Whether you’re a high-school or college student, a recent graduate, or a professional with several years of experience under your belt, read on to discover the most effective way of presenting your education section on your resume.
Table of Contents (Select Your Education Level)
1. High School Student Education Section
As a high-school student, the education section is one of the most important things to put on a resume — no matter how much work experience you have.
The format and content of your resume depends on how much work experience you have and how active you are as a high-school student.
Click the link below that best describes your situation:
High School: No Work Experience
Are you a high schooler with no professional work experience? Don’t worry—this resume example can help you write a strong education section that will land you more interviews. Check out how the candidate fills out their education section in this high-school resume example:
What this applicant did
The above resume depicts a high-school applicant who does not have work experience. In the education section, she lists her:
- GPA (only do this if it’s above 3.0)
- Relevant coursework (courses that are pertinent to the specific position you are applying for)
- Honors/academic achievements
Further down in her resume, she adds a section dedicated to her extracurricular activities:
Last, in lieu of a formal work experience section, she adds volunteer work:
What you can do
With no work experience, you should aim to write your resume in a similar format. Try to think of activities you participate in, like school projects and clubs, volunteer work, or even athletics.
You can list these in distinct sections—like our example candidate does—or you can compile them under a “major achievements” section of your resume. This gives you more leeway to stretch your activities and projects to fill space in your resume.
Your aim should be to present yourself as an active person who can be trusted to learn quickly and manage an entry-level job efficiently, so dig up whatever evidence you can to show that you’re up to the task.
High School: Some Work Experience
Are you a high schooler with some work experience?
Check out our babysitter resume sample for a great example of how to write an education section as a high-school student (or recent grad) with some work experience:
What this applicant did
Notice how this applicant’s education section is present but not particularly prominent. She lists the high school she attended, as well as a certificate received during her education, but leaves off her GPA because it is below 3.0.
Because the applicant has actual work experience, she keeps the education section to a minimum and describe her work duties and achievements in detail.
What you can do
You should aim to format your resume in the same manner. Your education section should briefly detail your academic activities—including relevant clubs, athletics, theater, student government, or other projects—because they are important indicators of your personality and character.
If you already have work experience as a high schooler, you should be proud of yourself—it’s an asset that will help you get entry-level jobs easily in the future.
However, there are many rules to writing a work experience section, so be sure to read our guide on how to write an accomplishments oriented resume.
2. College Student/Recent Graduate
As a college student or recent graduate, your education section will likely be placed at the beginning of your resume, and details throughout your resume will reflect your skills and achievements as derived from your higher education. Beyond that, the length of your education section and what it includes will depend on the amount of work experience you have.
Click the link that best describes your situation:
College Student: No Work Experience
Are you a college student with no work experience? Don’t fret; take a look at this college resume sample to see how they formatted their education section:
You may be concerned that because you have no work experience, it’s impossible to make a one-page resume. This isn’t true.
As you can see from the example above, the candidate fills up over half the resume without any mention of work experience. She does, however, use the next section to detail relevant experience, in the same manner you would list professional experience:
Notice how her first experience listed is a semester studying abroad. She even quantifies her achievements from this experience, giving any hiring manager a firm idea of how competent a candidate she is, given her communication skills, writing abilities, and adaptable nature.
How you can also make a one-page resume
Do you also have experience from your university that has in some way prepared you for your target position? Feel free to move that experience—whether it’s study abroad, a big project or report, volunteer work, campus clubs, or athletics—to a relevant experience or major achievements section of your resume, instead of listing it in your education section.
This will fill up more space, and allow you to expand on what involvement you had in these activities, and how they make you the perfect candidate.
College Student: Some Work Experience
Are you a college student with some work experience? We have several resumes on this site that reflect the experiences of college students and recent graduates. Click the example you’re interested in to check out the downloadable template and writing guide.
Now, read the following explanation of the resume sample below to learn what you should and should not include in your own section.
Education section – This applicant kept her Education section to a minimum, because she already had some work experience.
Work Experience – The work experience section trumps Education, because it let’s employers know that you’re already familiar with the pressures and expectations of the professional world.
Real work experience is more valuable than the activities you may have managed in an academic setting, like clubs or events.
Extracurriculars – While she emphasizes actual work experience, as this candidate is still a recent graduate, it’s acceptable to list relevant school activities. As she earns more professional experience, she should remove them.
What you should do
If you have work experience, your resume should be formatted in the same way. Feel free to list your clubs and activities at your college, but emphasize your work experience. For you, writing a successful resume will come down to writing the strongest work experience section possible, and keeping the education section to the bare necessities.
3. Working Professional Education Section
For a working professional, the education section is very straightforward. Mostly, the section exists as evidence that you have a degree of some sort. It should be placed less prominently than the professional experience section, and take up significantly less room. All working professionals should format their education section like this:
Include the following:
- Name of school
- School location
- Type of degree/field of study
- Graduation year
- GPA (if above 3.5/4.0)
What if you recently went back to college?
Working professionals who recently went back to school should put their education section at the top. Those who have not recently been back can keep it below the professional experience section.
Resume Genius’ Resume Builder
Resume Genius’ Resume Builder Tool makes it easy to format the education section, along with the other sections of your resume. You can use this guide to help you add content to your own section within the builder and make a powerful resume. Alternatively, we encourage you to download our free resume templates and start writing a resume on your own. In addition, use our professionally written resume samples to help guide you in the resume writing process and find some resume inspiration in your chosen field.