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Does Education Or Experience Come First On A Resume

Volunteer Work Usually Goes Near The Bottom Of A Resume

First Resume Tips: How to Make a Resume with No Work Experience | Indeed Career Tips

A standard resume layout would include these sections, in this order:

  • Contact information
  • education
  • volunteer work

That is, experience gained through employment is typically valued more than experience gain in a volunteer role. If your paid work experience and / or your education are at all related to the job you are applying to, those sections should be placed before your volunteer experience on your resume because they will have the most impact on the employer’s impression of you as a potential employee.

Where To Position Education On Your Resume

So, should your education or experience come first in your resume?

Think of it this way:

The top third of the resume is reserved for your accomplishments that are most relevant to the job you are applying for.

So before you continue, ask yourself: Is your education your most relevant accomplishment?

The answer most of the time will be no. Work experience will be a more important requirement for just about any position above entry-level.

However, education can take priority in some particular cases.

Education comes first if youve just graduated from college and dont have relevant work experience to list. Imagine you are an employer and the first thing you see in someones resume when theyre applying for an entry-level marketing associate position is their summer job as a bodyguard at their local town pool.

Its also wise to list education before work experience if youve recently gotten back to school to get a degree thats relevant to your potential job.

For example, if youre switching to a career in sustainable energy after having finished a related program, but have work experience predominantly in engineering, you would want your new education to be the first thing the hiring manager sees.

Getting a fresh MSc, Ph.D., or MBA is another case where you would want to highlight those degrees more than the work experience.

Not sure if you need a CV or a resume? Check out our guide on CV vs Resume and learn whats the difference between the two .

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Should My Education Or Work Experience Go First On My Resume

This is similar to the way a newspaper is organized. The most significant and important stories are put on the first page at the top. On TV, you see this with lead story in a news program. In fact, almost every media, including books, magazines, movies and music, is structured with the most appealing content at the top.

Your resume should be organized in a similar manner. What is the most important aspect of your background? This goes at the top. Lets look at a few examples:

New College Graduate: Individuals that recently graduated with a bachelors, masters or PhD should put this at the top of their resume. This is the most significant element of their background and demonstrates their potential for a new career.

Technical Experts: Engineering, IT and other technical specialties prioritize technical skill very high. Often, the skill level with specific technologies or disciplines is more important to a hiring manager than anything else. In this case, the technical skills should be featured. This can be done by starting the resume with an executive summary or a skills section that demonstrates these skills.

Career Changers: If you are attempting to change career fields, your decision of what to prioritize may change. Your experience wont be as significant in the new field. In this case, you may want to highlight your transferrable skills or your education first.

How To List Completed Education

Resume With Education First

Recent Graduate If youve recently graduated, place your education section before or in line with your work experience. Your schooling is likely the most prominent piece of your resume, so it is acceptable to make this one of the first sections for employers to see. You can also include your attendance dates, any honors received and GPA if above 3.4. If you attended multiple schools, include the most prominent one where you were most involved. Heres an example:

University of Hawaii, 20112016Bachelor of Arts in PsychologyBusiness Essentials CertificateTerry Scholar

Experienced Professional If youve been in the workforce for several years, move your education section below your professional experience. Your interviewers will be more interested in what youve achieved in recent years rather than in your academic career. You can also remove more specific details of your education section like attendance dates and GPA if youd like. The more you can create interest around your work experience, the better. If you have advanced degrees like your masters or PhD, include those in rank order of level . In this example, the candidate included two diplomas:

Atlanta Graduate School of Management | Atlanta, GAMasters of Business Administration Masters of Science in Information Systems

University of Georgia | Athens, GABachelors of Accountancy

If appropriate, consider adding these pieces of optional information:

Read more:

Also Check: Publications On A Resume

What Does And Doesnt Belong In The Education Section

Everything on your resume should have a single purpose: Demonstrating that youre a good fit for the position youre applying to. This means:

  • Tailor your resume. Add or remove experiences and qualifications from your experience section as necessary to fit each specific role.
  • If you don’t have much work experience: Expand your education section when you dont have a lot of work experience, or if the experience you do have isnt particularly relevant. On the other side, if your work experience is extensive or impressive on its own, anything else you add risks taking focus away from the parts you want to highlight.
  • If youre a career changer, fresh qualifications can help bridge the gap between your old industry and the new role you want.

Dont waste space with irrelevant information. Its better to keep your resume brief even if its under one page than to pad it out with fluff.

  • Tags:

Which Comes First: Education Or Work Experience

Its no secret that your education and work experience are the two integral sections that recruiters look for before hiring a job applicant. Because of that, you need to know how to position these sections strategically to get the interest of your hiring manager.

