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How to List Education on a Resume?

Do you want to make sure that your resume shines and gets attention?

The education section on the resume is one of the main sections that interviewers pay close attention to. This section gives interviewers an insight into your background to determine if you will be the right fit.

how to list education on a resume

Creating a compelling education section on your resume can help set you apart from other candidates. However, this is one of the main sections that many people struggle with.

So. let’s take a look at how to list education on a resume to help you secure your dream job.

Information to Include in Your Education Section

There are several pieces of basic information that interviewers are looking for in your education section. This includes the name and location of previous schools and the degree you obtained as well as the graduation year. They may also look for your GPA, although you may not want to include this if it is below 3.4.

The section also includes any relevant academic recognition or honors, coursework, and other academic achievements. However, the education section is very short and should be kept to 15-30 words. Therefore, it is essential to be selective and choose the right format for this section.

You need to format your educational experience so that it matches the job requirements. You need to be selective and pick out the most significant educational achievements. If you hold a bachelor’s and/or master’s degree, there is no need to include earlier education.

What Employers Look for in The Education Section?

Exactly what the employer is looking for will depend on the requirements of the job you are applying for. With entry-level jobs, hiring managers are likely to check for a high school diploma or college degree. Alternatively, someone applying to be the director of a department may need an MBA or similar training.

When applying for a job, pay close attention to the education or other requirements in the job description. If your educational background does not match, your application is likely to be rejected.

Specific certifications or degrees are needed to obtain certain jobs in certain professions like healthcare and finance. Therefore, employers are likely to scan the education section on the resume first. If the applicant does not have the required education, the employer is unlikely to read the rest of the resume.

how to list education on the resume

Listing Education with Limited Work Experience

If you are a recent graduate, you are unlikely to have extensive work experience. Therefore, the education section is your chance to shine. Displaying impressive educational achievements can easily make up for a lack of work experience.

You can flesh out your education section with internships you completed as part of a curriculum. You could also include academic awards or sponsorships, relevant coursework, academic assistantships with notable professors or other academic professionals.

However, it is still important to keep the information as brief and to the point as possible. So, here are some tips on how to determine the educational information to include on your resume.

Hobbies and Extra-curricular Activities

When describing professional hobbies and extra-curricular activities, it is important to make sure that they are relevant. Do not include information about sporting clubs that do not connect to your qualifications in any way. You also need to avoid long explanations of hobbies and activities that run on for several paragraphs.

Instead, you need to keep your descriptions as short and concise as possible. Use bullet points to separate different pieces of information to make your resume easy to read. The best types of activities to include are those where you took a leadership role that can be related back to work.

Listing Degrees

Clear and concise wording and formatting is essential when creating all sections of your resume. When describing degrees, it needs to be clear what the degrees are and how they relate to the job. The level and type of education will dictate the type of formatting you choose to display your degrees.

Adding Your High School and GED

A wide range of jobs are open to high school graduates. Therefore, it is important to list a high school diploma or a GED if this is your highest level of education.

Keep this education short and sweet and simply state the name of the diploma or a GED. However, if you are a recent graduate, it may increase your chances of success to list additional high school-related achievements. This can include honor roll awards, leadership positions, athletics awards and achievements, and similar types of achievements.

how to list education on your resume

Adding Your Associate’s and Bachelor’s Degrees

When listing a bachelor’s or associate’s degree on your resume, include the name and location of the institution. You can also include any collegiate-level academic achievements to this section. These achievements could include honor’s societies you have been part of or dean’s lists, although take care to stick to relevant information.

Adding Graduate School or Doctoral Programs

Listing too much educational information on a resume can be just as detrimental as not listing enough. People who provide a long list of degrees and educational awards run the risk of appearing overqualified for the job. Be aware of the educational requirements for the job that you are applying for, and make sure that you do not overshoot.

Leaving out certain degrees is not the same as lying on your resume. If you are applying for a job that requires extensive educational experience, it is best to create a CV-style resume. This allows you to dedicate a whole page or even two to all of your relevant academic achievements.

