How to put your education to work on your resume
Use what you've learned to your advantage. Learn how and where to include your education on your resume.
Whether you're a Harvard-educated MBA or recently obtained your GED, you can use your resume's education section to outshine your competition. If you are unsure about the best way to present your education, we laid out some common scenarios and strategies below.
Where to place education?
The best placement depends on what you are trying to emphasize.
- Place experience before education if you have five or more years of experience related to your goal. Hiring managers will be more interested in your job accomplishments than your education.
- Place education before experience if you are a recent graduate or have fewer than five years of work experience. If you are changing careers and have continued your education to support your new goal, education should come first. Academic and scientific professionals typically place education before experience on their CVs.
If you are a student or recent graduate, list your GPA if it is 3.0 or higher. Consider including a lower GPA if you are in a very challenging program. Add your major GPA if it's higher than your overall GPA. If your school doesn't use the standard 4.0 scale, avoid confusion by listing the scale (e.g. GPA: 4.1/4.5). As your career progresses, college GPA becomes less important and can be removed.
Include academic honors to show you excelled in your program. For example:
Ace College—Springfield, Illinois
BA in Accounting (cum laude), June 2003—Delta Gamma Delta Honor Society, Dean's List, GPA: 3.9
Students and new grads with little related work experience may use the education section as the centerpiece of their resumes, showcasing academic achievements, extracurricular activities, special projects and related courses. For example:
ABC College—Brooklyn, New York
BA in Communications, concentration in advertising, anticipated graduation May 2012
Senior Project: Currently completing mock advertising campaign for Coca-Cola (billboard/print/TV/radio ads, direct-mail campaign and press releases).
Related Coursework: Advertising, Advertising Writing, Direct Mail and Telemarketing, Media Plans in Advertising, Marketing and Advertising, Public Relations, Broadcasting
If you abandoned an educational program, list the number of credits completed or the type of study undertaken. For example:
College of Staten Island—Staten Island, New York
Completed 90 credits toward a BA in political science, 1997 to 2000
Experienced job seekers
If you are focusing more on experience than education, list the basic facts regarding your degree, including institution name, location, degree, major and date. For example:
New Jersey College—Newark, New Jersey
BS in Economics, Minor in Psychology, June 1992
High school information
Include your high school or GED information if you don't have any college credits. If you have college credits, remove references to high school.
Educational credentials lacking?
Some job seekers are concerned that their educations don't measure up to HR requirements. If you don't have a degree but have been participating in ongoing training, list your related courses, seminars, conferences and training in the Education section (create a list called "Professional Development"). Your training might be so impressive that the employer will overlook your lack of a formal degree. For example:
Professional development highlights:
- Product Launch in a Global Marketplace
- Ecommerce Solutions
- Selling the Dotcom Vision
- Increasing Sales Through Relationship Selling
- Professional Management Program
Get smart about your resume
Still not sure your resume gets a passing grade? Get a free resume evaluation today from the experts at Monster's Resume Writing Service. You'll get detailed feedback in two business days, including a review of your resume's appearance and content, and a prediction of a recruiter's first impression. Think of it as part of your continuing education.