Use what you’ve learned to your advantage. Learn how and where to include your education on your resume.
Your resume education section seems like it should be the easiest thing to write—just list your school, program of study, degree, and date, and you’re done. However, it’s not so straightforward for many job seekers. Unsure about the best way to present your education? On resume templates, you’ll find a few ways to best display your credentials. We laid out some common scenarios, examples, and strategies below to help you determine the best way to look smart.
Where to place your resume education section
The best placement depends on what employers would value more: your experience or education. There’s no set rule for where to put it, but here are a few guidelines.
Place experience before education if:
- You have several years of experience related to your goal. Hiring managers will likely be more interested in your work-related accomplishments than your education.
Place experience after education if:
- You’re an upcoming or recent graduate or have a couple of years of work history.
- You’re changing careers and continued your education to support your new goal.
- You’re in an academic or scientific profession—education is usually listed near the top of CVs.
Experienced job seekers
If you’re focusing more on experience than education, list the basic facts regarding your degree, including institution name, location, degree, and major. Date is optional if it’s been a few years since you earned your degree. For example:
Tufts University—Medford, MA | Bachelor of Science, Major in Economics
For specialized fields and certification programs, list information about the program that might interest employers, such as accreditation, intensity level, and number of program hours completed. For example:
Technical Institute of America—New York, NY
Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) Accredited Training
Completed 40-hour bootcamp | Passed CISSP exam on first try
Students and new grads
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 courses. For example:
University of Alabama—Tuscaloosa, AL
B.A. in Advertising, 12/2019
- Team Project: Completed mock advertising campaign for Coca-Cola (print media, display ads, social media, podcasts, and direct mail).
- Course Highlights: Strategic Thinking, Mechanics of Media Writing, Principles of Design, Media Management, Advertising Campaigns, Channel Planning
- Activities: UA AdTeam (member), Circle K Club (helped raise $9,500 for hunger relief), Center for Service and Leadership (active volunteer)
If you’re a student or recent graduate, list your GPA if it’s 3.0 or higher. Consider including a lower GPA if you’re in a challenging program. 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, GPA becomes less important and can be removed.
If you’re a student or recent graduate and your GPA is on the low side, calculate your major GPA and include it if it’s higher than your overall GPA. If it’s still pretty low, omit it—avoid including information that could hurt your chances of securing an interview.
Honors and honor societies
Include academic honors to show you excelled in your program. For example:
Baruch College—New York, NY
B.B.A. in Accounting, magna cum laude, GPA: 3.85, June 2020
Beta Alpha Psi, Dean’s List (all semesters)
If you started and abandoned a program but you still want to include it, list the number of credits completed or the type of study undertaken. For example:
Michigan State University, College of Music
Completed 3/4 of requirements toward a Bachelor of Music in Music Education
If you’re still in school, it’s helpful for the hiring manager to see your expected degree date or progress. For example:
MBA candidate, degree expected 6/2022
B.S. in Computer Science program, completed 106/120 credits
If you have more than one degree, lead with the most recent and go back in time. For example:
Hofstra University—Hempstead, NY
M.A. in Journalism, 12/2019
Adelphi University—Garden City, NY
B.A. in Communications, Journalism and Public Relations Concentrations, 6/2017
Nassau Community College—Garden City, NY
A.A.S., Business-Marketing, 6/2015
You may also omit older degrees that aren’t as important as new ones.
High school information
Include your high school or GED information if you don’t have any college credits. If you have college credits, you can remove references to high school.
No degree, strong training
If your field values a degree that you don’t have, training may come to the rescue. List your related courses, seminars, conferences, and other training in the education section. For example:
- Dale Carnegie Leadership Training for Managers
- SkillPath Managers and Supervisors Conference
- Product Launch in a Global Marketplace
- Successful Relationship Selling
- Professional Management Program
If you don’t have any education, training, certifications, or licenses, that’s okay—the education section isn’t relevant to you and you can skip it. Use the other resume sections to highlight your value proposition.
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.