How to List Education on a Resume

How to List Education on a Resume

Your education is an important detail that many employers look at to learn about your background and credentials. Sometimes, your education might be specifically relevant to your ability to perform the job (a medical degree, for example), while other times it simply tells an employer that you have the drive and persistence necessary to pursue higher education.

This article will cover whether or not you should include your education details on your resume and if so, what information you should include and where to place it on your resume.

Should You Include Your Education on Your Resume?

In essentially all cases, it’s a good idea to include your education details on your resume. Even if your education is non-traditional, incomplete, or in-progress, it can still give potential employers an idea of your background and your ability to perform the job.

What Information Goes in Your Education Section?

The amount and type of information that goes in your education section varies based on what type of education you have, how relevant it is to the position you are applying for, how much work experience you have, and so forth. However, here are the main details that you will likely want to include if you have a college degree or are currently earning one:

  • Your degree, major, or area of specialty
  • Your minor, if it’s relevant or useful to the position you are applying for
  • The name and location of your school
  • Dates that you attended (or expected graduation date if you still attend)
  • Your GPA (optional, and only include it if it’s above 3.5)
  • Academic honors, relevant coursework, accolades, study abroad, extracurriculars

If you have finished college, you don’t need to include your high school information on your resume. However, if you are in high school or college, you can include the name and location of your high school, years attended/expected graduation date, GPA (again, if it’s above 3.5), and any honors or awards that you earned.

How to List Completed Education

When listing college degrees, start with your highest degree and then add other degrees in reverse chronological order after that. There are several different ways to write degrees - if you have a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts you can write it in the following ways:

  • Bachelor of Arts, Fine Arts
  • BA, Fine Arts
  • B.A. in Fine Arts

All are acceptable, but you may wish to mirror the format that the employer uses in the job description to help your resume pass applicant tracking system (ATS) scans. Just be sure to use the same format for all of the entries in your education section.

Here’s an example of how a typical college degree might be listed on a resume:

University of Washington, Seattle, WA

BA in Fine Arts

2011-2015

Expert Tip

If you want to add extra education information and you have enough room on your resume, feel free. However, if you have more than five years of professional work experience, you will likely want to focus on that experience rather than your educational details.

If you graduated from an honors program, were valedictorian or salutatorian, or earned Latin honors, you can also list these succinctly in your education section:

Honors BA in Fine Arts, Valedictorian, Magna Cum Laude

University of Washington, Seattle, WA

2010-2014

If you want to go into more detail, consider adding bullet points to briefly highlight other accomplishments. You can also include scholarships, campus/national/international honor society memberships, business fraternity memberships, honor roll, dean’s list, and so forth. Or, if you really want to draw attention to these details, you may wish to create a separate honors and awards section on your resume.

Additionally, if you have or are working towards a PhD or other advanced degree and have relevant publications that you wish to call attention to, you can list them under your degree or create a separate publication section.

Expert Tip

If you were homeschooled or otherwise had a non-traditional education, explain this on your resume and include any equivalencies you can to traditional school milestones (high school diploma, etc.) to help clarify your educational achievements for someone who might not be familiar with the non-traditional route.

How to List In-Progress Education

If you are still in college currently, provide your expected degree and graduation date, like so:

University of Washington, Seattle, WA

BA in Fine Arts candidate

2020-present, expected graduation June 2024

You may wish to provide additional details in this case, such as honors, relevant coursework, your GPA, and so forth. Follow the same format for in-progress high school education.

Your resume should be no more than one page, but you do want the page to look full and complete. So, if your resume is looking a bit sparse or blank, consider including some of these details or adding optional resume sections like hobbies and interests, languages, skills, and so forth.

How to List Incomplete Education

If you completed some high school, simply list the school name and location with the years that you did attend. If you later completed a GED, include that information as well:

GED High School Equivalency Diploma

Seattle Adult Learning Center, Washington, 2010

Seattle Public High School, Seattle, WA

Attended from 2005-2007

Or, if you started college but then decided it wasn’t a good fit for you, you can still highlight the credits that you did earn and include your high school information as well, like so:

University of Washington, Seattle, WA

Completed 60 credits towards BA in Fine Arts

2010-2012

Seattle Public High School, Seattle, WA

Graduated in 2010

Even though you did not complete your college degree, you paid for and earned those credits, and you can and should feel proud about claiming them.

Where To Place Your Education Section

If you are currently in high school or college or you are a recent graduate, you can list your education information before your work experience on your resume. Place it at the top, just under your resume header and resume objective. Even if you have a couple of years of professional experience but your education is more impressive, you can place it at the top.

However, if you have more than five years of work experience, list that above your education details. At that point in your career, a potential employer will likely find your professional experience much more relevant.

Key Takeaways

Your educational background is often an important detail that potential employers will pay attention to. Include any incomplete, in-progress, or completed higher education degrees, and add your high school information if that is the highest level of education you achieved or if you are still currently in high school or college. Include honors, awards, and accolades to flesh out your education section. However, if you have more than five years of professional work experience, focus more heavily on that over your educational background.

Need help creating a resume that highlights your education as well as your experience? Consider using Jobseeker’s professional resume builder tool, which allows you to enter your information and then choose from a library of templates, styles, and fonts to create a polished resume. You can then download it instantly and get started applying for jobs!

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