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How to Effectively Add Education To Your Resume

Wednesday - May 15, 2024

Your education equips you with the skills and traits that make you shine in your job role, but the hiring manager will never understand what you bring to the table unless you list it on your resume correctly. For many positions, education is a requirement – but even when it isn’t strictly necessary, it can make your application stand out. In this guide, we discuss how and where to list education on a resume. We also go over a few tips, like how to list online courses and education history.

How To Format Education in a Resume

Let’s start with the basics: How to format and list your education on a resume.

If you have a college education, don’t add your high school diploma or achievements. Hiring managers will focus on your higher education, and anything older will be a waste of important resume space.

For all types of education, start with the name of your degree and then add the name of the institution, its location, and your graduation date. If you had a GPA over 3.5, add that, too.

Here’s an example education section to inspire you:

Bachelor of Science, Nursing

University of Virginia, School of Nursing, Charlottesville, VA

May 2020

GPA: 3.7

Look simple? It should be. Education should be brief, yet informative, so recruiters can scan it for the information they need without using too much time.

Some professionals switch up the exact order when listing their education. For example, if you went to a very prestigious college, you may want to start by providing the name of the school.

Since there are a few different ways to write it out, you can see more examples by studying great resume templates to decide for yourself which method is best for you.

It’s important to note that you should also consider how the education requirements are listed on the job ad you’re targeting. Mirroring job description language is a great way to make sure your resume gets through a company’s applicant tracking system (ATS).

For example, if a job post asks for a “BAA in Finance,” don’t list your education as “Bachelor’s in Business Administration, Finance” – list it like this:

BAA, Finance

Kennesaw University, Marietta, GA

2019

Now that you know the fundamentals of how to list it, let’s discuss where on your resume to put it.

Where To Put Your Education Section

There are two main places professionals list their education on a resume, depending on your needs and background:

  • Under the Work Experience section
  • Under the resume summary, right above Work Experience

Most professionals opt for the first option, as work history is usually more important to hiring managers. However, there are a few scenarios where education should be at the top.

Recent graduates and students should lead with their education as they usually lack an extensive work history, making their educational achievements the most important qualification.

It’s also a good idea to list your education at the top of your resume if the job you’re applying for needs a specific degree. That way, recruiters can quickly make sure you have a critical requirement before moving forward.

3 Tips for Adding Education to Your Resume

You’ve got the basics down, but let’s take it a step further to make your resume shine. Here are our top tips to improve the education section on your resume and catch the hiring manager’s eye.

Add online courses and certificates

Don’t stop at your college education – if you recently finished a prestigious online course, list it on your resume to show employers your dedication to continuous learning.

This can go right in your education section, after higher education, like college degrees. It can also be placed in a Certificates or Projects section if you prefer.

Start with the name of the course, and then provide the name of the course provider and your completion date. This adds legitimacy and enables the hiring manager to check out the course for themselves.

If you have room, add one to two bullet points about what you learned in the course.

Here’s an example:

Strategic Management Mastery – Educba (2024)

  • Learned fundamental marketing skills and strategies, including market analysis, research, and segmentation

Consider how far back your education goes

There’s no limit on how far back your educational history can be, but there are a few considerations to keep in mind.

For example, it’s best to leave the graduation date off if it’s more than 20 years ago. Providing this information opens your application up to possible age discrimination, and leaving it off ensures recruiters don’t focus on it.

Another tip is to simply leave older education off entirely. If it isn’t an important college degree and it’s over 15 years old, it’s just taking up space.

Mention only relevant education

Recruiters want to know why you’re the perfect candidate for this specific role, so don’t list anything irrelevant to the position.

For example, If you’re shooting for an HR role, provide your BAA and your certificate in CSR strategy, not the course you took on engineering.

However, if you want to showcase your education at a prestigious institution but not the degree itself, list the name of the institution first. This shows the hiring manager that you attended a great university and have a willingness to learn.

Final Thoughts

Education is a great addition to your resume. College degrees and online courses alike show employers your qualifications – they also showcase your commitment to continuous improvement and skill-building. Use our tips to successfully add education to your resume and catch the hiring manager’s attention.

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