Listing Education on Your Resume
Written by James Bunes, Author • Last updated on April 22, 2024

How To List Education on Resumes: Tips and Examples

Including education on resumes is a common practice and it’s easy to see why. It’s a critical qualification in most job roles and one of the first things employers look for – some won’t even consider candidates who don’t have relevant education. This article details how effectively listing education on your resume can significantly improve your chances of securing your dream job.

Why is Listing Education on Your Resume Important?

Putting your education on your resume showcases your relevance to a job position. It emphasizes your qualifications and shows hiring managers that you’re perfect for the role. It also displays desirable attributes such as commitment, discipline, and a capacity to learn.

Education also ties you to job roles by showing employers your transferable skills. For example, a business administration degree shows an HR department that you have an understanding of management.

Knowing how to list education on resumes is essential as it’s one of the first qualifications that employers look for, alongside work experience.

Education or Experience: Which comes first?

Many job seekers wonder which of these crucial elements come first in a resume. The short answer is that it depends on the person. Recent graduates with little experience should list education first. This is also the case for anyone applying for a role that requires a specific degree, such as a medical role.

However, if you have an abundance of relevant work experience, we recommend you list that first.

“Knowing how to list education on resumes is essential as it’s one of the first qualifications that employers look for, alongside work experience.”

How to List Education on Your Resume

Let’s begin structuring the education section on your resume.

Start with your most recent educational attainment and work backward. This is an important part of building an easy-to-read chronological resume.

However, if you have a relevant university degree, we recommend you don’t waste space on your resume by adding high school education details.

Use this basic structure for each education entry:

  • Name of your degree
  • Name of your school or institution
  • Location of the program
  • Graduation date
  • Your GPA (Note: Only include this if it’s above 3.5)
  • Any relevant honors, recognition, or activities you achieved

Here’s an effective education on resume example:

B.A. Elementary Education
University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida
Magna Cum Laude
GPA: 3.8

Remember to keep your education section focused on your target role. Hiring managers scan resumes very quickly and they don’t want to dig through walls of text. This means you include only what’s specifically relevant to the job role, keeping your education section between 15 and 25 words.

For instance, we recommend the above example for most standard job roles because it’s neat and uncluttered. However, if this job seeker was applying for a teaching position at an international school, they should list one of their additional achievements:

B.A. Elementary Education
University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida
Magna Cum Laude
GPA: 3.8
Exchange program in Beijing, China

This detail would be irrelevant for many positions, but in this example, it makes the candidate much more attractive. For more samples, check out CVWizard’s resume templates to see some great examples of how to list education on resumes.

Formatting the Resume Education Section

Now you have the information you need, but knowing how to list education on resumes also involves specific formatting.

When listing your degree, there are several appropriate ways to write it out. Let’s say you have a Master of Business Administration degree. All of the following ways are acceptable to list in your education section:

  • Master of Business Administration
  • MBA
  • M.B.A

Add your major after this. There are two appropriate ways to do this:

  • MBA in Marketing
  • MBA, Marketing

Whichever way you choose to use, ensure you maintain consistency throughout your resume – every instance of your degree should be listed in the same fashion.

ATS-friendly formatting tips

Nearly every company scans the resumes it receives with an applicant tracking system, so it’s essential to build an optimized ATS resume.

A simple way to format your education section for an ATS is to mirror the language is the job ad. For example, if the job description asks for candidates to have a “Bachelor of Arts” degree, spell out your degree and don’t abbreviate it with “BA.”

How to List Ongoing Education on Your Resume

Many job seekers begin looking for work while studying for a degree or taking a break from their programs. While not complete, listing what education you have is valuable to employers. It shows them you have relevant skills and competencies and displays a strong commitment to learning and development.

However, listing in-progress education is going to be different than completed degrees. List any completed courses and programs and detail your ongoing certifications, degrees, and activities. It’s also important to put your anticipated graduation date or a rough approximation.

Here’s an example of how to list ongoing education on resumes:

Master of Business Administration, Human Resources
Saint Mary’s University, Winona, Minnesota. Graduation date: Spring, 2025

Make sure to be as clear as possible when listing the level of education on resumes. Being upfront and honest is crucial so employers don’t get the wrong idea about your degrees.

Expert Tip:

If you have an incomplete education in your history and never finished it, we still encourage you to list it. List any completed coursework, academic achievements, or the number of credits you completed.

Some education is better than none. Further, it also helps a hiring manager understand employment gaps on your resume.

Level of Education on Resume

You want to be concise when detailing education on resumes. This means striking a delicate balance because you want to provide, valuable, relevant information without overwhelming the recruiter.

It’s also important to tailor your resume’s education section to different career stages.

Professionals applying for a senior role should detail every relevant degree, honor, and achievement. These roles have specific, advanced qualifications and you want to increase the chances of being seen.

However, if you’re just getting out of high school, you only need to list your school and graduation date. This way, you’re leaving room for more important things, like showcasing your skills.

Tips for Showcasing the Relevance of Your Education

It isn’t always obvious how your education is linked to a job role. For example, many job seekers with an English major struggle to show employers the relevance of their degree.

Ensure you highlight the most powerful transferable skills gained through your education. For an English major, they should list critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving. These skills not only show the relevance of your educational background, but they’re also valuable and currently in demand for many job roles.

You can also list projects or achievements of yours that remind the recruiter of your education’s practical applications. For example, if you completed a literature studies project, you could mention these points:

  • Researched literature and interviewed over 30 people
  • Collaborated with a team of seven to collect, organize, and deliver the project

Knowing how to list education on resumes and effectively tie into the job role also helps you secure a job in slightly different sectors, increasing your options.

For example, a sales professional can highlight the similarities and transferable skills in their education when applying for a marketing role.

List Education on Your Resume and Make an Impact

Listing education on resumes is critical and it’s just as important to do it right.

Take the time to consider the job role you’re applying for, how much detail you need, and how to list the level of education on resumes. This thoughtful approach helps you showcase your educational background and maximize your impact in a competitive job market.

Ready to get started? You can build a professional resume in minutes using CVWizard’s Resume Builder and put your new knowledge to use.

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James Bunes
James Bunes
James Bunes, copywriter, editor, and strategist, combines job search and HR writing experience to produce actionable content on resumes, career advice, and job search tactics.

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