How to List Education on a CV (Resume): Guide and Examples
Whether you are straight out of high school education or coming with some work experience, you may be wondering how to list education on a resume properly. It may seem straightforward, but there are quite a few things to consider, such as what to do if your education is unfinished or whether your university experience needs to go first, no matter what.
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- Why listing education on a resume is important
- What to include in your resume section
- How to format your resume education
We'll also give you some examples and other tips because even minor things, such as punctuation marks, can make all the difference!
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Why to List Education on a Resume is Important
While people make work experience the central focus of their resumes, education on a resume is important because it helps the recruiter understand what kind of knowledge you possess. Dedicating four or more years to the pursuit of a particular set of skills should definitely be highlighted.
Another reason why education on a resume is important is that it also shows your interests and areas where you may be able to bring a vital fresh perspective, even if it is not immediately clear how the education is directly related to the kind of jobs you are applying for.
The last reason why education on a resume is important is because it shows your ability to stick with something, manage competing tasks, and (hopefully) satisfactorily complete work on time.
Tips for the Education Section of Resume
Before we get into the specifics, we thought we'd give you some general tips on the education section of resumes. Above all, you have to put yourself in the position of the person looking through your application. They may have 500 different resumes to get through, which means your resume's education section needs to be as clear and easy to scan as possible. Here are 5 quick tips you can use for listing education on resumes.
Use subsections - If you have lots of information, break it up into different sections, including the course or degree itself, and then things like "Awards," "Extra-Curricular Activities," and "Professional Development."
Give specifics related to the jobs you are applying for - Include (or make more prominent) details relevant to the sector you are hoping to work in. For example, while in most cases you will put your university name first, the sub-college, such as "School of Hospitality," may be listed first if you are going for hospitality jobs.
GPA is not required - If you received a stellar GPA, you might want to include it, but otherwise, it is unnecessary. Once you have work experience to list, the education section should be made smaller, and you can remove the GPA altogether.
Forget high school - If you are doing your college degree, this should take prominence, but you should include your GPA or GED if high school is your highest degree.
Be truthful - Employers can check your transcript, and if you get to the interview stage, you will most likely ask you more about the information you've given. Getting caught in a lie will sink your chances. So include in your CV only relevant skills, study abroad programs if you took part in any, your work history (if you have) and some extracurricular activities.
Where Should Education Go in a Resume
There is no one answer to the question of where education should go on a resume. It depends on several factors, such as the level of education attained, the relevance of the educational qualifications to the job being applied for, and the amount of work experience the applicant has.
In general, however, most people tend to list their education near the top of their resumes, below their personal information, and before their work experience. This is especially true for those who have recently completed their education or who do not have a lot of work experience.
For those with extensive work experience, it may be more appropriate to list their education further down the page after their work history. This is because employers are likely to be more interested in an applicant's work experience than in their education when hiring.
It is also worth noting that some employers may specifically request that applicants list their education in a certain way on their resumes. For example, they may ask for educational qualifications to be listed in reverse chronological order (with the most recent qualifications first) or they may ask for specific details such as grade point averages or class rankings to be included. In such cases, it is important to follow the employer's instructions to ensure that your resume meets their requirements.
What to Include in Your Resume Education Section
Keeping in mind the points mentioned above, here's what to include in the education section of a resume when you apply for a job. These requirements aren't set in stone but give a general idea of what your education section should look like. This educational experience is often presented in this order to reflect what hiring managers are looking for when scanning education on a resume:
- Name of your most recent degree: Bachelor of Science (BSc) with a Minor in Politics. Listing your Minor is optional.
- Name of your school/college: Ohio State University/Harvard University/York University. Include the location even if the name of the school or college seems obvious.
- Years attended: 2018 - 2021. If you have not yet finished your course, you can write 2018 - present.
- GPA: 3.69. As stated in the previous section, if your GPA is not extremely impressive or if you have lots of other experience, best to leave this out.
- Honors: Magna Cum Laude. This is also an optional section.
- Any other courses, extracurricular activities or educational achievements that are relevant to the job: 1-year exchange program in Gothenburg, Sweden. Exchange programs show your willingness to engage with new experiences and take on challenges that may be out of your comfort zone.
With so much information that can be included, it's sometimes easy to forget that your education still only makes up one part of your resume and is almost always listed underneath work experience, which is often what employers value more; real skill sets you have developed in proper workplace conditions.
Listing Education on Resumes
What about those unique educational situations that are outside of the sections mentioned above? As you can see, listing education on a resume isn't so straightforward.
Unfinished programs - Special programs, even when finished, may not need to be specifically mentioned; however, if you are close to completing a program at a good school that is relevant to the position you are applying for, then add it to your resume education.
High school-related activities - Everyone needs to start somewhere. Unfortunately, it can be hard to fill out a resume when you have little or no work experience; but don't worry! You still have the chance to display what you have to offer with any relevant coursework, extra-curricular activities, or hobbies that demonstrate your work ethic and areas of interest on the education section of your resume.
