How to list education on a resume

The need to get everything right on your resume cannot be overemphasized enough. Today’s overly competitive labor market has substantially increased focus on all aspects of the employment process. Recruiters keep searching for reasonable grounds to disqualify otherwise qualified candidates. This is no fault of theirs as every job advert is met with hundreds of qualified applications. Ensure that your resume does not make you fall in the pit of early disqualification by paying detailed attention to all sections of the resume. Here is a guide to listing your education on your resume correctly.

How you list your education on your resume will depend on your present life circumstance. Each possible situation is shown in this guide.



If you are a high school student, education is most probably top of the list of what you have to showcase to your prospective employer. Therefore it should come at the top of your resume. Some high school students may possess work experience. This category is therefore divided into two sub-sections.

A) Without work experience
If you are in this category, the educational section of your resume should come after your contact address and introduction. Your resume as a high school student should contain the following

  • CGPA (you may leave this out if it's below 3.0)
  • The coursework you’ve taken that is relevant to the job you’re applying for.
  • Academic awards or achievements thus far
  • Clubs or organizations you have been actively involved with (it’s always best to avoid political, religious or controversial groups except if it's relevant to the prospective job)

A ‘Major achievements’ section may be added if you have activities that you feel is worth showcasing, but does not fall under clubs and organizations. The major accomplishments should advertise your desirable qualities such as leadership experience and organizational skills.

B) With work experience
If you are a high school student and you possess relevant work experience, your experience should still come after your education on a resume. If the work experience is significant enough, you may summarize your educational information in favor of a detailed description of your job experience. Asides that, your educational information listing should follow the outline stated above.



A recent graduate as used in this context is anyone who graduated less than five years ago. For college students or recent graduates, a detailed educational background is still required since much of what you have to project as your career highlights would be educational achievements or results during the period of enrollment in the institution of study. Some people in this category may, however, have significant work experience so this class will be divided into two sub-sections.

a. Without work experience
If you fall into this category, your educational background should come at the beginning of your resume that is, after your contact information and introduction. A more detailed educational background is expected here. Clubs and organizations, relevant course works and information about your final year project as well as academic achievements should be provided if it is relevant to the job you’re applying for. A ‘major achievements’ section may also be added. The section would include information about educational competitions you have been involved in if any and information about your project work may be stated here if it is not relevant to the job in view. You should frame the information provided such that it depicts you as an active person with interpersonal, organizational and leadership skills.

b. With work experience
Pretty much the same rules stated above (for high school student with work experience) apply. Except that more details about your education would be expected since you are still an entry-level candidate. If your professional experience is significant enough, however, you should stifle the educational details in favor of work experience. Your GPA (if it’s more than 3.0), clubs and activities and educational achievement should be included.Remember work experience is more valuable out there than any educational achievement you might have. So if it’s not too late, you should start thinking of how you can gain relevant work experience in the industry you hope to build a career in, even while you’re still studying.



Listing education on a resume is pretty much straightforward for a working professional. Your work experience takes priority over your educational background so the educational information would succeed the professional information section in your resume. The purpose of schooling information here is just to state that you bagged an educational qualification of some sorts so bogus details may be skipped. Your GPA is not necessary at this level but if you graduated with any honors, be proud to state it. Your educational listing should simply include:

  • Name of institution
  • Location
  • Field of study and qualification attained
  • Year of graduation
  • Honors (if any)


Listing of Education in a side column

In case you’re pursuing a higher qualification than you currently possess which is essential to the job you’re applying for, your educational information may precede your professional experience. Your education will also come before experience in your resume if you’re an academic or scientific professional. Remember to state the qualification in view and the standard year of attainment.