General WritingResearch and CitationTeaching and TutoringSubject-Specific WritingJob Search WritingESL
OWL at Purdue Logo

This page is brought to you by the OWL at Purdue (https://owl.english.purdue.edu/). When printing this page, you must include the entire legal notice at bottom.

Education Section

Media File: Education Section

This resource is enhanced by an Acrobat PDF file. Download the free Acrobat Reader

Education sections vary tremendously on résumés—sometimes they are only a couple lines while other times they span half a page. What's the best way for you to approach yours? The resource below contains a number of options.

What is an education section?

An education section highlights your relevant schooling and academic training. If you have substantial work experience, this section may be very brief, simply listing the information below. If you are a currently enrolled college student or a recent graduate, however, you may want to build this section substantially.

The education section usually includes information about:

Why write an education section?

Where should you place this section?

Education sections, like experience sections, are usually placed in the middle of a résumé, somewhere between the objective statement and the honors and activities section.

If your educational background is your strongest qualification or may help your résumé "stand out," then you'll probably want to put it near the top. Especially if you are a recent graduate, this section may be a major focus for recruiters. On the other hand, if your experience sections are stronger, then you'll probably want to move your education section below them.

How to build your education section

If you have the space on your résumé and/or if your educational background is particularly relevant, you may want to expand this section by including some of the content listed below as it applies to your experiences and career goals.

Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN. Candidate for B.A. in English, GPA 3.2. Focus: Professional Writing; Pre-Law. Expected to graduate in May 2008

NOTE: If you have enough information, you may wish to turn some of your content into subsections or even into separate sections. For example, if you know several relevant computer technologies, you might want to list them under the heading "Computer Proficiency" rather than tuck them under your Education section.

Generally, you want to include your overall GPA, and even your in-major GPA and minor GPA. But if your GPA is below 3.0, you may not want to include it.

Samples

Major/minor grade point average (GPA)

Major and minor areas of study, concentrations, emphases or specializations

Special projects

Relevant coursework

Familiar computer applications

Continuing education courses, programs, training units, etc.

Academic honors or graduated with distinction

Check with your university or college to see what the requirements are for these distinctions.

Funding

Certifications

Questions to ask

About you

About the company or organization

Tailoring for your audience

To improve the effectiveness of your education section, you will want to know what content will be most valued by the company hiring. You can get a good sense for which of educational qualifications are most relevant by analyzing job ads and company literature as part of your job search.

You may tailor your education section in three main ways:

1. Select and include only your most relevant educational content: Based on your career goals and the qualifications called for in job ads, you may choose to include or omit certain kinds of information. For example, if you earned a degree in a very specialized field (one employers may need to know more about) or have taken specific courses directly relevant to the position, then you'll want to include a listing of coursework. However, if your degree is self-explanatory and employers likely will know your more specific credentials, then you may omit this section.

2. Emphasize content through placement and design: Since the eye is drawn to section headings and the uppermost portion of sections, you may choose to put your most impressive and relevant educational experiences in either (1) their own sections/subsections, or (2) near the top of a section. For instance, if you have substantial computer skills or have undertaken a special project, you may choose to put this information in its own section rather than simply list it beneath "Education."

3. List most relevant schooling first: While you may wish to use reverse chronological order (most recent schooling first), you also have the option of placing your most relevant educational experiences first.

Click on the link at the top of this resource for a sample resume.

For more information, please see the Interactive Résumé.

Copyright ©1995-2014 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.