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Including relevant coursework on a resume

Make your resume standout further by including details of coursework relevant to the job.

Including relevant coursework on a resume

Relevant coursework can brighten your resume.

You want your resume to be the most compelling advertisement for your skills and experience, of that there is no doubt. However, when you're gathering your credentials to apply to jobs, people are often divided on the subject of relevant coursework. Resume experts believe three things:

  • some say it has no place whatsoever
  • some are in favor
  • others believe it depends on the job position you're pursuing 

There's a designated spot on your resume for your education history, but some prospective employers might be interested to know the details of your studies—and others might not. Ask yourself the following questions to help you determine when and how to use your course experience to your best advantage.

What kind of job are you applying for?

If you're applying for a summer job bussing tables at a restaurant, your coursework is obviously irrelevant. On the other hand, if you're applying to intern at a magazine, the hiring manager may want to know about your creative writing courses, short fiction prize, and time spent working on the school paper.

What's your work experience like?

We live in a strange world where many employers request entry-level candidates to have a few years of work experience under their belts. It's a frustrating, convoluted predicament for graduates and anyone else who's new or just coming back to the workforce. When you don't have a lot of work experience, you need something to fall back on. Coursework is one of the more effective substitutes. Including it on your resume shows you have knowledge and skills even if you don't have any real-world job experience. Just remember not to go overboard. You don't need to list every class, lecture, lab, and practicum you've ever taken.

Where does relevant coursework on a resume go?

Opinions vary regarding where to put your relevant coursework on a resume. Again, it generally depends on the job. For example, if you're applying to an academic position, put your coursework in a place of pride toward the top of your resume. If it's a technical position, place your coursework credits below your special skills. Otherwise, you could list it in the education section like this:

Bachelor of Arts, English, University of LMNO

Relevant Coursework: Literature, Creative Writing, and Literary Explication

How can you tell your resume looks good?

Use your best judgment, and always consider the position before including your relevant coursework. Resume best practices emphasize the "relevant" part of that statement, so remember to avoid mentioning unrelated courses or listing all of your academic accomplishments. Could you use some help? 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. It's a quick and easy way to get your resume in shape for an awesome job search. 

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