and relate closely to the job requirements.
Bear in mind that all of the above is optional information that should be put on a resume only if you have limited work experience, so the education section is the place where you need to accentuate your skills and knowledge.
Still, remember that this information works in your favor only if it's directly related to a job vacancy you're applying for.
Where to Put Education on a Resume?
Many job seekers automatically place their education section at the bottom of their resumes.
However, it's better to be strategic about it since the position of the education section actually depends on the level of experience.
Adding education to a resume when you have some work experience:
If you are an experienced professional with over 3 years of work experience, your education section should go after your work experience and be formatted like any other part of your resume.
This means it should be listed in reverse chronological order and include all relevant information such as school, location, degrees earned, and end dates for each degree program.
If you have completed a college degree, omit your high school information.
Here is the summary of the most important rules for formatting the education section for experienced job seekers:
Put the education section below your experience.
Start with the highest degree first and follow the reverse chronology when listing qualifications.
Skip the high school information if you obtained a college degree.
Add the basic information only, including school, location, degree and graduation date.
Don't add an outdated GPA or coursework as it's not relevant anymore.
Adding education to a resume when you have little to no work experience:
If you have recently graduated and have no work experience yet, then different rules apply.
In this case, the education section is a crucial part of your resume. It's the central place on your resume where you can elaborate on your skills and knowledge and provide details on the value you can bring to your future employer.
If you can add any group leadership positions, courses, projects or internships that are related to the job you're applying for, then be sure to include them in your resume.
As such, it should come before any other sections on the resume.
Also, you should provide details only about those degrees which relate directly to the job vacancy.
Here is the summary of the most important rules for formatting the education section when you have little to no experience:
Put the education section above your experience.
Start with the highest degree first and follow the reverse chronological order when listing qualifications.
Skip the high school information if you obtained a college degree.
Extend the education section by providing more details about relevant coursework, projects, honors and awards.
Don't add a GPA if it's lower than 3.5 unless requested by an employer.