Whether you are straight out of school 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.

As a professional writing service, we are heavily invested in the success of everyone who hires us for custom writing, watches our videos, or reads our blogs. That's why in this blog post, we're going to do our best to make sure you learn:

  • 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 Listing 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.

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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 in college, 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.

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. 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, activities or 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.

How to Format Your Resume Education Section

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:

EDUCATION B.A. Creative Writing
Minor in World Music
University of California, Berkeley
2016 - 2020

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:

EDUCATION Marsland High School
2013 - 2019
3.56 GPA
Courses: Mathematics, History, French, Drama

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 education section of your resume:

  • Start with your highest degree 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 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.

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:

Ph.D. in Business Administration (MBA)
Master's of Science in Information Systems (MSIS)
Duke University, Durham, NC
Bachelor's of Science
North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC

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!

How to List Education in Progress on a Resume

How to list incomplete education on a resume is a common question that we hope to satisfactorily answer. Similar to the advice for high school seniors, graduates, and professionals, the education section of a resume should be put under your work experience if you have any.

While we know where to put education on a resume, there is no one answer as to what to write. Just make sure whatever you write is consistent. Here are a couple of examples of what the hiring manager wants to see:

Bachelor's of Arts, Cultural Studies 
North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC
Expected graduation May 2021
Bachelor's of Arts, Cultural Studies 
North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC
2017 - Present

Remember, making sure the recruiter can scan your work is the most important thing.

Key Takeaways

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.

If you're stuck listing education on a resume and want some expert advice, reach out for some professional resume help. Research shows a well-written resume can double your chances of employment!