If you’re writing your resume, you may be wondering: What is the best way to list educational experience on my resume?
The education section on a resume is one of the most important parts of the document. The information you provide will give an employer a clear insight into your academic experience, and helps them better evaluate whether you have the right background to work effectively in a given position.
In this guide, we’re going to discuss the information you should include in the education section of your resume, and walk through a few examples to show how you could display your educational experience.
What to Include in Your Educational History
There is no specific format you need to follow in the education section of your resume, but there are a few essential facts that you should mention.
First, the education section of your resume should include a list of all the degrees you have attained, as well as the schools you have attended.
Each of these listings should be accompanied with information about your major, minor, or core competencies that you have studied. For instance, if you studied English and minored in Team Communications, you would want to mention this in your resume.
You may also opt to share your GPA, if it is sufficiently high, as well as the year of your graduation, if such information is applicable.
The education section of a resume is typically short, and serves only to inform a recruiter of your educational background.
Where to Write the Educational History Section
The position that you choose to place your educational history section on a resume is up to you. However, if you have recently graduated — or are still enrolled in school — you will likely want to place your educational background near the top of your resume. This is because you may have limited professional experience, and school will be your main accomplishment.
However, if you have more experience in the job market, you may want to mention your job experience first, followed by your educational experience.
How to List Your Education on a Resume
Now that we’ve discussed what you should include and where you should discuss your educational background, we’re ready to answer the question: how should I go about listing my education on a resume?
Here are a few examples to help you see how you should list your education on a resume.
Recent School Leaver
If you have just left high school, your education experience will likely come up at the top of your resume. This is because your schooling will comprise most — if not all — of your experience. In the education section, you should list all the subjects you studied and your grades (if you are comfortable sharing this information).
You may also want to list any clubs that you participated in, or any awards you were granted. Here is an example:
Lincoln Memorial High School
Math, History, Physics, Chemistry, Biology
Student Body Vice President, Senior Year
If you are still a student, you should mention your current educational experience to-date, and make it clear that you are still studying. You can do so either by stating a future graduation date, or by writing “Present” instead of your graduation date.
The basic information you should include in your education section is:
- Name of school
- Degree type
- Enrollment start date (and optionally expected graduation date)
- GPA (optional)
In addition, you may want to mention any academic achievements you have accrued in school, especially if you have no professional experience. Here’s an example of an education listing for a current student:
Master’s of Business Administration
Campus Investing Club, Vice President
University of Washington | Seattle, Washington
Master’s of Neuroscience
Neuroscience Research Lab Associate
If you have spent some time in the workforce, you may want to list your education further down your resume, to ensure your professional experience is prominent on your resume.
When you first graduate — or are still studying — your schooling will be used by an employer to evaluate you in place of professional experience. Hence, you may opt to mention your campus clubs and other achievements. But, after you start gaining work experience, employers will want to read more about your time employed.
Here are two examples of a resume education listing for an experienced worker:
Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth | Hanover, New Hampshire
Master’s of Business Administration
University of Notre Dame | Notre Dame, Indiana
Bachelor’s of Economics
If you have participated in an education program that you have not completed, you can still mention it on your resume. For instance, if you are in the process of taking an online course, you may want to mention it on your resume. Or, if you started college and are deferring the rest of your enrollment, you may want to discuss the credits you have already earned.
Here are a few examples of resume listings for incomplete schooling:
University of Arizona | Tucson, Arizona
Completed 33 credits
Bakersfield College | Bakersfield, California
Completed Coursework: Industrial Drawing 101
Tips on Listing Your Education
There are a few things you should keep in mind when writing the education section for your resume. These are:
Consider Using Subsections
If you are going to be listing awards and certifications in your resume, you may want to create subheadings such as “Awards” or “Professional Development” to help separate them out from your core educational experience.
Confirming whether or not you attended a school — or participated in a course — is easy to do, and employers are very likely to check this information. Be honest in your resume.
Leave Out Your GPA if You Want
If you are not comfortable with your GPA for a given course, feel free to leave it out. Instead, you could mention an award you received while enrolled in a course, or you could just ignore your GPA altogether. Many employers will not even notice this information has not been included, and if they want to know about your GPA they can always ask you directly.
Like all sections in a resume, it’s up to you what structure you use. You can place your educational history at the top, in the middle, or at the bottom of your resume. You can choose what information to include, and what information to omit.
If you are a recent school leaver or a current student, you’ll likely want to list education at the top of your resume; if you have professional experience, you may want to move it further down your resume.
The education section is an opportunity for you to show how your past experience in school has prepared you for a position. Make sure that the information you include is up-to-date, and relevant to the position for which you are applying.
By using the example structures we explored in this article, and by following our top tips, you’ll have no trouble listing your education on a resume.