Writing a resume isn't an easy feat — you have to somehow fit all of your education and experiences on preferably one page in a readable size and style of font within reasonable margins. On top of that, you need to make it descriptive and engaging and, often, even tailor your resume to specific jobs or certain industries.
Barring all of the moving around, condensing and rewording, your education section alone can be a taxing one to write. The education section of your resume should be the shortest section of them all — which makes it both easier and harder to write. On one hand, you don't have to get so specific or share a ton of bullet points explaining everything you studied and what you learned and why but, on the other hand, you do have to fit all of your degrees and certifications in a few short lines.
Here's everything you should know to take the pain out of writing about your education on your resume.
Should I Include My Education on My Resume?
Should you include your education on your resume? The short answer: Yes; you should include your education on your resume.
"If your education is your greatest asset, your education section should be prominently featured on your resume — you can even lead with it," according to Job Scan. "For medical jobs, or other specialties such as law or science, a certain education level can be an absolute requirement. Don’t leave your education off your resume if you have the educational background that is required for the position, obviously."
And sometimes no
The more nuanced answer: It depends on the relevancy. If you have a degree in fashion design but you're applying for a job in accounting, your degree might leave you in a pigeonhole and, therefore, it might be best to leave off your resume (unless you can explain how the skills you acquired in school are applicable).
Nonetheless, having earned a degree suggests a certain level of commitment and drive, which is always appealing to hiring managers.
But just how much of your education needs to actually make it onto your resume?
Only your most recent and relevant education should go on your resume — that means your degrees and any specific schooling you've done in your field. If you're wondering, 'do I need to put my high school on my resume?' The typical answer is no, unless high school is the most schooling that you've had.
If you're wondering, 'Should I put the year I graduated on my resume?'
The answer is no, it's not a requirement, and can actually age you out of a job. Unfortunately, whether conscious or not, age bias exists. When you include the year, you're giving someone the option to do backwards math to guestimate your age. That said, you should include job dates on your resume, so it's not as if a hiring manager won't have at least some idea of your age based on job history length.
Examples of Education Sections on Resumes:
Here are three examples of education sections on resumes.
1. Education With Extra Training
2. Unfinished Education With Specifics
3. Education With Relevant Coursework
How Do I Write My Education on a Resume?
"You can probably put more than just the name of your school, the year you graduated and the degree you earned," according to Top Resume. "There are a number of other details you might opt to include, but only if they are useful to you or apply to your situation. One of the most basic additions would be your concentration, if you had one. Some majors don't offer concentrations, while others do. Even if your school only let you formally choose one, if you earned multiple concentrations in terms of coursework, you can put down several."
Another extra bit you can add to your education section is any certificates you may have.
"Once again, this only applies if you actually have any; some people never get professional certifications," Top Resume points out. "Others get them in lieu of a degree by attending vocational school. Still, other people have a degree under their belt as well as professional certifications. These are usually applicable to people who are experts in technology or in very specialized disciplines."
The education section on your resume should always contain three main elements:
- Your School(s) (and location)
- Your Degree(s)
- (Optional) The Year You Graduated/Earned Your Degree
Ithaca College, New York
Bachelor of Science — Communication
Education & Credentials
Graduate Coursework in Spanish, Princeton University
Bachelor of Arts in Spanish with Minor in Sociology, Dartmouth College (Dean’s List)
Teaching Credentials: Spanish & Students with Disabilities, K-12, Virginia Board of Education
Education and Certifications
Web Development Intensive, General Assembly, New York, NY - 2018
Loyola Marymount, Los Angeles, CA - Bachelor of Science, 2017
If you're wondering when should you put your GPA on a resume, you shouldn't typically include it unless you've just recently graduated and don't have much experience to show.
"If you earned your degree twenty years ago, it's expected that you've done plenty in the meantime to demonstrate your relevance in the workplace and that your GPA is pretty much a defunct measure of your abilities. If you earned your degree recently, however, including your GPA can be a great move, but only if it is 3.0 or higher. You also can put down your major specific GPA if that was higher than you overall GPA (you'll have to calculate it yourself). A lot of employers don't actually care about your GPA, though there are some who will only consider you if you exceeded a certain level."
Other details you can add:
Other aspects of your educational career that you can add to your education section include any honors societies or Greek organizations, for example, that you may have been a part of. Likewise, if you completed an important and relevant project that seriously demonstrates your skills and abilities, you can mention that project and the role you played in it. Again, these are only to be included if you just recently graduated and do not have much experience to include on the rest of your resume.
What about education you're still working on? How do you include education you haven’t completed? You can write the name of your school and the degree toward which you're working, as well as you're anticipated graduation date.
Now that you know what to include in your education section, where does it go? Do you start with your education section or do you end with it — and how exactly do you format it all?
"If you have more than five years of work experience, don’t lead with the education section of your resume," according to Live Career. "Hiring managers will be more interested in your work history and your accomplishments in your career than in your degree."
Here are some tips for writing your education section on your resume.
- Always list your most recent and highest degree first. For example, if you have a master’s and a bachelor’s degree, you'll want to first list the master’s degree, followed by the bachelor’s degree.
- If you have additional certifications, you can add a sub-section called Certifications. This might include that you're a certified public accountant, for example.
- Make sure your education section is only a few lines long; it typically doesn't need to take up more than about three lines.
Don’t miss out on articles like these. Sign up!
AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog, HerReport.org, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report, Twitter @herreportand Facebook.