Writing a Good Resume:
The Education Section

What's on This Page?

  • When writing a good resume, write down your highest level of education
  • List all continuing education certificates, endorsements, or credentials
  • Write using power words to show how professional you are
  • Avoid writing down any part of your education that puts you in a bad light

Getting Started

Now that you’ve written your resume’s title, it’s time for step 2: Education. Now the trick to writing a good resume is putting down the information that promotes you in a way that makes you look good.

Having trouble with all this self-promotion? That’s understandable. We are raised in a culture where self-promotion is considered conceited. But when you're writing a good resume you must learn how to sell yourself.

The Education Section

So back to education. For most jobs, the more educated you are, the better. So put your highest level of finished education, or any education you are currently receiving.

Also put down any credentials or endorsements. I’m a teacher so I can say:

I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. I have a Single Subject State Teaching Credential in Secondary English and an endorsement in Bible (for private parochial schools) and an endorsement in secondary science.

Use Power Words to Make Your Writing Sound Professional

Now, when you're writing a good resume, there are many ways to say what I just said right? For example, I could say:

I have a college degree in English, and can also teach high school English, Bible (for a church school), or Science.

Power words are words that make something ordinary sound extraordinary. For example, You could say that "I like to sing." That's very ordinary. Instead, use your power words and say, "I am a vocalist."

That's the same thing right? Except when you use power words it sounds so much more professional. And professional is what we're going for here!

When you’re writing a good resume you need to figure out how to say what you have in a way that sounds very professional. A Bachelor of Arts degree sounds way better than plain old “college degree” right? But it’s really the same thing. Also, saying that “I have a Single Subject State Teaching Credential in Secondary English” sounds much better than saying, “I can teach high school English.”

We’re not out to fool anyone, but it doesn’t hurt to clothe what you have in professional language. Whether we like it or not we are forced to make assessments of the people we encounter based on broad generalizations. That's where Power Words come in handy!

A $5000 suit

If you met someone on the street with a $5000 suit and briefcase you might treat them differently than you would if you met someone with dreadlocks and holey jeans. That doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with dreadlocks and holey jeans. That person might be a wonderful, capable, and talented individual. But that guy is going to have to work much harder to get hired than the guy in the suit.

By using Power Words, we’re just trying to dress your language up in that $5000 suit. that's what writing a good resume is all about. That way, when your future boss reads your resume she will be instantly
impressed with your professionalism before you’ve even met her.

Things you should not put in the education section:

The date you graduated if you’ve graduated anytime in the last 5 years

  • You don’t want to look like a newbie. Just leave the date off. Likely, your interviewer already knows that you just graduated, no need to advertise it.

The date you graduated if you graduated a LOOOOOOOONG time ago.

  • This one depends on your field. If you are in a field that changes really fast like medicine or technology then likely your graduation date from 1947 isn’t going to make you look distinguished, it’ll make you look outdated. Just leave it off.
  • The exception would be if you have really great education SINCE your regular graduation date. If you’re a nurse, and you graduated in 1953 with an Associates Degree, but since then you’ve gotten your Bachelors, as well as several certificates in specialty areas, and are current or ahead in your continuing education then go ahead and put it down.
  • Another exception would be if you’re applying to a field where years of experience like that would be in your favor, like if you were applying to be a librarian (although even that has changed significantly over the years).

Any education you started but didn’t finish and aren’t currently working on.

  • This makes you look like a quitter or a drop out. There are many legitimate reasons people leave school, but your resume isn’t the appropriate time to voice those reasons. Just leave it off.

Any education you haven’t received.

  • NEVER LIE on your resume. Enough said.

Ready for the next section? If you already have some significant job experience to put on your resume then click here for the Experience Section.

If you have no job experience or only minimal job experience then you might be wondering what you should put for the Experience Section. If that is you then click here for what to put for the Experience Section.

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