Career Calling

February 16, 2013

Where to Put Education on Your Resume

Internet experts will frequently say that education should always be positioned at the beginning or end of a resume.  Beware of such one-size-fits-all answers.  Education is a very important selling point, but sometimes it is not the most important selling point.  If a client’s work experience is more important, I put that element before education.  In the case of new graduates or clients who have completed graduate degrees that are important to career change or promotion, I put education first.

If I put education first, it’s not enough to simply list a school, degree, and graduation date.  What does the employer want to see?  Some people list classes and extracurricular activities.  I think this strategy is a mistake because it presents a job seeker as a student, not as someone who is ready to work.  My strategy is to list relevant skills or projects that show the client performing activities that are related to what she would be doing on the job.  I want to underscore whatever the client is taking away from school that would bring value to the employer.

Where you position education on a resume is like all other aspects of resume writing: a matter of strategy.  For me, the starting point is to put a job seeker’s best selling point early in the document.  Sometimes that means education is up front; sometimes it’s in the back.  Always start with what the employer wants to see.

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