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Does the education section of your professional resume make the grade?
Savvy job seekers know that it’s important to update your resume regularly. Updating the education section of your resume is no exception.
During your job-search, carefully research and analyze the required qualifications for listings. Many hiring managers require that you meet a minimum job requirement to qualify for a job. So before you apply for a job, confirm that you have the education and experience required for the role. If you don’t have a college degree, some recruiters will just toss out your resume. Emphasize your education. Advanced degrees impress employers and often relate directly to higher salaries.
Here is a precise, step-by-step set of instructions for how to write a resume and craft the perfect education section.
When it’s time to create or update your resume a lot of questions come to mind. The first question is what information do I need to share about my education?
Gathering the details of what you should include about your education is simple. Here’s the information that hiring managers will want to know about your education on your resume.
Degrees listed in chronological order
High School, College or University
Educational Institution Location: City and State
Major/Minor Field of Study
GPA if above 3.4
Honors: Cum Laude (3.900 or higher), Magna Laude(3.700-3.899), Summa Laude (3.900 or higher)
Awards or Distinctions: Honor Society, President’s Award, and others
Scholarships: Academic, Merit, Athletic or Community Service Scholarships
Many prospective employers will do a background check on job-seekers so you should avoid lying on your resume. They will verify an applicant’s education and degrees as a part of that process.
Unfortunately, some applicants will lie about earning a degree. Furthermore, some candidates will present a phony diploma to an employer. This dishonestly is why employers have to make sure you have the educational credentials you claim to have.
Here’s a list of other things you should avoid putting on your resume.
So there is always an exception to every rule. That’s why we have listed the answers to some common questions that people have regarding listing their education.
Should you spell out your degree? Yes! Rather than put B.S. or B.A. it’s better to spell out your degree.
Do you use an apostrophe in your degree? If you say Master’s Degree or Bachelor’s Degree then you use an apostrophe. If you use the word of, then you don’t. For example Master of Business Degree or Bachelor of Arts Degree.
Should you include your high school graduation information? If you are a recent high school graduate who has not earned a college degree, then create a resume that lists your high school education. However, if you have earned a college degree, then it’s recommended you omit your high school information.
Should you include the year you graduated from college? Job seekers aged 19-39 can list their college graduation dates. But after you hit 40 years old, it’s recommended to drop the date so hiring managers don’t discriminate against you unfairly.
For example, Rodney Dangerfield in the movie “Back to School” was a fun-loving and obnoxious rich middle-aged man who decided to attend school with his son. Listing this degree on his resume would more likely harm him, then help him get a job. Check here for information on how far back should a resume should go.
What if you never graduated? If you attended college for a couple of years but did not complete your degree, you can still list the dates that you attended there.
Should you list your anticipated graduation? Absolutely. If you are currently attending college and have an anticipated graduation date you can include that on your resume.
What if you didn’t make the Dean’s list all semesters? Can you still include it? While it may be tempting to show off the one-semester you reached the Dean’s list, it’s better to include that honor on your resume only if you made it all semesters you attended school.
Should you list advanced degrees that you are pursuing? Employers love to see when applicants are investing in their further education. Showing that you are pursuing a Master’s or a Doctorate can help explain a job gap too.
Should you embellish things in your education section? Don’t be like Al Bundy from Married with Children who was always hyping his high school football fame. Lying about your education or work-experience on a resume is a bad idea. Many employers will verify your college degree. If an employee checked your background and found that out to be not true, you would immediately be terminated.
The place that you include your education will vary based on where you are in your career path. Below are some tips and resume examples to help you determine the best place to locate your education section.
High School Student or Recent Graduate. If you are attending high school, college, or soon to graduate college, you’ll want to include your Education section at the top. Place it above your professional experience. Since you will be applying for an entry-level job and have very little relevant job experience to show, you want to showcase your education as the first thing recruiters see.
Hard-working high school graduate with 1-year experience in retail seeks a job in customer service. Possess strong communication skills, attention to detail, and sales experience.
College Graduates. Once you have your college degree and some experience with jobs in your industry, then you can list your education after your professional experience section.
New college graduates can mention their degree in the objective section as well.
Highly motivated Bachelor of Arts graduate with a 3.5 GPA seeking a role with a Public Relations business. Brings strong interpersonal skills and proven experience directing media campaigns.
Seasoned Job Seekers do not need to mention their education in the objective section because their professional experience is a stronger credential.
Check here for more career objectives examples.
Most of your resume cover letter should be focused on your relevant skills and work experience. But you can mention aspects of your education and how they would translate to job-related skills.
For example, if you got a Bachelor’s in Communications with a focus on Mass Communications you could mention in your resume-cover letter the transferable skills you gained during your college television production experience and how it applies to the TV production studio job that you are applying for.
To create a winning resume, you need to know how to write an effective education section and what information to include in it.
To make it easy, here is a template of what to include in the education section of your resume along with some examples below for different situations.
School or University
Degree Earned / Minor – Most-recent degree listed first
GPA if over 3.5
Western Illinois University
Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice / Minor in Psychology
Graduated Magna Cum Laude
Cumulative GPA of 3.95
Dean’s List all semesters
Master of Business Administration May 2020
GPA of 3.75
The University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign
BS in Business, Business Administration May 2016
GPA of 3.8
Chicago, Illinois Bachelor of Arts in Communications, degree anticipated December 2020
Current GPA of 3.65
University of Chicago
Bachelor of Business Administration
Burlington High School
President of Student Council
Now that you’ve updated your resume with your education section, it’s time to prove it.
Catching any typos, grammar errors, bad formatting, and other mistakes is important. You can be the best candidate in the world, but if your resume is full of typos, spelling errors, and other mistakes your resume will get tossed.
Make your resume mistake-free by running the spelling and grammar check on your word processor.
Double Check your Resume. Paste your resume into Grammarly – a free online tool for grammar, spell checking, and punctuation. It analyzes your writing and suggests improvements.
Verify all contact-information.
Delete any accidental double spacing between words and sentences.
Make sureresume marginsare consistent.
Double-check that all company names are correct.
Review all job titles.
Are all employment dates correct?
Are all college names and locations listed?
Spell out states, street, avenue. Don’t use any abbreviations.
Verify resume format for consistency of fonts including size, type, and weight.
See if paragraph spacing, line spacing, and linebreak sizes are consistent throughout the resume.
Print out and review your resume by reading through it slowly. Check that all formatting is consistent.
Ask a friend to check your resume for errors. They can offer a resume critique with a fresh set of eyes and offer suggestions.
Today’s job market is competitive. Leverage these tips and tricks and write a resume that gets you noticed and lands you a job interview. Whether you’re a new graduate looking for your first job, your education is your biggest asset. If you are a seasoned veteran looking to make your next career move, your education can help you stand out.
So follow the simple steps outlined above to create an effective resume education section that gets you one step closer to landing the job you want.
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