How to List Education on Your Resume
Not sure how to list your college degree or the college coursework you have accumulated if you didn't finish your degree on your resume? What if you didn't go to college? How about if you've already graduated or are about to receive your degree? An entry level resume will often include a variety of information and be slightly more general than a resume for someone who has been in the workforce for many years.
If you don’t have a lot of work experience to prove your skills and capabilities on the job, it can be important to list any relevant college coursework, even if you didn’t graduate with a degree.
Here are a few options for including your education, as well as for mentioning credit you have earned for college-level work on your resume even though you didn't graduate.
The Best Way to List College Education on Your Resume
How to include education on your resume depends on when or if you graduated. If you're a college student or recent graduate, your college education is typically listed at the top of your resume. When you have work experience, the education section of your resume is listed below your employment history.
Recent graduates should include their graduation date. If you have a high Grade Point Average (GPA), it can be included as well:
B.A., Business Management, May 20XX
Sycamore University, Sonoma, California
When Your Education in Progress
If you have not yet graduated but intend to, you can list details about your college, including location and name, and then put "degree expected" and your anticipated graduation year.
You can also include your GPA, if it is very strong (3.5 or over):
Bachelor of Arts, degree anticipated May 20XX
State College, Hamilton, Virginia
Current GPA 3.72
How to List College on Your Resume When You Didn't Graduate
Whether you're currently working toward a degree, or have no plans to graduate, don't let a lack of a degree stop you from including your time spent at college or relevant details about completed coursework on your resume.
Your college classes, even without an earned degree, can help you meet an employer's educational requirements.
One cautionary note: If you did not graduate college, make sure that your resume does not indicate otherwise. Many employers will do a reference check prior to hiring someone, and a falsified college graduation will show up. Any information found to be intentionally misleading will end your candidacy, and is grounds for firing if you have been hired.
There are a few different ways to include the fact that you attended college.
You can simply list the college and location:
You can also provide more detail. Include the years attended, the number of credits completed, and your GPA if it is very strong (3.5+):
Unionville University, 2015 - 2017
Completed 42 credits, GPA 3.8
You can mention the focus of your studies, if it is related to your employment objective, and the number of credits completed in that discipline:
Hannaford College, 2014 - 2016
Completed 36 credits, including 16 credits in business.
Another option is to list some of your completed coursework that is related to the job for which you are applying.
Accounting 1 and 2
Marketing, Finance, and Human Resource Management
Yet another possibility is to actually describe any course projects which are related to your target job. This can be a good approach for candidates who don't possess much or any related work experience.
For example, a person who is aiming for a job with a focus on information technology might describe a programming project which involved the creation of a complex Excel database. If you received any recognition for the project, or an outstanding grade, you could also mention those.
Listing High School and GED on Your Resume
If you didn't go to college or only took a few courses, you don't have to list them. Of course, you also have the option of leaving college off of your resume entirely, which becomes a better option as you gain valid, relevant work experience.
There are many things you can include on your resume besides college, to highlight and prove your qualifications for a job. Relevant coursework, awards, certifications, volunteer positions, and even clubs and hobbies can often be included appropriately in other sections of your resume.
If you don't have work or much other experience, you may want to list your GED or high school information on your resume. Otherwise, you don't need to include it. For example:
General Educational Development Certificate
Sonoma Central High School
Note: If you're currently a high school student or just graduated, you can include your GPA and school activities and accomplishments in this section of your resume.
Sample Student Resume
This is a sample resume for a student. Download the template (compatible with Google Docs or Word Online) or read the example below.
Remember the Basics
Your resume is probably the first impression that a potential employer is going to have of you. It’s a good idea to review resume writing tips to help you present the most important information about you in a way that stands out to hiring managers.
It’s helpful to carefully proofread your resume or have a friend proofread it for you before you send it off to help you catch any typos, and make sure that the layout looks good. You want to be sure as well that it’s formatted in such a way that it opens properly if you are emailing it with your application materials.
When You Land an Interview
You should also be prepared to discuss your college courses in your interview, when the time comes. It’s a good idea, if applicable, to prepare for the question of why you didn’t complete your degree as well. Remember to be honest and upfront, and cast your decision in the most flattering way possible, without placing blame or being negative.