Updated: Aug 18
Education is probably the first thing employers look for when scanning your resume, and listing it properly decides whether your resume gets short-listed or ends up in a trash can.
Why is the education section important?
You might be wondering, what is so tricky about listing your education in the resume? You have to list all the schools, colleges, and universities you attended, and you are good to go. But in reality, listing your education in a proper sequence is necessary to set you apart from the rest of the candidates.
Let me ask you a tricky question? How would you list your education if you are still at school and have some job experience? Where would you write your GPA? Or should you even mention it if it is not above 3.00?
Confusing, right?. Read this blog to understand how to list your education, and all your confusion will go away.
How should the education section of the resume be structured?
The first question that comes to mind is where precisely to position your education in the resume. Should it come first at the top, or should it be listed after experience and skills acquired?
You should keep in mind that the top third portion of the resume is reserved for all your accomplishments, whether your education, skills, or experience.
If your job requirements are most relevant to your education, then mention them above your skills; otherwise, if your experience and skills are what employers are looking for, mention them at the top.
Basic information and structure of the education section of the resume:
Your most recent degree ( or degree still in progress)
Name of the school/college/university
Location of school/college/university
Dates and years you attended the school/college /university( or date of your graduation if it is still in progress)
Your study field and majors
Mention your GPA only if it is above 3.0
Any academic honors received during your degree
Extracurricular activities that are relevant to your degree
Here is a sample of education section looks like:
EDUCATION UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS, AUSTIN, TX Bachelor of Engineering Major in Computer Science, Minors in Physics and Mathematics Austin, TX Expected June 2022 GPA: 3.73/4.0 Honors Computer Science and Business Turing Scholar Program Exchange Student Program, Ontario, Canada
You can also structure the education section if you are hold both bachelor and masters degrees something like below:
MA in English Literature Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 2019-2021 3.8/4.0 GPA
BA in English Literature University of New York, New York, NY 2017-2019 3.9/4.0 GPA
For High school and college students, the education section could look something like this:
Expected Diploma 2022 Clemens High School, Waters, VA (GPA: 3.9) National Honor Society, Vice president Section leader, Marching band
For Incomplete education, the education section could look something like this
University of Texas, Austin Completed Coursework: Calculus, Basics of Accounting, Finance 101 & 102, Microeconomics. 2019
Certificate of General Education Development Certification in Grant writing, Alaska Online 2016
Johnson High School, San Antonio, TX Professional Development course on Advanced Photography, History of photography, Online 2014
MIT Sloan School of Management, Cambridge, MA Completed 32 Credit hours, 16 credits in Administration 2011 -2013
If you have attended community college, your education section could look something like this:
AA in Social Sciences Lone Star Community College, Houston, TX 2015 - 2016 Assisted in identifying community needs and then initiating projects to address those needs
Some Important Tips:
Do not include any membership to a sports club that doesn’t relate to your professional education.
If you graduated from a reputed university, you can mention the name of the University first and then say the name of the degree. E.g., Harvard Business School, Masters in business administration 2008-2010.
If you have a community college degree, skip adding a high school degree to your education section.
If your experience is the most desired section in the job description, then mention the experience first. If the recruiters are looking for highly qualified individuals, say your education first.
If your education is not related to the job, you can only mention those courses that are related to the job description during your education. Moreover, you can list relevant training related to the job in your education section.
Let's look at the big picture here. Although your education alone does not guarantee the job or even a chance of sitting in an interview, you still need to structure your resume well and place your education, preferably in the top section to display yourself as a professional and skilled person. Don't portray yourself as just a student who skips the critical details and aims at getting passed.