When a hiring manager receives an application, one of the things they’re going to look for is education on the resume. It’s one of a few important sections that always gets a quick glance. A manager can easily see your background and determine how it fits into your ability to handle a specific job role.
If you have relevant coursework or skills from the degree, that can make you stand out among other applicants. However, you have to make sure that you craft the education section in a professional and expected way. This can be confusing if you haven’t created a resume in a while. That’s why we’ve created this guide to help you out.
For instance, you might wonder what information to include for a degree. Or you might question whether this section should be before or after your work experience. Maybe you’re still in school and not sure whether you should list that – or how to do so. No matter what questions you have, we’ll give you the answers you need.
As you keep reading, we’ll share how to list high school education, what to do if you haven’t gone to college (or are still attending), the best way to create a professional education section, and where to place all this information. First, we want to get started by explaining the reason you should never skip the education section on a resume.
Why is the education section of a resume important?
You may already know the importance of using keywords from a job description or including relevant work experience with quantified achievements. The education section is just as crucial. The best way to prove you have the appropriate education for a role is by sharing your diplomas and degrees.
In addition, the resume education section shows the direction you are moving in. After all, hiring managers are interested in people who are happy to improve and learn.
There’s no better way to prove that you're capable and ready to both improve and learn by showcasing it in the education section on your resume.
Depending on your situation, the education section might offer even more information than that. Sometimes, it will list relevant coursework, honors, and extracurricular activities. All of these things can be useful to get you into an interview for a position you really want.
Where should education go on a resume?
When it comes to school education and associated relevant skills, you will want to be strategic about where you place it. Most people will find that the best spot for education is directly below the section about work experience. However, that isn’t the case for everyone.
Have you just graduated? Are you creating an academic resume? Are you a professional going back to school? If your answer is yes, there’s a better spot to share your education on a resume. In this situation, place it directly underneath the resume objective. This gives it a presence before the work experience section.
If you are a professional who has been in a specific industry for many years, use the first location choice for your education. However, if you have little (or no) experience, you’ll want to move it higher and let the manager focus on that before looking into other facets of your resume.
What to – and what not to – include in your resume education section?
When you are listing education on a resume, you should be sure you include all the most crucial information. There are certain things that are expected, as well as information that you should definitely avoid adding to the resume. For instance, a job seeker with little experience might want to include relevant coursework.
Below is a list of things you either should include or can include if you want to add more flavor to the section. We’ll let you know which is which to make things easier.
- Type of degree (mandatory)
- Degree major (mandatory)
- Name of school (mandatory)
- City and state of school (mandatory)
- Graduation date (only if within the last decade)
- Your minor, especially if relevant to the position
- Relevant courses you took in school
- Awards and honors, such as magna cum laude or cum laude, and dean’s list
- School organizations, but only if relevant to the position
Now that you know what you should have and what you can add, you’re off to a good start. Including that information can set you apart from other candidates.
However, the items that aren’t mandatory should generally be skipped for those with a year or more of experience. There are also a few things that should not be added to the education section of a resume.
Stay away from the following -
- Results (especially if they're average or low)
- Graduation date (only if it’s been at least a decade since the date)
- High school information (but only if you have acquired a university degree)
Do you have certifications or other things that you want to list? In most cases, you can add them to the education section. Another option is to create an area on the resume solely for certifications, awards, or both. A separate section can also be added for things like academic associations and societies if you desire.
How to list education on a resume: 5 pro tips to stand out
You might be wondering how to write about education in a resume. The following section will answer all your questions. We’ll make sure you know exactly how to write education in a resume so it looks great and appeals to a manager. This is the best method to move further into the hiring process.
When you consider how to write education on a resume, remember that everything should be concise and formatted well. (This applies to all sections of the resume). However, we also have a few tips you can use to make sure you get the job done right.