Certifications - Certifications are a great way to show that you go above and beyond to achieve something your school or current employer doesn't mandate. Remember to not use any jargon or abbreviations that your prospective employer may not understand.
Workshops - It is best to include workshops only if they are directly related to the functions required by a prospective employer. For example, having completed a two-day behavior management workshop would be worth mentioning if you are going for a teacher's job, but not necessarily if you are hoping to work in a restaurant kitchen.
Internships - It is well worth mentioning relevant internships, which are closer to work experience than education. If you have only had one or two previous jobs, an internship is a great way to highlight other professional skills, which employers can scan for.
Job listing - If you have tried working for some organisations or had any part-time job, include them in your CV as well.
How to Format Your Resume Education Section: Few Tips
Now you have your information, how to format education on a resume is the next big question. Having a professional qualification is only half the battle; knowing how to present it is key. Here are four tips:
Spacing - Unless an employer uses recruiting software (which is a whole other topic), HR staff want something they can easily scan. Use spacing that allows information to be taken in easily.
Information brief and clear - No one wants to read your entire life story. Revise your education format on your resume until it is clear and to the point, without any unnecessary details.
Relevant to the types of positions you are applying for - We've said this before, but it's worth mentioning again. A lot of people have 3 or more versions of their CVs, tailored to the jobs they are applying for.
Highest attainment first and the rest in reverse chronological order - You don't need to rank by chronological order as a strict rule. List the highest education on your resume first, then use reverse chronological order for other courses.
An example of College Education on a Resume
If you are currently completing or have completed a degree, you should definitely know how to format college education on a resume. Here's an example:
When putting your education on your resume, you can also choose to put the name of your institution in bold, so it is extremely clear when you apply.
An Example of Education on Resume for a High School Senior
A resume for a high school senior will look like the following example:
As stated above, a high GPA can be included, as it is here. Also, listing some of your main courses will show your employer what your areas of interest are and give you something to discuss at the interview stage.
Education Section of Resume
Individual sections seem simple enough, but how does it all fit together? Here are some more tips for how to list education on the dedicated resume education section of your resume:
- List high school education first - You don't need to order by date! Put your biggest academic achievements at the top when listing education on a resume.
- College education is the most important - If you have completed college and you are a professional graduate with some work experience, it is safe to say that you can remove most, if not all, of the information related to your high school education.
- The small details matter - Double check your spelling, grammar, and punctuation, and pay attention to formatting. Sometimes there are different ways to present information, for example:
- You can spell out your degree or use abbreviations - Master of Arts becomes MA.
- You can use periods to separate initials - M.A. (optional).
- You can separate your degree from your major with a comma - MA, Sociology.
As you see, there is more than one way to format your educational experience, but the most important thing is to be consistent.
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How to Put Education On Resume as an Experienced Professional
A resume's education section will look different for a professional who has completed more than one degree and has significant work experience. In this case, listing education on a resume comes below work experience. Recruiters will always be more interested in skills gained on the job than your academic career, no matter how impressive sounding.
If you have more than one education, rank these in a hierarchy, with a Ph.D. or Master's first, then Bachelor's degree(s), then other professional courses. Here's a good example of what it can look like:
If you have work experience and multiple degrees, it is best to leave your GPA as hiring managers will prioritize.
If you haven't finished your degree, we've got you covered with our next example — so read on!
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How to Put Unfinished Higher Education on Your Resume
If you’re in the process of completing your education or if you’ve recently graduated, you may be wondering how to list your education on your resume. Here are some tips on how to put unfinished higher education on your resume so that you can still highlight your academic achievements and goals.
Start by including the name of the institution where you’re studying or where you studied previously. Include the location of the school, as well as your degree program and expected graduation date. If you’ve already completed some coursework, you can also include details about your GPA and any relevant coursework or projects.
If you’re currently enrolled in a degree program, it’s important to list the number of credits you’ve completed so far. This will give employers an idea of how close you are to finishing your degree. You can also include information about any relevant internships or practicum placements you’ve completed as part of your program.
If you took a break from your studies, or if you’re returning to school after a period of time, be sure to explain this in your resume. You can simply state that you took a “gap year” or mention any other relevant circumstances. Employers will understand that life doesn’t always go according to plan, and they will appreciate your honesty.
Finally, don’t forget to include any relevant extracurricular activities or volunteer experiences that relate to your field of study. These experiences can show employers that you have the skills and knowledge necessary for the job, even if you haven’t yet finished your degree.
By following these tips, you can ensure that your resume accurately reflects your academic background and achievements.
Here are a couple of examples of what the hiring manager wants to see:
Remember, making sure the recruiter can scan your work is the most important thing.
We hope this blog has been helpful when finding out how to list education on a resume. While your work experience section is the most important, for those that don't have so much experience, a strong resume education section, even if it's high school education on your resume, can help showcase your skills and passions to potential employers.
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