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How to List Education on a Resume: Section Examples & Tips

How to List Education on a Resume: Section Examples & Tips

For most people, putting education on a resume is as easy as Tic Tac Toe.

 

Name of University, Degree, Graduation Year - Done.

 

But for others, figuring out how to put your education on a resume is harder than it looks.

 

For example, what should go first in a resume, education or experience? And how do you list education on a resume if you’re still in college?

 

This article will tell you how to put your education on a resume in every case:

 

  • How to list high school education on a resume, even if you never graduated.
  • How to list education on a resume if you’re still in college, never graduated from college, or did graduate from college.
  • How to write education on a resume as a professional.

 

Also, you will finally figure out where an education section goes on a resume and what to put in it. We’ve covered all the bases.

 

Want to save time and have your resume ready in 5 minutes? Try our resume builder. It’s fast and easy to use. Plus, you’ll get ready-made content to add with one click. See 20+ resume templates and create your resume here.

 

sample resume templates

Sample resume made with our builder—See more templates and create your resume here.

 

1

How to List Education on a Resume

 

  1. Start with your most recent degree or education in progress.
  2. List the name of your school and its location.
  3. Provide dates attended and graduation date (or expected graduation date).
  4. Show off the degree you earned or are working on.
  5. Share your field of study.
  6. Mention your GPA (if it's above 3.5).
  7. Add any relevant courseworkacademic honors, or making dean's list.
  8. Follow up with extracurricular activities, study abroad programs, and accolades.

 

For the most part, the education section of your resume is the easiest to write.

 

Here's a few tips:

 

 

Pro Tip: Putting a GPA on a resume is optional. You should only add it if you graduated within the last three years and if it was above a 3.0. Otherwise, lose it. Most hiring managers won’t care what your GPA was.

Hereis an example:

 

Education

 

2009 MA in English Literature

Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

3.7 GPA

 

2007 BA in English Literature

University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA

4.0 GPA

 

Pretty simple, right?

 

Here are four extra tips to make it even easier:

 

  • You can either spell out your degree “Master of Arts” or just use initials “MA.
  • You can either use periods to separate initials “M.A.” - or not “MA.
  • You can write out the name of your major “MA in Psychology” or simply separate your degree from your major with a comma “MA, Psychology.”
  • You can order the information in various ways.

 

For example, the candidate above graduate from Harvard.

 

As a literature major, she may feel like her degree isn’t directly related to the job for which she’s applying. That can happen when you’re an English major.

 

In that case, she may want to lead with the fact that she attended Harvard:

 

Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

MA in English Literature

Graduated in 2009 with a 3.7 GPA

 

Just make sure that the way you format the entries in your education section remains consistent.

 

For most of you, putting your education on your resume is that straightforward. If you want to add extra information, you can.

 

The above information is useful for anyone who has some professional experience.

 

If you’re a recent graduate or haven’t finished a degree, read on - we’ve got you covered. Read on...

 

Our resume builder lets you choose from modern or basic resume templates. See more templates here.

 

education on a resume template

See more templates and create your resume here.

 

2

Where Should Education Go on a Resume?

You can put your education above your work history if you're a student or recent graduate and have little experience. If you have more than a year of work experience, your education should come after your employment history. Your most recent degree goes first. If you have a GPA of 3.5 or more, mention it. Don't foget about relevant course work, honors, and making dean's list.

 

In most cases, resumes open with the experience section as it's more relevant and important to recruiters. But there's nothing wrong with breaking this rule if your education is much more impressive than your experience.

If you are a seasoned professional, put your professional work history section before your education.

 

Hiring managers will find your work experience much more relevant at this point in your career.

 

 

Pro Tip: If you want to save time and find out how to write a great resume for your profession, take a look at our guides and samples of resumes here.

 

3

How to Add Your High School Education to a Resume

We have a whole guide on this here: Should You Put High School Education on a Resume (Diploma or Not?)

 

If your highest level of education is high school, make an entry like this:

 

Cherryville High School, Cherryville, OH

Graduated in 2005

 

That’s all you have to do. No, I’m not joking.

 

When considering what else you should include on a student resume, stick to things that show off your skills and achievements.

 

That can range from honors, awards, and extracurricular activities, to any work you had during high school.

 

You’ll want to tailor your resume to the job description. So, pick activities that will illustrate the keyword skills listed there.

 

You might also want to include a coursework description, adding classes that are relevant to the work you will do in your new job.

 

But what if you didn’t graduate high school?

 

Here is an example of what to put:

 

Cherryville High School, Cherryville, OH

Attended school from 2003 - 2005

 

Just write the name of your school and the years you attended.

 

If you are still in high school write it like this:

 

Cherryville High School, Cherryville, OH

Expected to graduate in 2009

 

If you didn’t graduate high school but completed a GED later write it like this:

 

GED High School Equivalency Diploma

Cherryville Adult Learning Center, Ohio, 2009

 

Cherryville High School, Cherryville, OH

Attended school from 2003-2005

 

Let’s say you graduated high school and then received a license or certificate you want to put on your resume as it’s directly related to the job for which you are applying.