Tip #1: How to include your high school information
If you only have a high school diploma, include your high school education. There are plenty of jobs that are open to people with a high school degree or a college degree, so you should make it clear where you stand. In most cases, this part of the resume will be short and easy to read.
All you need to do is list the basics about your high school diploma. If you’ve recently received a high school diploma, you can go beyond. Things like athletics, honor awards, and leadership positions may be added.
Tip #2: Adding an associate’s or bachelor’s degree
For bachelor’s or associate’s degrees, you want to be sure you include the location and name of the school. You also should add in the date you graduated (or when you expect to do so.)
In most cases, you still want to keep the education section short. However, there are certain things you can add if you have the space. Consider the inclusion of dean’s lists, honor societies, and other academic achievements that make you stand out.
You don’t want to go overboard with information about extracurricular activities or coursework. Instead, focus your effort on providing the things that are the most relevant to the job that you are interested in.
Tip #3: Incorporating master’s or doctoral degrees
Most people will want to include information about their doctoral degree, but there are some cases where it may be better to leave it off. If you are trying to get a job where this might be considered excessive education, you can choose to omit it. Not doing so might make you seem overqualified.
Adding doctoral or graduate information is most common when you are looking at high-level positions. This might include moving into management or going into academic fields.
If you are going for a scientific or academic role, you’ll want to spend more time on the education section of the resume. This will take the form of a CV and a longer education section. It’s important to include details about your higher degrees for these types of positions.
Tip #4: Adding certifications to the resume
Sometimes, a candidate may not have gone to college but attended a trade school. This may result in having important certifications that should be included on a resume. As long as they are relevant to a position, make sure to add them to the resume.
In the case of graduates with certifications, you may still want to add your certifications. As long as they apply to the position, you should keep them. For more general certifications, like first aid or CPR, they can be added to a certifications section for those going into any position.
Tip #5: Learning how to add incomplete education
It’s a good idea to add incomplete education, but you need to be aware of the way you frame it. Using words like “unfinished” or “incomplete” is not recommended. Instead, consider adding in credits or courses you took before you left school. Do not add information about why you stopped going or haven’t finished yet.
Be mindful of the way you word this education. Instead of using the words we mentioned earlier, set the date as “not yet complete” or add “expected graduated” before you list the year you’ll have the degree finished.
You may wish to list this education, regardless of why it exists. Maybe you’re still working on a degree, or have done part of a degree but not completed it. Others may have studied for one career path but moved into another one.
3 Successful resume education section examples
Now that you know how to lay out your education on a resume, we want to share something else that will help you. Our education on resume samples are designed to show the different methods to share what you’ve learned and where you’ve been a student up to now. Below you can see our first resume education example.
The first of our education resume examples is for someone who is seeking a career in food service. This person has a very short and simple education section that is composed of a single degree. It gives all the necessary information without any clutter.
What makes this a good example
It’s easy to see the field of study of the applicant, as well as what university was attended. Everything is simple and straightforward. No extras are included since they aren’t relevant to the position. However, the basics are all covered and easy to understand.
Another example of how to list a degree on a resume is included in this criminology resume. If you’re curious about how to list a bachelor’s degree on a resume, this is a good example to follow. It even has detailed information about relevant classes.
What makes this a good example
This example has the level of education easily readable for a recruiter. In addition, the extra info underneath adds value to the resume. Several courses are listed related to the job, which shows the knowledge the candidate brings into the position with them if they are hired.
This final example of how to put education on a resume is for a person looking for a position as a physical therapist. This is a great example of how to write a degree on a resume if you have a terminal degree, such as a doctorate. As you see, both the bachelor’s and doctorate are included.
What makes this a good example
This is another example of how simple the education section on a resume can be. Despite the lack of space and limited information, all the crucial facets are there for a hiring manager to look over. Since this is a professional job that requires a higher degree, it’s ideal that the candidate lists it, which you can see they chose to do.
What is the right format for education on a resume?
