SIUC Dept. of Communication Studies RSOs
In this post, we continue the step-by-step series on how to write or improve your resume by focusing on the Education section.
So far, we have covered how to write an eye-catching headline and an impressive professional profile.
Now we will review Education, which is often located at the top of a resume for a current student or recent graduate. It is often the largest accomplishment for them to date. After three or more years of work, however, it will likely drop to the bottom of the document.
The education section is part of your overall skillset, training, and experience that you bring to the table for an employer. If you are a student or recent graduate, this may be your biggest asset! Therefore, we are covering it now in our top-to-bottom approach to writing a high-impact resume.
As with our previous post, we are offering a before and after review or our resume.
As you will see, Monika's education originally included high school through college, because she kept building off the resume she wrote in high school.
A few things worth noting that are not immediately obvious:
Dr. Craig Engstrom, a faculty member in the Department of Communication Studies at SIUC, who owns his own resume writing and LinkedIn consulting business (Communication@Work LLC), gave us some tips.
He recommends that if you are a current student or recent graduate, place the education section towards the top (after professional profile). As he notes, "It is your greatest asset while you start your career."
He says not to include high school or Associate's degree information unless it is different than your Bachelor’s degree. An example of this would be an Associate in welding and a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies. GPA is optional, but not really necessary unless it is stellar.
Dr. Engstrom’s other recommendations aligned with tips from this helpful article titled, “How to List Education on Resume [25+ Examples & Expert Hints]":
They recommend the following be placed in the education section:
These are not hard rules. You can always place some of these items in a co-curricular activities section or add a "non-relevant" club if it might impress the organization. For example, being in drama club if you're programmer might express your creative side and definitely might impress if you're applying for a programming job with arts organization.
As Dr. Engstrom notes, the top 4 are a must! And the rest will give you an edge over the other non-degree candidates.
Oh, one final and important point. Don't be repetitive. If your college or university's name include the location then you can just write:
Here is a formatted example based on the above recommendations
BA in Network Administration
City University of New York
Relevant Coursework: network & security applications, internet-of-things, cloud foundations.
We give our samples and recommendations based on research about what grabs recruiter’s attention when they look at resumes, based on review of blogs and articles.
Updating and formatting your resume to these standards will help you stand out. And if not, there will be other candidates with polished resumes that will grab the recruiter’s attention!
Keep in mind that our work is still in progress. These are not the final versions. For example, perhaps Maggie's section is now in need of some reformatting or some reduction in content. Tell us in the comments what you think.
Keep reading the series to see what our documents look like at the end when we reveal them. The forthcoming post will be on work history / experience. So like and subscribe so you don't miss future posts.
Monika Fudala is currently studying Communication Studies at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. She also holds the position of Human Resource Manager of the Communication Career Council. She hopes to become an HR generalist after graduation in Summer 2021.