A truly great resume should highlight your relevant work experience and educational achievements. Not only should the education section of your resume be concise, it should also relate to the job you are seeking to get. Hint: if you are applying for a marketing position and don’t have a marketing degree, showing you have taken some courses in the subject will help.
Before you start emailing your resume to potential employers, take a look at some things you should and shouldn’t do within the education section. After all, you want to impress them, don’t you?
3 Dos for Your Education Section
1. List your education in reverse order. If you have a master’s and a bachelor’s degree, make sure to first list the master’s degree. If you have a bachelor’s degree, do not bother writing your high school degree. Make sure that your highest level of education is always listed first. If you have certificates in certain industries that are relevant to the job, list that after your bachelor’s degree or before your high school degree if that’s your highest level of education.
2. Write in your GPA and accomplishments. But only do this if you’re a recent college graduate. After a certain time, your GPA during college is not as important as your work achievements – unless you decide to change fields entirely. Also, be sure to include any academic honors, such as scholarships, making the Dean’s List, or other awards.
3. If you did not finish your degree, then write in the amount of credits that you obtained. For
example, if you started college but did not complete it, list what major you were pursuing and relevant coursework taken. If you have taken many classes that are related to the position you are attempting to get, it may not matter as much that you didn’t get the degree. So be sure to include this.
3 Don’ts for Your Education Section
1. Don’t embellish or falsify things. This is obvious, but must be restated. Exaggerating an award you received or lying about your GPA can terminate your candidacy for a position. Even worse, it could get you fired after you started a job. Be very honest in your education section.
2. Don’t make it too general. Your education section should highlight what you accomplished, but it should do it in a way that directly targets your potential employers. If you are applying for a job in computer science, make sure that you show you have taken relevant coursework or obtained related certificates. Even listing a minor during college can help if it deals with the desired position. Tailor this section to the job.
3. Don’t ignore dates. List the month and year of graduation as well as the institution. If you haven’t graduated, list the anticipated graduating date. Ignoring these dates makes it hard for employers to connect your work history and may make some suspicious that you have gaps in your work history. For those who have only been in the workforce for a few years, showing when you graduated and your immediate work experience following graduation can help highlight your determination and focus to progress your career. If you graduated over 15 years ago, dates aren’t as necessary.
Education Makes a Difference
After graduation, your education is your biggest marketing tool for landing a job, so make sure the education section of your resume is the most important part. After you have five to ten years of work experience and your career has shown steady progression, it’s important that you list your work section in front of your education section. However, it’s still important that you highlight your degree and education; most employers will still want to see what you did in school, even if it was a long time ago.
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