Put Your Education to WorkPut Your Education to Work
by Kim Isaacs, Monster Resume Expert

Whether you’re a Harvard-educated MBA or recently obtained your GED, you can use your resume’s education section to outshine your competition. If you are unsure about the best way to present your education, here are some common scenarios and strategies:

Where to Place Education?

The best placement depends on what you are trying to emphasize:

  • Place experience before education if you have five or more years of experience related to your goal. Hiring managers will be more interested in your job accomplishments than your education.
  • Place education before experience if you are a recent graduate or have less than five years of work experience. If you are changing careers and have continued your education to support your new goal, education should come first. Academic and scientific professionals typically place education before experience on their CVs.

The GPA

If you are a student or recent graduate, list your GPA if it is 3.0 or higher. Consider including a lower GPA if you are in a very challenging program. Add your major GPA if it’s higher than your overall GPA. If your school doesn’t use the standard 4.0 scale, avoid confusion by listing the scale (e.g. GPA: 4.1/4.5). As your career progresses, college GPA becomes less important and can be removed.

Honors

Include academic honors to show you excelled in your program. For example:

ABC College — Albany, NY
BA in Accounting, June 2010

- Delta Gamma Delta Honor Society, Dean’s List, GPA: 3.9

New Grads

Students and new grads with little related work experience may use the education section as the centerpiece of their resumes, showcasing academic achievements, extracurricular activities, special projects and related courses. For example:

ABC College — Brooklyn, New York
BA in Communications, concentration in advertising, anticipated graduation December 2012

Senior Project: Currently completing mock advertising campaign for Coca-Cola (billboard/print/TV/radio ads, direct-mail campaign and press releases).

Related Coursework: Advertising, Advertising Writing, Direct Mail and Telemarketing, Media Plans in Advertising, Marketing and Advertising, Public Relations, Broadcasting

Degree Incomplete

If you abandoned an educational program, list the number of credits completed or the type of study undertaken. For example:

College of Staten Island — Staten Island, New York
Completed 90 credits toward a BA in political science, 1991 to 1994

Experienced Job Seekers

If you are focusing more on experience than education, list the basic facts regarding your degree, including institution name, location, degree, major and date. For example:

New Jersey College — Newark, New Jersey
BS in Economics, Minor in Psychology, June 1993

High School Information

Include your high school or GED information if you don’t have any college credits. If you have college credits, remove references to high school.

Educational Credentials Lacking?

Some job seekers are concerned that their educations don’t measure up to HR requirements. If you don’t have a degree but have been participating in ongoing training, list your related courses, seminars, conferences and training in the Education section (create a list called “Professional Development”). Your training might be so impressive that a lack of a formal degree is overlooked. For example:

Professional Development Highlights:

  • Product Launch in a Global Marketplace
  • E-Commerce Solutions
  • Selling the Dotcom Vision
  • Increasing Sales Through Relationship Selling
  • Professional Management Program

This article was written by Kim Isaacs, director of ResumePower.com and author of The Career Change Resume book. Visit ResumePower.com to learn more about resume services to jump-start your career.

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