Educational qualifications have a special place in anyone’s resume. This is because employers always try to recruit only applicants with the educational background required for the job. So listing higher and relevant educational qualifications in your resume will give you better results in your job hunt than you might think.
So in this article, we hope to teach you how to properly list resume education qualifications.
Table of contents:
- Why is an education section on your resume so important?
- Where to put your education on a resume?
- What employers look for in a resume education section?
- Tips to make your resume education section stand out
- Resume education template (text version)
- Example resume education sections
Why is an education section on your resume so important?
The education section on your resume becomes an essential factor in your job application for several reasons. Experience and skills indeed have a big place today. It doesn’t matter if you are good at the creative field or if you are applying for a job based on skills.
However, if you are applying for a traditional job, having a relevant educational qualification is essential. Recruiters are expecting you to have relevant educational qualifications. They value it.
Let’s see why education will always be an essential section for your resume.
01 – It increases your relevancy to the job
Usually, a job advertisement clearly describes the minimum educational qualifications required for the job. So if you are not able to include those minimum qualifications in your resume, you may even fail the ATS scan.
However, your prospective employer knows that having such a relevant degree or diploma will give you the basic knowledge needed to succeed in the job, even if you have no relevant work experience.
02 – It provides a proof of your knowledge
The recruiter decides if you have an understanding of a relevant subject by looking at the educational details mentioned in your resume. So if you have any kind of educational qualification in a subject that is relevant to the job, the recruiter thinks you are an expert in that subject. So that is going to be a definite advantage for you.
03 – Employers expect to see your qualifications
If you want to get hired, you must answer the needs of your future employer. So if you do not have a section in your resume to describe your educational background, the recruiter may think a bit negatively about your abilities and background. Therefore, every recruiter expects educational qualifications from the applicants.
04 – Why not? You can stand out
Many applications can be submitted for a single opening. But it is important to remember that you should not be discouraged. Because no matter how many people apply for a job, less than half of them haven’t met at least the basic requirements.
Further, did you know that some applicants do not have the required minimum educational qualifications but apply for jobs? In such a background, if you are well educated, you will stand out for sure in the application pile, if you insert education on your resume effectively.
Where to put your education on a resume?
Depending on the resume format you are using and the level of experience you have, you can apply the resume education section before or after the resume work experience section.
If you feel that your educational qualifications are stronger than your experience, you’re good to go with the education details first.
Are you a student or a recent college graduate? Then still your greatest strengths are your educational qualifications. So never hesitate to insert your education section just below your resume summary (near the top of your resume or a place where recruiters can easily find it).
Are you an experienced professional? Then you might owe with a bunch of experience to insert. If so, pay more attention to your experiences rather than highlighting your educational qualifications and add them before the education on your resume.
What employers look for in a resume education section?
An employer can collect a lot of information through an education section of a resume. For example, we can list the following.
- With the GPA value provided and other grade-related information, employers will assume how talented you are.
- Whether applicants have the necessary skills and knowledge.
- Which institution did the candidate go to? (If you went to an institution with good recognition, they will pay more attention to you).
- The applicant’s interests according to the skills included.
So, how to write your resume education section?
Insert your most recent / highest degree: Always mention your highest and most recent degree or the educational qualification first as one of the best practices. Then list the other qualifications in descending order. This is called the reverse-chronological representation of educational qualifications.
Specify the degree and the field of study: When you specify the degree title you can use the complete title, e.g. “Bachelor of Science”, or use the acronyms “B.Sc.” Also, don’t forget to mention your minors and major inside your resume education section.
University, college, or institution: Add the name and the location of your college, university, or institution where you went to school. If you have attended a well-recognized organization, it will make you more impressive than the other candidates. So take the maximum advantage of your school.
Add the GPA: Grade point average is not an essential detail to be on your resume. But remember to insert only if the GPA is higher than 3.0 or if you have graduated within the last three years. Otherwise, simply avoid including GPA as it is a less concerning detail.
Dates attended / graduation date (or expected graduation date): When you list your educational qualifications, add the year you started your studies and the year you became a graduate. But if you are an older person and think that age will make you discriminate against, you can avoid entering dates. This is one of the great resume tips you can use when you need to hide your age from the employer.
Academic awards, scholarships, and dean’s list: If you have too many awards to list, you can create a separate section called Awards and Honors. If not, list your academic awards and scholarships within the education section. Also, if you have been on the dean’s list on any occasion, be sure to mention it in your education on your resume.
