Listing education on a resume is necessary to showcase your capacity for learning to potential employers. A desire to learn is valuable in all professions, regardless of whether your university degree directly applies to the position.
Let me show you how best to showcase education on your resume in a way that impresses hiring managers.
What Should You Include In Your Resume Education Section?
Providing details of the institution attended is essential for employers to contact and verify your course if they choose to.
You should lay out details like so:
- Institution + location: For example, The University of Sydney. NSW.
- Years attended: 2004-2010. Finish with your graduation year.
- Name of degree attained: High School Diploma, Bachelor’s Degree, Graduate Diploma, Associate’s Degree, Master’s Degree, Doctorate.
- Majors/minors: The subjects you chose to study.
- Overall score: This is specific to each country and location, for example, weighted average mark (WAM).
Be sure to include your awards and honours from your degree. We recommend placing this in an achievement section towards the top of your resume.
Finally, unless you’re a recent graduate, do not list your high school education.
Should You List Every Degree Or Diploma You Received?
This depends on your level of seniority:
- If you’re 18 and applying for your first job, list all of your education, ever.
- If you’re a Sales Director with 20 years of experience under your belt, no one wants to know about the Certificate IV in Bartending you did after High School.
For example, this is what Elon Musk’s education would look like on his resume (if the Twitter deal tanks, he might need one):
However, as you gain more experience, you can omit chosen degrees and diplomas and focus on the ones directly relevant to the applied job. A master’s degree, for example, would feature higher on a page.
Employers want to know that you have a Growth Mindset – meaning you’re willing to look at the areas of your role you can improve. Expanding your skill set is a lifelong commitment.
Does Listing Education On Your Resume Help You Get Hired?
Whilst progressive companies are willing to overlook education and formal training, the majority of employers still look to validate your competency through education.
(Related: How To Write Your First Resume).
When it comes to creative roles, many leaders state the following:
- Life experience matters most.
- Traditional education may not always be the best use of money.
- The market constantly changes – education is outdated.
- You can self-teach online.
While I agree with these sentiments, having both an education and experience is great.
The reality is that education remains one of the top deciding factors during job search.
For areas that you’re passionate about (for example, psychology) but do not have the funds or time to complete a full degree, we encourage you to take short courses on Coursera. These look great on your resume.
Where On Your Resume Should You List Education?
There are no exact rules for resume design. However, most recruiters and hiring managers appreciate a familiar layout that presents information in its order of importance:
- Personal details and a short introduction at the top.
- Your personal profile next.
- Job experience to follow.
- Finally, add education and academic achievements in reverse chronological order.
Your specific industry will impact how greatly you need to emphasise education. If you plan on applying for a teaching job, your education should be front and centre, with your practical placements highlighted.
For assistance with building the perfect resume, try Resume.io.
Should You Include Short Courses?
Absolutely. Education only sometimes means long-term university degrees or schooling. If you have been adding to your skill set, consider including the following:
- Business administration courses.
- Creative workshops like photography, videography and audio editing.
- Any doula, meditation or spiritual courses.
- Fitness courses such as personal training, Pilates, boxing, yoga, or teacher training.
- Any relevant work history.
Any example of your work ethic and desire to improve yourself is worth adding to a ‘Courses’ section of your resume near formal education.
(Related: How To Show Hard Skills On Your Resume).
What Do Hiring Managers Want To See On Your Resume?
They want to develop an understanding of your character, passions, relevant skills – and, most importantly, your commitment to learning.
For impact, keep in mind the following:
- Concise: Your resume does not need an explanation for every role and course you have undertaken. Simply list the main details. You can call out relevant talking points in your cover letter.
- List: Stick to bullet points (or a list format) to ensure the resume is easy to read and navigate.
- Hierarchy: Place the most valuable information at the top of the page (for example, a skills summary or an achievement call-out).
How Should You List Incomplete Education?
If you still need to complete your university degree or schooling, you might hesitate to include it on your resume. Remember, the subjects you completed (or credits) will be valuable to your application.
An extended period where an applicant isn’t working or hasn’t completed school is a red flag for most employers. You should explain any ‘time-holes’ where possible.
When listing incomplete education:
- If you are still a university student: List your expected graduation date. Applying for jobs in the final semester of university is common, and many employers accept undergraduates to entry-level positions before they graduate. However, these positions are usually contingent on completing your degree.
- If you graduated: Provide details of your degree and what you have been doing since (for instance, if you took time out to raise a family or took a gap year). If you did not complete your course, list relevant subjects you completed as part of your degree.
Avoid explaining why you didn’t complete your degree in your resume. Simply be prepared for a hiring manager to ask you this in an interview, and have talking points ready to discuss.
Final Thoughts On Showcasing Education On Your Resume.
Learning how to write a resume is crucial to your success in the professional world, especially if you’re a recent graduate.
We have many resume guides that you can find below:
Writing a high-quality resume allows you to present your experience in a way that entices employers to hire you.
Make sure your education and achievements stand out from the crowd, and include other life experiences demonstrating your character and desire to grow.