Sep 3, 2021

Writing the Education Section for a Resume

empty classroom wooden desks
The education is a crucial component of the resume in many professional industries.

When resume or curriculum vitae (CV) comes to mind, people typically think of job experience. Indeed, when applying to jobs or MBA graduate programs, work experience is essential. However, the resume education section should not be overlooked, especially by any college student, fresh university graduate, or entry-level job seeker.

Making your education resume section clean and optimized helps recruiters and interviewers learn more about your background, which can help them decide if you are a good fit for the position. Moreover, the education section can help you stand out from other applicants if your education is particularly relevant to the job or you have relevant credentials.

This article will explain:

  • Why the education section of a resume is important
  • Where to put the education section in a resume
  • What to include in the resume education section
  • How to write an education resume section with no college
  • How to edit and improve your resume

Why the Education Section of a Resume is Important

Your resume is not only a reflection of your past work experience – it’s also a record of your academic and student activities, knowledge base, and local geography, and network.

Whether it’s a recruiter for a job application or an admissions committee for a university, the content of your resume must match up the profile of that company or institution. This holds for both your work history and educational background.

Education history gives people a known measurement

Education is critical because it is an equal measure among applicants – almost every professional or office-based job requires a secondary or university degree, so employers and recruiters can compare candidates side by side.

This isn’t necessarily true for job or work history.

Especially among international candidates, it is challenging to compare job roles or titles. It’s also hard to verify work history. On the other hand, your educational pedigree, relevant coursework, and academic achievements are much clearer. Brand name post-secondary educational institutions such as Harvard, Stanford, or Berkley bring with them generations of solid marketing that present you as a verifiable, known quantity.

All education history is important

If you went to a state or public university, two-year community college, or even a shorter program, is your education history still important?

Yes!

Not everyone in the world lives in New York, Silicon Valley, or London. There are millions of jobs in thousands of cities across the United States. Public educational institutions provide a localized and well-respected signal to recruiters and employers about your roots and what you have learned. 

Keep in mind that many companies, especially corporations, have deep ties with local universities. They often participate in outreach activities, recruit interns, and have executives that graduated from there. So don’t discount the importance of any education experience – all of it should go in the resume education section.

Your education degree shows your career interest and expertise

New job seekers and recent college graduates often have the disadvantage of having little work experience. So how do companies know what your expertise and career interest are?

Your education history provides this information.

It tells potential employers what subject or field is important to you, what you are dedicated to, what academic areas you excel in, and what skills you developed along the way.

You want to make sure that your education history reflects who you really are. Don’t lie. Be honest. But be careful not to overstate things either. Your goal is to give prospective employers enough detail to see where you stand relative to their needs.

Where to put the education section in a resume

Where to put the resume education section depends on several factors:

  • Recent college graduate with little relevant work experience

Individuals with a stronger educational history or academic career should highlight that and treat their educational experience as their work experience. 

In this case, the education section should come first and include lots of extracurricular activities, achievements, and honors.

  • Type of job

A job applicant in the academic or scientific field will have a much higher emphasis on the education section, including their research experience or cited academic works. In this case, the resume resembles a curriculum vitae (CV).

  • Date of education experience

For anyone other than recent graduates, applicants will have a lot of professional experience, transferable skills, and projects – overall, a seasoned professional doesn’t need to emphasize the placement of the resume education section as much.

In this case, the education section should go towards the bottom (or second page) of the resume.

Information to Include in Your Resume Education Section

Here is a list of what an employer, hiring manager, or admission committee member needs to see in your education section:

  • Name of school, university, or college
  • Location of school, university, or college
  • Degree type and name – Bachelor, GED, Master’s, PhD, etc
  • Degree major or specialization 
  • Graduation year
  • GPA – only include if GPA is above 3.5

Example Education Section Entry (basic)

University of California-Berkeley | Berkeley, CA

B.S. in Computer Science, 2016-2020

GPA: 3.9/4.0

Here is a list of extra, contextual information you may also include:

  • Academic honors, achievements, accomplishments,
  • Relevant extracurricular activities
  • Relevant coursework

List any honors, awards, and academic achievements. Also, add useful student or collaborative projects that show involvement in the community and a forward-thinking mindset. These can also easily substitute for lack of work experience and demonstrate your skills in action.

As a result, current college students who haven’t graduated yet or don’t have any professional experience can fill out the rest of their resumes. 

Example Education Section Entry (with Extra Information)

University of California-Berkeley | Berkeley, CA

B.S. in Computer Science, 2016-2020

GPA: 3.9/4.0

Academic: 

  • Honor’s Program
  • Dean’s List
  • Vice President of Student Coding Guild

Achievements:

  • 3rd place undergraduate coding contest

Projects:

  • College coding challenge – helped optimize student parking app

 This example format accomplishes several key things.

1. Itemizes and clarifies your level of education. 

Resumes are read for barely a few seconds. They’re more likely to be scanned than actually read carefully. That’s why it’s so important to construct your resume sections to be easily readable at a glance. 

Adding bold section titles to your education section like above forces readers to contextualize the information the way YOU want them to.

2. Transforms education section into a work experience section

Recruiters and hiring managers are looking for one thing: Does your resume match the job description and satisfy all the requirements?

Including your projects and relevant activities while still a student serves the same purpose as work experience – you are contributing and building projects and working with others.

3. Fills up space in your resume – if needed

While this seems trivial, individuals with an incomplete education, lack of actual work experience, or entry-level applicants struggle to fill up a one-page resume.

This type of resume format not only looks professional and is organized, it fills up vertical space. 

How to Edit and Improve your Resume

Editing for resumes is often an overlooked step compared to admissions essays or articles since resumes often are itemized and use short sentences that do not follow the same punctuation rules as essays and papers.

However, the resume’s impact is arguably even more important than other documents people pay to get edited. This can be seen in the many options out there for professional resume writers.

One option for college students, graduate students, PhD and master’s students, and academics is Wordvice, which specializes in academic editing and essay editing services

As mentioned above, the education section is hugely important depending on job type, and those who plan a career in academia as doctoral researchers stand to benefit from Wordvice’s editors – who are PhDs and post-docs themselves.