Tips to make your resume education section stand out
Insert subsections to your education
If you have a lot of educational content to include in your resume, split it into smaller subsections. You can enter your degree and school as key information, and then break it down into other sections such as “Awards and Honors”, “Certifications”, etc. Also, if you have held positions in various societies in the school and have achievements, simply describe them with bullet points.
Leave out the high school information after a while
Over time, the professional experience you gain becomes more valuable in the industry. Then you should highlight your relevant experience rather than the information about your high school. So in those cases, you can leave out information about your high school. But keep in mind that you must have a higher education qualification if you need to remove the details of your high school education. If your highest qualification is high school, avoid removing it.
Didn’t earn the degree yet? Insert the expected graduation date
If you have not yet graduated, you may be wondering whether to mention that degree in your resume or not. We recommend that you need to show information about your current degree in the resume education section even when you have not completed it. Indicate the date on which you hope to graduate instead of the graduation date. If you look at the example below you can better understand how to do it.
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
University of Maryland, College Park, MD
Expected graduation date 2021
Keep ATS in mind
It is a well-known fact that many companies nowadays use applicant tracking systems to filter resumes. So if you want to pass that scan you must make your resume in an ATS-friendly way. If you check the job advertisement carefully, you can find many keywords related to educational qualifications. Use them in your resume as much as possible.
Also, an applicant tracking system is a robot. They can often be confusing if the names in the degree are presented in short form. So avoid using acronyms as much as possible and show your degree name in full. This is not a rule. But keep it as a best practice.
Include relevant certificates
Just assume you don’t have enough educational qualifications. But you don’t need to be worried. Get yourself qualified by getting relevant certifications and include them in your resume education section. Today, there are many industry-recognized high-quality certification courses relevant to any job field. You can also follow those courses and get certified. Then you too can become a recognized figure in the industry.
Resume education template (text version)
You can use this template to set up the resume education section in your document. You have complete freedom to modify the information in this text template to suit your situation.
Name of the College/University
Awards and honors
If you have any academic achievements in your academic career include them here.
Include here if you have got any relevant professional or educational certifications.
If you have any relevant experience in professional development such as seminars and courses, list them here. If you hold a position in an organization or if you are a member in a relevant organization mention them as well.
Example resume education sections
How to write a resume education section if you’re a recent graduate?
If you are a recently graduated college student your greatest strength is still your educational qualifications. Therefore, it is very important to include the education section before your work experience section. Be sure to include the details of attendance dates as well as honors if you have received and your GPA if it is greater than 3.0.
Bachelor of Science in Information Technology
University of Maryland, College Park, MD (2017 Jan – 2021 Jan)
Major: Computer programming
Coursework: Software development, Web design and development, Network systems administration, Data analytics, and Cyber security
How to write education on your resume if you’re an experienced professional?
If you have more than 5 years of experience in a relevant job field, take the education section of your resume below the work experience. Because in such cases you should highlight your work experience. Even your recruiters prefer to look at career achievements you have made over the past few years rather than looking at your academic qualifications. Similarly, if your work experience spans many years, limit the inclusion of excessive information in your education section such as GPA, studied period, etc.
Master of Science in Digital Marketing
University of Maryland, College Park, MD
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
University of Maryland, College Park, MD
How to list in-progress resume education?
Even if you are still working on your degree, you can still add your degree details to your resume. Recruiters are fond of knowing what you are learning right now. Also, do not forget to indicate the year in which you wish to complete your degree. Include your academic achievements and extracurricular activities as well if there are any.
If you are currently studying for a degree, the following resume education templates will be useful for your reference.
Poolesville High | Poolesville, MD
Expected Diploma, 2022 (GPA: 3.56)
Athletic Society, Vice President
Head prefect and Athlete
Towson University | Towson, MD
B.S. in Computer Science | Degree expected in 2021
Prominent Coursework: Systems programming, Software engineering, Compiler design and Mobile application development
Latin honors: Summa Cum Laude
How to list incomplete education on your resume?
If for some reason you had to drop out of school, please submit your completed coursework details in your resume education section. However, you can list the relevant certificates and professional development achievements without any hassle if there are any. Here are a few examples for you to get inspired.
Bowie State University | Bowie, MD
Completed coursework: Cybersecurity for all, computing tools and environment, intro to python programming, client operating systems, internet programming, server administration, and application of data structures.
So now you know how to create a resume education section properly. But there are many more things you need to learn to make a successful and job-winning resume. We invite you to read our complete resume writing guide to find out more. Good luck with your job search.