Your education is important to your career. Presumably, you’d prefer a career in your chosen field of study, although people often change careers or end up working in fields different than the field their degree is in.
There are a few reasons to include or highlight your education in your resume: if your education is relevant or required to work in the field, if you have little to no work experience, or if you recently earned your degree. Here are some tips on how to write the education section of your resume.
Go In Reverse Chronological Order
You’re should include the most recent degree you’ve earned at the top of your education section, because these degrees generally accumulate in prestige and educational value. You shouldn’t put your doctorate below your bachelor’s degree, because if you have a Ph.D., then you certainly have a bachelor’s. Hiring managers care most about the highest level of education you’ve achieved, so show them that first.
How to List College Degrees
If you’ve graduated, then you earned a degree. Whether it’s a B.S., a Ph.D., or an M.D., you need to include it in your resume.
Don’t abbreviate: a Ph.D. is a Doctor of Philosophy, a law degree is Juris Doctor, and an M.D. is a Doctor of Medicine. Because the names of these degrees have Latin roots and because it makes the degree stand out, many people like to italicize them, but it isn’t necessary.
What to Do with Non-Degree Education
If you didn’t earn a degree at a particular institution, but your attendance and education there are still relevant to the job description, you should put the entry on your resume. List the name of the school, years attended, and what you studied there. Also list relevant course names. Keep it relevant, of course; you don’t need to list the name of your cooking class if you’re applying to a marketing position at a tech firm.
How to Handle Multiple Schools
Many people with one or more degrees change schools at least once, so you should list all the schools you attended to achieve your relevant degree. You should list them in reverse chronological order, with most recent degrees earned first, and most recent schools attended first.
List the names of the schools, years attended, and degrees of study. In a lower line, you may want to list very relevant courses you took, but in the interest of saving space and keeping the resume neat, you may want to omit courses. Generally, hiring managers can discern what courses you took based on your field of study and degree conferred.
How to Include Special Awards
If you graduated with honors, place that distinction near your degree. If you were honored in some other way during your education, you can mention that in a special awards, miscellaneous, or honors section. If the award was conferred by an industry institution rather than an educational institution, it doesn’t belong in your education section.
How to Include Continued Education
If you’re taking classes to stay on top of your industry, but don’t expect to earn a degree from them, go ahead and mention them in the education section. However, if you’re taking non-related classes, such as a writing class or pilot lessons and you have room, you can put that in your miscellaneous section at the end of your resume.
Be careful with adding too much non-relevant information. Hiring managers like to know that their prospective employees are well-rounded and have a lot of interests, but for the most part, keep it relevant. Leave off anything controversial or political. When in doubt, leave it out.
These tips should help you write and format the education section of your resume. For most careers, even those that don’t require formal education, an education section can be very relevant. It should be streamlined and succinct but still contain all vital information. If you need more help, try LiveCareer’s Resume Builder to get ideas on how to form the education portion of your resume.