Adding Certifications

It may be the case that you have not attended college but have completed a trade school or other program. If the certifications you gained are relevant to the job you are applying for, include them in your education section. Certifications such as First Aid and CPR are appreciated by many employers.

Listing Incomplete Education

If you have a course that you did not complete, it can be tricky to include it in a positive way. It is best to steer away from the words unfinished and incomplete at all costs. Instead, include the relevant coursework or credits that you earned before you left the institution.

Avoid explanations regarding why the education is not complete. With careful wording, it may not even be obvious that your education is incomplete. Focus on what you learned during the course rather than what is missing from the coursework or degree.

Where To Include Education on a Resume?

There are several different ways of How to List Education on a Resume. The way that you display the information will depend on the content that you want to show. You will also need to take the specific job into consideration and your relevant information.

If you are applying for a job in academia, there will be much more emphasis on education. Therefore, you may want to consider leading with your education section, especially if it is particularly impressive. However, you can place the section close to the bottom for an entry-level job where minimal education is required.

how to list education on resume

Choosing The Right Resume Format

There are several different formats that you could choose for your resume. The format that you choose will depend on the job you are applying for and the information you want to display. Let’s take a closer look at the most common resume formats so that you can select the perfect option.

Reverse-Chronological Format

This format places the most relevant work experience first, finishing with the oldest job. You can add your education either before or after the work experience section. However, if you have high degrees that make you more qualified for the job, you may want to present them first.

Functional Format

This type of format places much more emphasis on areas of expertise and skill sets. This is the best format to choose if you do not have a lot of educational credentials or work experience. You can lead with the education section if your education is more impressive than your work experience.

Hybrid Format

As the name suggests, the hybrid format combines the reverse-chronological work experience structure with emphasizing skills. This allows you to add extra skills to the mix of your relevant work section is slightly lacking. It is best to keep the education section as brief as possible and put more emphasis on other achievements.

Curriculum Vitae (CV) Format

Finally, CVs are a kind of multi-page and long-form resume format that is usually used when applying for academic positions. This is the perfect format if you have a lot of educational achievements that are relevant to the job. In this type of resume, the education section will be the most prominent and relevant part.

This type of format allows you to include all of your educational credentials. You will also be able to include all published works, awards, projects, and other academic achievements.

Are You Applying for Your Dream Job?

Then you may also want to take a look at my article on what Hobbies Interests to Put on Resumes.

But the site contains more than just great resources to write the perfect resume! We can also help with the application processes of a number of US-based companies, including everything from Popeyes Chicken Application to the ABF Freight System Application process to the Cintas Application. Just type the name of your potential employer into our search box, and you’ll probably find that we have it!

Regardless of the company, it’s best to start preparing yourself for the potential questions that will come up in most interviews. So, check out our comprehensive guides discussing Strengths and Weaknesses for Job Interviews, on Answering Tell Me About Yourself in Interview, or responding to Why Do You Want to Work Here? Plus, answering the dreaded, Why We Should Hire You in 2023!

Plus, here are some highly recommended resources to interview like a pro if you’re starting your journey in the job market: Answering Tough Interview Questions For Dummies and How to Create Positive Impressions.

Back to today’s topic…

Final Thoughts

While it is important, the education section on your resume is usually a short summary of your credentials. You need to be able to keep this section concise and to the point. Therefore, it is essential to choose the perfect format that presents the information in the best way.

The goal is to create a strong education section that only includes the most relevant information. Before submitting your resume to a potential employer, make sure you review it one last time. Taking the time to spellcheck and edit your resume can drastically improve your chances of securing the job.

Happy job hunting.

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About Eugene Casey

Eugene works in a busy employment agency in Chicago and has nearly 20 years of experience in finding clients the perfect job. His philosophy is simple, the right match for the right position is nearly always a win-win for both the employee and the company.

When he isn't working or writing for us, he enjoys cooking and exploring the United States, one state at a time.

He lives with his wife Lisa and their two German Shepherds, Wilber and Gus.

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