Showcasing Knowledge and Education on Your Résumé

September 2021
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Crafting a winning résumé that will attract the attention of recruiters and hiring managers isn’t an easy task. One area of the résumé where some job seekers fall short is the education section.

There are so many things to consider including, such as the name of the school you attended, the degree you attained, coursework and GPAs, not to mention where exactly to put these tidbits of information. I want to walk through a few scenarios that might apply to you — and how to either maximize this space, or overcome challenges presented by it. 

How to format the education section on your résumé

In your education section, you firstly want to list the name of your school and its location, followed by the degree you achieved (this part also works in the reverse). Make a specific mention to your major (and minor). 

If you are earlier in your career, or a recent graduate, then it might be helpful to mention some of the coursework you completed that relates to the industry in which you are applying for jobs. If you have more than one degree, then you should list your most recent degree first, and work backward, in reverse chronological order. If you have attended more than one institution, then only list the one that awarded you your degree. 

Unless you are a recent graduate, you do not need to include the year of your graduation. You also do not need to mention your GPA when you are further along in your career. (And, if you do, only mention it if it was 3.4 or above.) If you achieved high honors, then definitely speak to that. Lastly, recent grads should share their education at the top of their résumés (right below your objective/intro), followed by internship and/or work experience. 

What to do if you’re still in school

If you are still in school and have not yet graduated, then list everything we have already covered, but also include “anticipated completion” or “degree expected,” followed by the month and year you are expecting to receive your degree. 

You also want to showcase your internship experience, relevant academic or professional affiliations, extracurricular activities, study abroad program and volunteer work. Your thesis topic may be interesting to include, as well. All these things combined paint the picture of who you are as a person and a rising professional.

Don’t have a degree? Here’s what to do 

Whether you attended some college and never completed your degree, or perhaps went straight into the workforce and don’t have any college experience to speak of, do not give up hope. It’s true that some employers may reject your candidacy if you do not meet specific educational criteria, but others will see that you can be a valuable addition to their team because of your overall experience.  

You could opt to pour the emphasis into your career background, voiding the education section of the résumé entirely. Emphasize your career achievements, articles you have had published or public speaking you have done. These things stand out in the eyes of many a hiring manager! 

If you have completed certificate courses or workshops relevant to your career path, then you should absolutely include those certifications and be proud of them! Ongoing professional development says a lot about someone. If you have won awards in your field, then be sure to speak to that, as well. 

Final thoughts

Your styling and font choices will improve readability, so be mindful about the look and feel of your résumé in its entirety, not just the education section, and proofread it several times before beginning to put it out there. Lastly, remember to always be honest, clear and thoughtful as you begin to flesh out your education on your résumé (and all the rest of it, too). 

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