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Highlighting Education

Writing a resume can be subjective. What one recruiter prefers to see on applications can be wildly different than another’s preferences. 

As a job-seeker, this can be a frustrating reality of the career search. The key is to stay focused on what really matters: the content. 

Your educational background is one of the most vital pieces of content to be considered by hiring managers. 

What kind of degrees you have earned, where you went to college and the types of professional development training you have pursued on your own time are all crucial aspects of the educational background section of your resume. 

Here are some tips on how to list your education in a way that will satisfy recruiters and hiring managers, no matter how different their expectations may be. 

Education Placement

A sound strategy is to place your professional experience section before education if you have five or more years of experience. Hiring managers will look to review your main job duties and achievements first. 

For professionals just entering the workforce or transitioning careers with a new degree, place education before experience. Education also always comes first on a  curriculum vitae or CV, which are used in higher education, scientific and medical fields. 

Spell Out Everything

If you earned a bachelor of science in business administration, list it that way. Don’t make a hiring manager guess by using acronyms or abbreviations. Sometimes the way you list your degree compared to the university you attended can make a big difference. 

A couple of things to consider here: 

  • If you went to a prestigious business school, it is best to list it above the degree. For example: 

The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

Master of Business Administration, 2015

The prestige of schools like Wharton will grab the attention of hiring managers and put you near the top of the list when it comes to candidates’ educational pedigree. 

The Coursework Question

Job-seekers can be torn on whether or not to list applicable coursework on their resumes. If you are a recent graduate, listing your coursework can be a great way of showcasing some of the entry-level skills you have accrued in college. 

For more established professionals, listing coursework from your degree simply takes up valuable space better suited for an extra achievement or professional affiliation. 

Think of your resume as a piece land being developed for new businesses. Each square inch should be strategically measured and filled for maximum impact.


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