Education can be one of the trickiest sections of your resume to get right. We live in a day and age where you don’t need a college degree to land a job. And while this is wonderful, it can be tricky to list your education on your resume.
How long you’ve been in the industry will govern the layout of your resume.
If you’re a recent high school or college graduate, you may want to list your education at the top of your resume, as you probably don’t have any relevant work experience.
If you have internships or relevant projects which were completed during your degree, you can list these as well, and you may choose to prioritize those above your education, depending upon the relevancy.
If you have a few years in the industry like me, you might choose to move the education section underneath relevant work experience.
If you’ve graduated from college, you should list your college name, year of graduation, and degree. You can also include your major and minor.
Tip: if you choose to include your GPA (grade point average) you should only include this if you’ve achieved above 3.0.
As a recent graduate, you can also include any honors or awards you may have received.
If you have a second college degree, list them in reverse chronological order, so that the most recent degree is listed at the top.
If you have a college degree unrelated to the field you’re applying for, it might still be listed. However, you should prioritize relevant work experience over education.
The goal is to put the most relevant information towards the top of your resume.
If you attended college but never completed the program, you should only include this information if it’s relevant to the role you’re applying for.
If you have never finished your college degree, but the coursework is relevant to the role that you’re applying for, you have a couple of options.
- First, you can list the college name and location with no other details.
(If you believe that adding the months and years you attended the program or your GPA are relevant, you may choose to include those as well.)
- Second, you can mention some of the coursework you’ve taken which would help you succeed in this role.
For example, if you attended three out of four years of a computer science degree, you can list the college name, dates attended, city, state, and the number of credits completed. You can even list the specific course names, such as C++ Programming.
If you didn’t attend college but instead attended a coding boot camp, you should include the boot camp name, program name, month and year attended, as well as city and state.
It’s also a great idea to include links to the projects you’ve built during the boot camp program to showcase the skills you’ve learned.
If you have never attended college or any educational program, you can omit the education section, and instead focus on your accomplishments in the workplace which would directly relate to this role.
Your goal should be to convince a recruiter that your work performance is outstanding and you will add value to the company.
If you have never attended college and have no work experience, you may want to take online courses in the industry to which you’re applying. This will allow you to list some achievements on your resume.
LinkedIn Learning offers many affordable online courses, and, once completed, you can add a badge of completion to your LinkedIn profile. This will significantly strengthen your position within an applicant pool.
Finally, everything you listed in the education section must be consistent.
For example, when I applied for a blockchain company, I decided to list my Master’s thesis in the education section. Because it was about cryptography. Otherwise, my resume had nothing to match the position’s requirements.
Since I listed the thesis for my Master's degree in the education section, I had to list the theses for my Bachelor’s and Ph.D. as well.
Understanding the best format and layout to showcase your education will improve your chances of getting an interview. No matter what background you come from, or whether you have formal or informal educational training, you should always include any relevant education on your resume.
Thanks for reading. I hope it is helpful. Check out my latest resume to see how I filled in my Education section.