 

Put your license or certificate first followed by your high school information.

 

Cosmetology License - 2009

Cherryville Beauty Academy, Cherryville, OH

 

Cherryville High School, Cherryville, OH

Graduated in 2005

 

 

4

Yes, You Can Put Unfinished Higher Education on Your Resume

 

Let’s say you went to college and then realized $30,000 worth of student debt per year wasn’t for you.

 

That doesn’t mean you can’t use what you did finish.

 

You can still put unfinished college education on your resume. All you have to do is write in the credits you did manage to get.

 

List your high school education after like this:

 

Ohio State University, Columbus, OH

2005 -2007 Completed 60 credits toward BA in Psychology

 

Cherryville High School, Cherryville, OH

Graduated in 2005

 

If you paid for it, it’s yours. If the coursework is relevant, you can put it on your resume.

 

Which brings us to higher education that is still in progress. In the middle of obtaining a degree?

 

Easy.

 

Put it on your resume like this:

 

BA in English Literature in Progress

Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, NY

 

Here is a handy list of phrases you can use to describe degrees that are still in progress:

 

  • In progress
  • Anticipated + date
  • Expected + date
  • Expected Graduation + date
  • To be completed + date

 

For more, see: How to List Expected Graduation Date on a Resume

 

5

Here’s How to Put Your Higher Education on Your Resume

 

As mentioned above, you’ll put your highest degree first if you’ve graduated from university.

 

But what else would you want to include in an education section?

 

Let’s say you’ve got little to no work experience.

 

It’s not a bad idea to include some extra points in that case.

 

As mentioned above, you’ll put your highest degree first if you’ve graduated from university.

 

But what else would you want to include in an education section?

 

Let’s say you’ve got little to no work experience.

 

It’s not a bad idea to include some extra points in that case.

 

 

If you’ve graduated from an honors program, graduated with the highest honors (magna cum laude or summa cum laude), or were the valedictorian or salutatorian of your class, put Latin honors on your resume next to your degree in your education section.

 

Example:

 

Honors BS in Biology, Valedictorian, Magna Cum Laude

Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

Graduated in 2012

 

Other honors and awards could include:

 

  • Any academic award or scholarship.
  • Academic honors besides being in an honors program including making the Dean’s List or acceptance into honors societies (campus, national, or international).

 

Note, you can make a separate Honors and Awards section if you feel that you have too many awards to list or want to draw special attention to them.

 

The same goes for academic publications for Ph.D. students.

 

You can either list your publications under your degree or add a separate section if there are several you’d like to mention on your non-academic resume.

 

Do keep in mind that the length of a student resume should be short and not exceed one page.

 

If you’re struggling to fill up space, adding sections (e.g., Hobbies and Interests) can be great. But don’t add so many that you’re resume spills over onto a second page.

 

Another nice thing to add to a student resume is a coursework description. Make sure that you choose courses that are relevant to the job for which you are applying.

 

If you have little to no work experience, a coursework description can show that you have the knowledge and skills required for the job through your education.

 

Also, if you have a degree in a different field, you can show that you took courses relevant to your professional field as well. For example, you’re applying for a job in marketing, but have a degree in psychology.

 

Did you take any business or communication classes? Those would be good to put in your coursework description.

 

Example:

 

Bachelor of Arts in Psychology

The University of California, Berkeley, CA

Relevant Coursework: Business Communication, Social Psychology, English Language Studies, Grammar and Editing

 

If you feel like going into more detail here, that’s also okay. You could explain an overarching course of study that gave you a particular skill set that you want employers to notice.

 

You can also list extracurricular roles if you’ve graduated within the last three years and need to flesh out your resume.

 

Just avoid adding anything controversial (political or religious).

 

Here is a list of skills employers like to see on student resumes:

 

 

If you participated in any activity that would highlight these skills (or took part in a study abroad program) you can add it to your education section.

 

Example:

 

Bachelor of Arts in Psychology

The University of California, Berkeley, CA

Relevant Coursework: Business Communication, Social Psychology, English Language Studies, Grammar and Editing

Extracurricular Activities: Captain of the Lacrosse Team

 

Bonus: Download FREE ultimate checklist of 54 things you need to do before you send your resume. “Resume 101 Checklist.”

 

Want to include a different kind of education on your resume? This guide will help you out: How to List Continuing Education on a Resume

 

Key Takeaway

 

The thing to remember is that there are no hard and fast rules about how to add education to your resume:

  • You can put your education section before or after your experience section.
  • You can add as much or as little information as you need.
  • For students, your education section can do the heavy lifting until you’ve gained enough professional experience.
  • Even if you didn’t finish a degree, the courses you did finish are yours to put on your resume.

 

In the end, you should think of your education section as an opportunity to position yourself just ahead of the rest.

 

Do you have any other questions about how to put your educational background on a resume? Let me know in the comments.

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Natalie Severt
Natalie is a writer at Zety. She loves writing about resumes and eating tacos more than life itself. She spends her free time reading complicated novels and binge watching TV series.
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