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How to Write a Great Resume, Part 4 of 4 – Education & More

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You’re in the home stretch for completing your resume! By now you have a slick-looking header, a stellar summary, and impressive achievements. So, let’s get started on how to make your education shine.

Where does the education section belong?

If you are a recent graduate, definitely place this section towards the top of your resume. Even if you have a couple years experience, if you have a degree directly related to your field, you could place it towards the top as well.

Of course, there are exceptions to this general rule. If you have a ton of experience through internships or other “real world” experience, you’ll want to put that ahead of your education as employers value that even more than your education.

Everyone else should relegate their education to the end of the resume. Below is an example of how an education section may look on a resume.Education Sample

Do I include my GPA and graduation year?

Only include your GPA if it’s a 3.5 or above on a 4.0 scale. And if you graduated Magna Cum Laude, add that in the education section, too.

Typically, if you graduated more than 3 years ago, it is not necessary to include the year you completed your degree. Not only is your work experience more recent than what you learned in school, eliminating your graduation year won’t give away your age.

What if my degree is not in my targeted field?

If your major is not related to the position you are targeting, you don’t need to include it. Remember that a resume doesn’t have to include every detail of your career. It only needs to include information relevant to the job you’re targeting.

What if I haven’t completed my degree?

Sometimes “life” gets in the way of finishing a degree. When you have a partially completed education, it is still advantageous to include it on your resume for keywords. Here are two different approaches to include incomplete education.

Education Sample 2

If I don’t have a college degree, should I include my high school degree?

Often it is better to have no education section than a weak one. Unless you are under 20, or applying for a position that specifically states high school diploma or GED required, it is best to omit this information from your resume.

What else should I include on my resume?

Besides your education, there are several other pieces of data that you may want to include in order to give a potential employer more insight to your capabilities and personality.

Associations or Affiliations: You should list all relevant participation in trade associations. In addition, if you have taken on a voluntary leadership position you may want to detail out your involvement in a similar way to your job descriptions.

Certifications of Licenses: Things like a CPA or PMP certification are definitely important to include on your resume. Depending on how relevant the license or certification is to the position, you may even want to have this section towards the top of your resume.

Publications, Presentations, and Patents: These are usually impressive and should be included in your resume. It is best to list them in reverse chronological order, and you can refer to your favorite writing style manual to make sure your format is correct.

Awards and Honors: I recommend weaving in your awards underneath the position where you earned them. Sometimes if you have multiple awards, you may want to call special attention and group them all in their own section.

You’re on your way to securing an interview at your target company!

Congratulations, you have transformed your resume from good to great! If you are still struggling with some of these resume writing concepts, revisit the previous 3 steps of How to Write a Great Resume, Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3, or reach out to Brand Your Career and we can help. Let us know what tips you found most helpful in the comments below.

Image courtesy of hywards / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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