When it comes to formatting education on a resume, there are several options. Some are quite simple, while others use an education format in a resume that is a bit more complex. The right format for you will depend on everything from the graduation date on a resume to the resume template you choose to use.
First, make a section and title it “education,” or something similar. Add in the university name and what degree you receive. Add the graduation date unless it has been more than a decade since then. If you would like, you can also add in honors and awards or key coursework you want a hiring manager to see.
You can use the mandatory and potential sections of the education area of the degree above to get an idea of which information to include (and which to avoid). As with work experience, a reverse-chronological order is the best choice. So post your most recent degree and work backward from the point.
Other certifications and qualifications can also be added to the education section. However, make sure each of them fits. Licenses, certificates, continuing education, and technical qualifications are all fine as long as they are relevant. There’s no reason to add things that don’t create value in your resume.
When it comes to internships, those should be situated under work experience. These will be listed the same as any other jobs you have to include. Put the employer's name, dates of the internship, role, and a few of your accomplishments in bullet points underneath.
Now that you have all the information you need about the education section of a resume, you can start creating your own. There are a few things to remember as you go through the process. The first is to keep this section short. Each entry only needed to be a couple of lines in most cases.
Highlight anything impressive that you want the employer to know, such as graduating with honors. You can also include incomplete degrees if they apply to the position you desire. All degrees should be added to your education, not just the most recent ones.
Even if you have little to say in this section, it’s best to include it. Hiring managers expect it, even if it just lists your high school diploma. To create a quick resume with an excellent education section, consider using our resume builder. Good luck!
How to write a resume if you don’t have an education?
If you lack experience, that doesn’t mean you can’t create a strong resume. Instead of focusing on what you haven’t done, show the employer what you’re great at. Let your professional experience fill in the gaps along with achievements, skills, and other information worth knowing.
How to list incomplete education on a resume?
It’s not challenging to add incomplete education to a resume, and you should make certain you include it. All you need to do is list the degree you’re pursuing, what school it’s from, where the school is located, and when you expect to graduate.
What do employers look for in an education section of a resume?
Rather than focusing on extracurricular activities, most employers want to confirm that you have the appropriate degree to do well in a job role. Sometimes your GPA or honor status can make a difference, but this doesn’t apply to every position. Most job ads will list the required level of education to apply.
Should you list your final results on a resume as a student?
For someone who is focusing a resume on academic honors and academic achievements, listing your results can be a great idea. It shows how much effort you’ve put into your degree. However, make sure that you are truthful if you choose to include it in the resume.
Is it illegal to lie on a resume about education?
Lying about your educational background is resume fraud, and, therefore, illegal. Going any further by making fake documents may cause you to run into legal issues. It’s better to be honest and simply present yourself in the best way you can.
Do you put high school education on your resume?
It depends. If you have a college degree, there’s no need to include information about your high school education. However, those who haven’t acquired a degree beyond high school should go ahead and list their high school diploma. It all comes down to your specific situation and level of education.
Is it OK to not include education on a resume?
It’s generally considered best to keep the education section as hiring managers expect to see it. However, you can leave off some education if it’s not relevant to the position. Those who have studied at a prestigious university will likely want to indicate that since it can set you apart.
Is an internship part of the education section on a resume?
In most cases, you’ll want to insert information about an internship under your work experience. However, some people may choose to place it under education. Whether you have an associate or doctoral degree, the education section is important to have, even if internships aren’t included there.
How to write an in-progress degree on a resume?
An in-progress degree can be added to a resume in much the same way as a degree for a college graduate. The only difference is that you should include when you expect to receive your degree. Otherwise, simply list the degree, where you’re getting it, and the location of the school you attend.
How do you list a double major on a resume?
There are several ways to include a double major on your resume for a dream job. The first is to include both majors in the main section of the degree. The other is to include one degree there and place the other as additional information below. Put the focus on the degree that pertains to the job you want.