How To Include Relevant Coursework On A Student Resume

By Chris Kolmar - Jan. 6, 2021
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If you are a student who is looking for and applying to jobs, you may not have enough work experience to fill up your resume. Suppose you look online at resume templates or examples. In that case, most of the document lists work experience with the skills, accomplishments, and insights the individual has gleaned during their employment time.

As a student, you will have gathered a variety of skills, accomplishments, and insights during your time in school through clubs, activities, but most importantly, your coursework. Depending on your major and the classes you take, you will be actively gaining knowledge as your education continues.

As a student, including relevant coursework on your resume for an application to a job or an internship, can increase your chances of getting the job. Employers will know you are a student likely by the job you are applying for. Listing your relevant coursework keeps you honest about your experience and where you are in your career journey.

Adding relevant coursework to your resume for a job you’re applying for gives the potential employer a decent understanding of the skills you’re developing and if you’d make a good fit for the position they’re advertising. However, including your coursework on your resume should be a delicate balance and displayed properly for optimal effect. Below, we discuss how to include coursework on your resume as a student.

When to Include Relevant Coursework on Your Resume

Relevant coursework refers to the list of subjects and classes you have taken or are currently taken at a school that is related to the job you’re applying for. So, when should you include this type of information on a resume? The following situations are appropriate instances to include relevant coursework on your resume:

  • You are a recent graduate or will be graduating soon: When you’re getting ready to enter the workforce or are preparing a resume for graduate school, including relevant coursework is a must.

    You have likely spent the last few years studying, attending class, and completing projects and assignments. Through these tasks, you’ll have acquired various new skills and talents that should be showcased on your resume.

  • You lack professional experience: If you’re writing a resume without work experience or related work experience, putting in related coursework will help your credibility and opportunity to snag the job.

    By adding relevant coursework, you’ll show your potential employer that you have important knowledge related to the position, even if you don’t have the workforce experience.

  • You want to change careers, and your coursework is relevant: A career change is a big move for any professional, and depending on where you’re moving, you may have minimal experience or skills from your work experience to highlight. In this case, it’s relevant to mention your coursework.

Additionally, suppose you have gathered relevant skills or abilities during your time in other activities, such as volunteer work or extracurriculars. In that case, you can include them under your skills section to lengthen your resume and highlight more reasons that you think you’d be a fit for the position.

On a resume, you can list your relevant coursework beneath the education heading. Remember, highlight only the information that is relevant to the position you’re applying for. In some cases, especially when you highlight relevant skills or abilities, your information might make sense in a different place on your resume.

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It’s important to remember that all resumes will look different based on your experience level and what kind of job you’re applying for. Be sure to tailor your resume in a way that’s right for you and your future career goals.

When to Exclude Relevant Coursework on Your Resume

If you’re uncertain about when to include or exclude coursework on your resume, there are a few things you might want to keep in mind. The following instances may be applicable when considering leaving your coursework off your resume:

  • Your resume is already a page long. Suppose you have enough work experience, skills, and education to fill up an entire page of your resume. In that case, there is no need to go out of your way to include additional coursework unless it’s specifically related to the job or you received a special certification that would be important for the employer to know.

  • The coursework is outdated. If it’s been some time since you have been in school and the coursework is outdated, it might be best to leave the specifics off your resume.

    For example, some marketing courses can become quickly outdated with how quickly the digital landscape shifts. If the coursework is too outdated to be relevant to the position, adding it to your resume may do more harm than good.

  • Your coursework is not relevant to the position. Of course, if the coursework isn’t immediately relevant to the job you’re applying for, it’s better to leave it off. If it comes up as an opportunity during your interview, feel free to bring it up there.

Ways to Include Your Coursework on a Resume

Depending on the amount of coursework you have, you’ll have a few different ways to include this coursework on your resume. This can include a column format or a detailed format.

Depending on the amount of information already on your resume and how relevant the details of your coursework are for the position, you’ll need to alter how you list this information. Unless you have a very bare resume, it’s a good idea to consider the single-column format or the multi-column format.

Below are the different ways to include relevant coursework on your resume:

  • Single-column format: The single-column format displays your relevant coursework in a list form with bullet points. Here, you’ll list the relevant class title you’re looking to highlight and no additional information.

  • Multi-column format: If you have multiple skills you’re looking to highlight that fit into different categories, you can consider the multi-column format. Each column should have a different header (such as; Marketing or English) with the relevant courses listed beneath.

  • Detailed format: The detailed format is more in-depth than just using the title of the course. It provides more specifics on the skills you may have learned in each specific course. This format will look more like the format you’re used to seeing under the work experience section of a resume.

    In this format, you’ll give the course, school, dates, and a few bullet points beneath that help to highlight the learnings you’ve gleaned from your time in this course. If you decide to use this kind of format, take extra care to only include skills that are relevant to the job at hand.

    An excellent trick to use is to look over the job search announcement for any keywords that can help your resume stand out.

As you work through what coursework to include and how to format it appropriately, you’ll also need to decide on the appropriate place to put it. If it’s a supplement to the rest of your resume, you can consider adding it at the end.

However, if it’s the most impressive part of your resume, you can consider placing it more towards the top so that the employer sees it at first glance. In certain circumstances, it’s appropriate for your relevant coursework to replace the work experience section.

Example of Coursework Focused Resume

So how exactly should this look on your resume? As mentioned above, it will differ depending on the individual, the amount of existing information on your resume, and the relevant coursework you’re able to share. Below are a few examples of ways to include your relevant coursework on your resume.

Single-column format:

Master of Science in Learning Technologies
Pennsylvania State University
Completion: 2014

Related Classwork:

  • Cloud Computing in the Digital Age

  • Integrating Social Media in Online Learning Environments

  • Learning Technologies Foundations and Applications

Multi-column format:

Bachelor’s in Information Technology
Saint Joseph’s University
Completion: 2015

Related Coursework:
Information Technology

  • Application Development: Developed coding skills for web development.

  • Networking and Telecommunications: Studied transmission media, packet switching and routing, and cybersecurity.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

  • Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning: Researched the relationship between AI and machine learning, its impact on business processes, and sales and marketing teams.

  • Artificial Intelligence Implications for Business Strategy: Gained knowledge to support AI integrations into existing organizations to make strategic business decisions.

Detailed Format:

Bachelor’s in Marketing
Rowan University
Completion: 2017

Related Coursework:

  • Business to Business Marketing

    • Understand B2B marketing tactics, including digital campaigning, paid advertising, public relations, and content creation.

    • Understand the relationships and nuances between businesses and how receptiveness to marketing is altered in comparison to B2C.

  • Public Relations

    • Develop relationships with editors, create pitch emails and articles, and how to best process a press release over the wire.

    • Develop and execute a public relations campaign from editorial relationships, press releases, by-line articles, and event promotion.

  • Principles of Marketing

    • Understood the fundamentals of marketing, including data analysis, copywriting, buyer personas, and more.

    • Develop and execute a full marketing plan.

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Chris Kolmar


Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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