Join Mariann Siegert for an in-depth discussion in this video Putting your education to work, part of Creating an Effective Resume (2011).
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- [Voiceover] Put your education to work by including your educational details on your resume. From college majors and degrees to professional licenses and continuing education. Each can help sell your qualifications for employment. Since your resume is your advertisement and you only have about ten seconds to convince the employer to read on, it's crucial your resume gets to work immediately by selling your top credentials. But where exactly should you insert the education section on your resume? What if you have too much information or not enough? What should you include and what should you leave off? As with most things dealing with humans, everyone is different and answers to these questions depend on your individual circumstances.
So the answer is, it depends. But what does it depend on? Let's start by looking at some of the most common scenarios and answers. First of all, where should I place the education section? Education is most often a new grad's strongest marketing strategy. If you are in the early stages of your career, education will play a more prominent role in your getting a job. New graduates that have less than five years of experience are most often advised to place the education section near the top of their resume, just beneath the headline and qualifications summary.
For more information on this, see the movie called Entering the Work Force. If you have five years or more of experience in the industry, experience if your primary asset. It will be a greater selling point and hold more weight for the employer. If this is the case, feature your experience by placing it directly under the headline and qualifications summary. Showcase your achievements and accomplishments, not your responsibilities and job duties. If you have a Doctoral Degree for your career in Medicine, Science, Research or Academics, these fields usually require composing a curriculum vitae, commonly known as a CV.
CVs usually begin with the education section, regardless of experience. Your education should come first if you've veered off your original career path and that path is now taking you back to the career in which you originally received your degree. If you've gone back to college and have completed coursework towards your targeted career goal, again, place your education information first. Be sure to include this information and highlight your transferrable skills in your professional experience section. For more information on this, see the movie called Switching Career Paths.
What if your degree is incomplete? If you never completed your degree, list the number of credits completed or the type of study undertaken. Take a look at this example. 1998 to 2002. Sam Houston State University. Completed 90 credit hours towards a BS in Computer Science. Some people might ask, should I include my high school information? Well, if you'd just graduated from high school and have no college information, go ahead and include your high school info.
If you have any college credits completed, or if you have a college degree, leave off the high school information and include the new college info. Should you include your GPA? You can include your GPA if it's very impressive. Some say 3.0, while others say 3.4 or above. If your Major GPA is higher than the cumulative GPA, include it instead. The further away you move from graduation, and your bank of experience begins to outweigh your educational experience, your GPA becomes less and less important and can eventually just be removed.
Recent graduates should go heavy on the details. You need to include the college name and graduation year, degree major and minor, GPA, but only if it's exceptional, coursework and honors, thesis, research projects, internships, studies abroad, graduating Summa Cum Laude, hold a high class rank such as fourth of 652. Graduates a few years distant from school should begin paring down on the details. Start concentrating on your professional experience and your accomplishments.
Those with experience should include their college degree, of course, but only add additional information that is relevant to your target career, such as licenses, credentials, certificates, vocational training, continuing education, seminars, and things such as these. Rule of thumb. When writing your resume, the most essential information comes first. For example, if having your MBA is important in your career field, don't bury it at the end of your resume. Now is the time to put your education to work for you.
- Determining the appropriate resume length
- Choosing the best layout
- Identifying and incorporating essential keywords
- Tips from recruiters
- Showcasing achievements and job duties using P.A.R. statements
- Evaluating resume banks
- Saving to different file formats
- Compiling references, cover letters, and thank-you notes