Talking about the Education Section of Your Resume

When you’re fresh out of school, the “education” section of your resume often sits right at the top, proudly proclaiming your most recent accomplishment – whether it’s an advanced degree from a prestigious school or a hard-earned GED.

After a few years in the work world, the “education” section might take a backseat to your experience and accomplishments, but it still belongs on your resume. Here’s how to make it shine, no matter what it contains:

When You’ve Finished the Degree

If you’ve earned one or more degrees:

  • List the most advanced degree first, even if this means you don’t list them in reverse chronological order.
  • Skip the dates if you’ve been out of school for more than three years.
  • Consider listing less-advanced degrees or ongoing coursework first if you are switching career fields. For instance, if your degree is in geology but you’re launching a marketing career, consider listing your marketing coursework first.

While You’re Working on the Degree

Many people work on college coursework while also seeking a job in their career field. Here’s how to make your “education” section reflect your hard work in both fields:

  • List the degree you’re working towards, but mention you are a “degree candidate,” and give an anticipated date of completion. Especially if you’re nearing the end of your coursework, this will demonstrate how far you have come.
  • Don’t list every college you’ve ever attended. Many people attend one or two colleges before finding the program that’s right for them. You don’t have to list the schools from which you’ve transferred, if you’re at the one from which you plan to graduate.
  • Do mention your coursework. Have you taken specific classes that apply to the job you’re seeking? Mention them.

When You’ve Graduated from the School of Hard Knocks

Perhaps the toughest task of all is filling out the “education” section when you have no degrees or current coursework to list. Here’s how to tackle the problem:

  • Don’t lie or be silly. “Graduated from the School of Life” may sound clever, but it can leave hiring managers feeling annoyed. Likewise, indicating you went to college or completed a degree when you didn’t may cost you the job even after you’ve landed it.
  • List continuing education and professional coursework. If you’ve taken classes that are relevant to the job, list them, even if they were continuing education courses, classes from a university extension or night school, or even community education classes. These experiences demonstrate that you’re interested in seeking knowledge on your own, even when it doesn’t fit into a “traditional” schooling format.

At THE RIGHT STAFF, LLC, our experienced recruiters can help you craft a resume that will catch the attention of hiring managers throughout the Twin Cities region. Contact us today to learn more about our job opportunities in Minneapolis and beyond.

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