As with the other parts of your CV, your education section should include extensive and detailed information. This is particularly important if you are applying for a research or academic position. Your prospective employers want to know about your field of study and any achievements. A concise yet comprehensive education section is a must if you want to build a truly impressive CV.
A top priority in figuring out how to write your CV education section is deciding what information gives the reader a full and accurate picture of your educational background.
First and foremost, you should let employers know about any significant study you have engaged in. Instead of simply listing your degrees, be sure to state the fields you have studied, as well as any significant coursework in other areas. Unless your employer specifies otherwise, list your education in reverse chronological order.
While a CV has more room for including details than a resume does, this does not mean that you should be excessively verbose. Review your CV to make sure that your language is maximally clear and concise throughout. Avoid repetitions and unnecessary embellishments. You should also avoid providing irrelevant information. For example, most CVs will not benefit from the inclusion of a high school GPA. On the contrary, unnecessary data clutters your CV and obscures your real accomplishments.
When compiling your CV education section, you may be tempted to exaggerate achievements or gloss over problematic areas. Employers will invariably check up on your data. There are very few misdeeds that will count against you more than offering untruthful information on your CV. Yes, you should provide a full list of your achievements, including academic honors and awards. You should not, however, misrepresent their significance or nature. Facts such as GPA or whether or not you received a particular award are very easily verified.
If you have areas in your academic history that you are not proud of, leaving them off your CV entirely or misrepresenting what happened can seriously damage your chances of getting the job. Some common problems include failing to complete a degree program, receiving a failing or very low grade, or accusations of academic misconduct. The way to deal with such issues is not to pretend they never arose. The most effective approach is to provide your employer with accurate information and to explain why you believe you are a great candidate in spite of past problems.
If you failed a class or got a bad grade that torpedoed your GPA, it often makes sense to acknowledge this fact head-on. You can then show that you did better afterwards and discuss steps you took that show your commitment to doing well in your field. If your academic problems arose as a result of circumstances that are no longer affecting you, you may want to state that as well.
Providing accurate information includes being careful with dates. If your graduation took place a decade or more ago, you may not need to include as many. However, your potential employers should be able to see when you received your degrees and to follow the general course of your career. Check your chronology carefully. A discrepancy or a gap in dates can lead employers to believe that you are trying to mask a problem. If there is indeed a gap in your studies, you may want to include a brief statement explaining the reason for it.
Following the above advice will help you come up with a strong CV education section. Do not forget to use your judgment and common sense when deciding how to present your information. Keep in mind that your goal is to showcase your academic credentials as well as your substantive knowledge in your field. Continue to read our other top-notch CV examples and tips to learn more about the best ways to craft a stellar CV.