- What to include in the education section of a resume
- Where to list your education in a resume
- What interviewers want to see in your resume’s education section
- How to format education on a resume
- Examples at different life stages for listing education on a resume
- Education FAQs
The education section of your resume provides hiring managers with a detailed insight into your background and how it relates to the role. When written to reflect the job requirements, your education section can give you an advantage over other candidates. The best way to list your education depends on your work and academic achievements.
There are several ways to list education on your resume. Reading and understanding the job description can help identify the perfect location and level of qualification to include when applying to a position. Not all jobs need your full credentials, so you can check the job listing to see what the hiring managers are looking for. In this article, you can learn about how to list your education on a resume.
What to include in the education section of a resume
The information to include in your education section depends on your academic qualifications.
Here are popular educational, academic and professional development credentials to include in the education section of a resume:
- Secondary diploma, high school diploma, or GED
- College diploma
- Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree, PhD or Doctorate degree
- Professional degree or certification
- Trade school diploma, certificate, or apprenticeship
- Professional licenses or memberships
- Online class or course
- Name of schools and location
- Discipline (including major and minor where applicable)
- Year of graduation (optional)
- GPA (include only if you are a current or a recent graduate with a strong GPA of at least 3.5)
- Awards and honors including Latin honors, Dean’s List and others
- Relevant coursework, research and other academic activities
- Professional development courses and certification
- Licenses (if you aren’t listing them in a separate section on your resume)
- Membership of extracurricular clubs and organizations
Where to list your education in a resume
The ideal location of the education section depends on your academic achievements and experience. If you are in college or graduated one or two years ago, it’s better to highlight your education at the top of the resume. This will show the interviewer your academic achievements relevant to the role, even if you have limited work experience.
If you have enough work experience to impress the employer, consider putting the education section at the lower part of your resume.
What interviewers want to see in your resume’s education section
The information each hiring manager looks for in your resume education section depends on the job requirements. Recruiters hiring for an entry-level position might look for the course you studied in college or type of degree. An employer interviewing for a managerial role in a finance company might want to see a business school degree or industry-specific certifications.
The requirements or education section of a job description will provide the academic qualifications for the role. Read the section carefully to ensure your credentials are a good fit for the job.
Be honest with the academic qualifications you include on your resume. It is easy for interviewers to confirm the information you provide. You can leave off information that does not support your chances of getting an interview.
How to format education on a resume
While people have different education backgrounds, employers expect that education on a resume be formatted in a readable way.
Follow these steps to format education on a resume:
- First, list school or education provider’s name, type of school (if unclear) and location
- Second, list the time period that you attended or date that you graduated, making sure it is clear whether this education is completed, ongoing or unfinished
- Third, include the specialization, degree, certification or diploma, if applicable
- Fourth, list the field of study, major and/or minor, if applicable
- Lastly, list your GPA if this would be helpful and relevant to include on your resume
Education examples on a resume
Here are examples of how to list education sections on resumes for people at different points in their career:
Education for a working professional
If you are a working professional with up to 5 years of experience, place your education section below your professional experience section. In your case, the function of the education section is to show employers you meet the academic requirements for the role.
Recruiters are more interested in your recent achievements at work, not educational accomplishments. If you gained higher academic qualifications recently, place the education section at the top of your resume if it applies to the role. Rank advanced degrees from the most recent.
Example of the education section for a working professional:
Georgetown University Graduate School of Physics | Washington DC
Master of Science in Fluid Dynamics
University of Baltimore | Baltimore, Maryland
Bachelor of Science in Geophysics Studies
Education for a recent graduate
If you graduated less than five years ago, put your education section below or in line with work experience. Give your work experience a prominent position on the resume to show your readiness for the demands of a professional environment. Include your schools, attendance dates, awards and honors, and your GPA (3.5 and above), but keep it short.
Example of the education section for a recent graduate:
Michigan State University, Michigan 2012-2017
Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Economics
Statistical Analysis Certificate
Education for a college student with some work experience
If you are a college student with work experience, place your education section above work. Include the name of the institution, degree type and the expected year of graduation. You can also mention coursework, extracurricular activities, organizations and other academic achievements relevant to the role. Don’t include your GPA if it is below 3.5.
Example of the education section for a college student with work experience:
California State University, California
Bachelor of Science in Banking and Finance, September 2017
Minored in Accounting
Relevant Coursework: Accounting Systems, Actuarial Sciences, Anti Money Laundering Protocols
Extracurricular activities: Treasurer for the Association of Accounting Students
Education for a college student with no work experience
If you are a college student with no work experience, build your education section with your best academic achievements. Include relevant coursework, extracurricular activities, degree, awards and honors, expected graduation date and GPA where applicable.
You can also mention any college experience that applies to the role. Mention the experiences and skills you gained from your coursework or research and how they apply to the role.
Example of the education section for a college student with no work experience:
Bachelor of Science in Psychology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana
Relevant Coursework: Experimental Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Social Psychology
Expected Graduation: September 2019
Awards: Dean’s List, Autumn 2017
Extracurricular Activities: Assistant Editor of the Purdue Psychology Digest
The best way to make your education section stand out is to keep it honest and relevant. Mention only academic achievements that boost your chances of getting hired. Be strategic and put your credentials where they will attract the hiring manager’s attention.
Education Section FAQ
What order should I list education in?
Education is usually listed in reverse chronological order. For example, list a graduate degree first, and then your undergraduate degree.
Most people list the highest level of education first. Start with the highest level of education first, and then the second-highest, and then third highest (onwards).
Should I list all my education on my resume?
Not necessarily. Only list education if it is relevant for the job posting. For example, if you are a college graduate, you don’t need to put high school education on a resume.
What takes priority – education or work experience?
Whether education or work experience is more important is determined by the job posting and your qualifications.
Generally, experienced candidates should list their previous work experience first, if the experience is relevant for the job.
However, teens, students, recent grads, and candidates with less work experience could list education and relevant qualifications first.
When should I leave education off a resume?
Most people list the highest level of education relevant for the job, even if they are experienced candidates. But the more relevant work experience you have, the less important the education section becomes.
Always read the job description carefully to identify whether the employer requires specific education qualifications. Add that education to your resume if you have completed it.