Key Resume Sections: “Education”

Depending on your target industry and career level, the “Education” section of a resume can be one of the most important sections in the entire resume. This section shows employers that you have the necessary training, or the academic pedigree, to do your job successfully.

In certain professions – security, real estate, and sales, for example – employers are less concerned that your education correlates with the job responsibilities. In other professions – medicine, high finance, and engineering, for example – it’s very important that your education correlate with the job responsibilities. Either way, you should focus this resume section on the skills you gained that are most relevant and desirable.

The 3 Dimensions of Education Section of Effective Resume Writing:

Content in the Education Section

  • Students and entry-level employees should focus on course learnings, outcomes, and successes. They should tailor the education section to their target industry and job description. This shows the resume reader that although you don’t have as much practical experience, your educational pursuits are highly relevant
  • Describe your role in consulting projects, presentations, or reports where you showed particular interest or expertise in the target industry
  • Avoid listing course names and numbers
  • Avoid listing a GPA below 3.0
  • Avoid mentioning high school diplomas unless you’re writing a college application resume or it is your highest degree obtained
  • Mention scholarships, special recognitions, study abroad experience, and other unique experiences
  • Experienced professionals should not describe course learnings or curriculum. In most cases, mentioning only the institution and degree obtained is sufficient
  • Academic professions often combine this resume section with their other professional experiences
  • Consider omitting irrelevant training or degrees if doing so does not mislead the reader

Sequence of the Education Section

  • Students and entry-level employees include this section in the top third of the resume
  • Experienced professionals include this section at the bottom of the resume
  • If your academic background is the strongest part of your resume, consider listing it toward the top of the resume
  • Order the contents within this section by relevancy, graduation date, or highest level

Design of the Education Section

  • Consider using bold text to make the institution, degree, or program name stand out
  • Consider italicizing the degree and program name if it fits the resume’s overall design
  • Use commas to separate multiple degrees from the same institution

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