How to Best Display Your Education on Your Resume
Your education could make or break your chances of getting a job. Employers review this section of your resume to understand your background and see if you’d be a good fit for them. Often, they require certain types of degrees or levels of education to even consider someone for a position. This means that qualified applicants may be turned down simply because they lack the preferred educational credentials.
Ideally, you have the educational background the company is looking for, but even if you don’t, it can still be worth it to apply provided that you possess the right skills. Assuming you have the education the employer wants, how do you best present your academic achievements?
Not only can your college education be relevant to a specific job and possibly give you a leg up in the race, but it also speaks to your character—it attests to the fact that you set your mind to doing something challenging and accomplished it.
We’ll guide you through what to include in the education section of your resume and how to highlight other aspects of your schooling. If you need professional help crafting your resume, take a look at how we can assist you.
What to highlight in the education section
The education section of your resume is often the shortest, but it should still pack a punch, especially if the company you’re looking to join highly values education. To make it concise yet powerful, include the following:
- The university or college you attended
- The location of your school
- Your degree
- Your major and any minors, if applicable
- Academic recognition, honors, or other achievements
- Your GPA (if you're a recent graduate, and only if it's 3.0 or higher)
Where to place the education section
The location of your education section depends on how long you've been in the workforce. If you have just graduated from college, place it at the top of your resume since you don't have any professional experience yet. This will make your academic qualifications stand out.
If you’ve been working for some years, your employment history is more important to a hiring manager. In this case, place the education section under your work experience. Basically, you want to present your best qualifications first, which will hopefully pique the hiring manager’s interest and make them view the weaker aspects of your resume more favorably.
Other educational information
There may be other aspects of your education that are worthy of a mention on your resume, such as a graduate degree. Here’s how to include them elsewhere on your resume.
How to list graduate degrees
If you have a JD, an MA, or another advanced degree that's important in your industry, list the acronyms right after your name at the top of your resume. This ensures that a recruiter will easily see that you have a graduate degree and will immediately know what you bring to the table. You can still expand on your degrees or other credentials in the education section to make sure the recruiter knows everything you want them to know.
If you haven't graduated yet
Even if you haven’t completed your studies yet, you should still include that information on your resume, as well as the projected date of your college graduation. List where you went to school, the degree you're pursuing, and any academic achievements. Make sure to highlight any courses or honors relevant to the position you're seeking. Also, make sure to list your GPA (if it’s good, of course). This shows the hiring manager that you’re serious about your studies.
Should you include your graduation date?
There's no need to specify on your resume when you graduated from college unless it happened recently. If that was 10 or more years ago, your graduation date could lead to age discrimination, so simply skip it. Once you’ve built a good employment history, the education section won’t matter as much anyway.
The bottom line is that education is an important part of your resume. It helps employers determine if you're a good fit for the job and whether your specific degree or academic accomplishments give you an edge over the competition. It’s not the most important part of your resume—your skills and experience generally matter more—but you should still flaunt your educational attainments. If you need help polishing this or any other section of your resume, reach out to our resume specialists!