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Home » Education » Resume Writing Advice – Educational Background
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Resume Writing Advice – Educational Background

Educational Background

The Education section of your resume consists of your academic credentials and all applicable education — formal schooling, on-the-job training, and continuing education. Depending on your personal situation, this may include your high school, college, post-graduate degrees and ongoing coursework. Additionally, unless listed in a separate section of your resume, you will want to include any additional training programs (formal or informal), workshops, seminars, certificate programs, and other professional development.

Though your education will always be of interest to a prospective employer, the importance and positioning of your Education section depends on the relevance of your degree to your job target, the details of your academic background, and the amount of professional experience you’ve gained since leaving school. If you are a recent graduate without much work experience, have a particularly impressive academic background or are targeting a position that requires a particular degree or certification, place the Education section toward the beginning of your resume. In most other cases, you will want to place your Education section toward the end of your resume.

Describing Your Educational Background

The general rule is to list degrees in reverse chronological order, listing your highest degree first. Once you have received a college or university degree, you no longer need to list your high school degree.

  • If you have a high school degree and a degree from a vocational school, list both schools on your resume.
  • If you are still in college, list your anticipated degree and expected graduation date.

Insider Tip: If you have taken several courses toward a higher degree but did not finish college, list the degree program you participated in, the degree you were striving for and range of dates you attended.



Northwestern University, (Coursework toward) MBA, Marketing – 2003

Recent Graduate with Little or No Experience

As a recent graduate, your academic credentials will probably will be your strongest asset and should appear toward the beginning of your resume. This is an opportunity to focus the reader on your academic credentials and continued commitment to your education. It is important to find the skills, abilities and knowledge you gained while in school and describe them in a ways that meet the requirements of your job target. List the following information:

  • Your major and minor area of study
  • Classes relevant to the job you are seeking
  • Relevant school projects and your role within the project
  • Extra-curricular activities and your role
  • Scholarships, awards, or honors you received

Recent Graduate with Experience

If you are a recent graduate with experience in your intended field, your Education section may become secondary, as relevant work experience is generally more important than your education. If there are classes, projects, extra-curricular activities or other educational experiences that are an important part of your qualifications, you should list them. If not, just list your school, degree, major, and year of graduation.

Exceptions to this rule include careers in education, healthcare, law, finance, and business, where your education and credentials are relevant and important qualifications. For these career types, continue to list the appropriate education and/or credentials you’ve received, any honors or awards, and any extra-curricular activities you participated in relevant to your job target. Prioritize this information at the top of your resume.

Insider Tip:  If you have additional training from workshops or seminars, consider adding this ongoing education below your degree in a section heading titled Education and Training:



·         MBA, Finance and Accounting, Haas School of Business, 1985

·         BS, Accounting, University of California, Santa Barbara, 1982

·         Courses in Total Quality Management, Steven Covey Leadership

·         Workshops and Seminars on Negotiation, Stedman Graham

Listing Dates

Though employers generally prefer to see dates of graduation on your resume, listing dates with your education is not a requirement. Decide, based on your own situation, whether including dates is to your advantage.

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