So the question is: Which of these two sections should come first? Whereas this is one of the usual issues facing an applicant during preparations, it ultimately depends on the purpose or nature of the resume. There are various instances and events that must be considered when placing education over your work experience. Here are some of them.

Also Check: How To Put Different Positions At Same Company On Resume

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High School Resume: How To Write Your First Resume (Plus Template)

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Also Check: How To Include Gpa On Resume

Prioritize Education Vs Experience

For college students or recent graduates, it can be difficult to decide whether to list your education or experience first. Notice in Jonathans resume below, he lists his education history first to showcase his student activity and accolades, like the Best Student Web Developer Award. Thats because his educational accomplishments demonstrate more enthusiasm and mastery of his technical abilities than his limited experience as a freelance web developer with just two work projects completed.

Not sure whether to list your education or experience section first? Figure out which one allows you to present your most pertinent and remarkable information. If your main selling points come from your college experience, then be sure to list your education section first. Then you can get really creative in emphasizing your academic history and accomplishments, as discussed next.

How To Write A Work Experience Section If Youre An Artist

Artists are, well, different. Because of that, it probably comes as a no surprise that their work experience is different too.

In short, as an artist you should say goodbye to wordy descriptions and focus almost entirely on your portfolio. But you already know that, dont you?

There are several options available and its only up to you which one will suit you the best. Polish up your social media profiles, create your own website, make sure to upload your portfolio to Behance or Dribble.

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What To Include In The Education Section Of Your Resume

Here’s an overview of what to include when you’re adding education to your resume.

School and degree. The essential information to include in the education section are your degree and the schools you attended.

Major and minor. You can also give more specific information, including your major and minor, as well as the year you graduated, although the latter is not required.

Your GPA. Include your grade-point average if you’re currently a student or are 1-2 years out of school and your GPA is strong . You may also want to consider including your in-major GPA if it’s higher than your overall GPA.

Honors and awards. Include any honors or awards you have received in school. These can range from Latin honors to deans list and other awards.

You can also include extracurricular clubs, charitable groups, or Greek organizations where you were active and/or held a leadership role.

Certifications, continuing education, and professional development. Include any professional development courses and certifications. You can list any licenses you have unless you have a separate section of your resume where you include this information.

Unemployment Rates Are Lower

Resume With Education First

The same US Bureau of Labor Statistics investigated the topic of unemployment and revealed some interesting data. For example, the percentage of unemployed with a doctoral or professional degree is less than 2%. People with a bachelors degree without a job make up a little over 2%. Besides, unemployed people without diplomas account for more than 5 percent.

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Should The Education Section Go First Or Last

In most cases, it makes sense to put the education section at the beginning of your entry-level resume, since you’re a college student or recent grad. But if you’ve got a lot of great internship, co-op or work experience closely related to your chosen field, position your experience section ahead of education.

Here’s another resume area where there’s no rule: Put it where it makes the most sense for you and your particular skills and experiences.

Tips For Listing Degrees

The readability of a resume can be the defining factor of whether or not a job recruiter or potential employer moves the candidate into the next phase of the hiring process.

As such, using clear and concise wording and formatting is essential for not just the education section, but for all sections.

Here are a few tips for different formatting options depending on the level and type of education you have completed.

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Dont Be Overly Cutesy

Most of us have stuff in our past that wed like to disguise on our resumes. If it happens that your Achilles heel falls in the education section, be strategic, of course, but not cheesy or dishonest. It probably wont end well. If you feel your education section is a little light, load this section with continuing education and professional coursework.

How To Write An Education Section

How to Format a Resume for Success in 5 Easy Steps | Indeed Career Tips

Here’s a quick guide on how to write a resume education section:

  • List the name of the school. This should go at the top, similar to how you’d list an employer in your work experience section.
  • Include the name of your degree.
  • List your graduation date. This is optional, especially if you graduated more than 10 years ago.
  • List any major awards, including magna cum laude or dean’s list.
  • If you’re a current student or recent graduate, you can consider including extra details like GPA or relevant coursework .
  • Recommended Reading: Relevant Coursework On Resume Example

    How To List Your High School Education On A Resume

    If you never went to college, your resumes education section is going to be pretty straightforward. All you have to do is list the name of your high school, its location and the dates. Theres no reason to complicate it any further.

    That is, unless youre less than three years out of high school. Then you can add anything that shows off your skills and achievements.

    • Add achievements. Include awards, extracurricular activities, honors, clubs and organizations you joined during high school.
    • Stay relevant. Only include information that pertains to a specific job opening. Keep an open mind and remember that transferable skills can make a huge difference too.

    Feel free to include details about any projects or clubs you joined while at school. Focus on including specific examples to demonstrate your motivation and initiative.

    Did you write for high school newspapers and published 16 articles? Then it deserves a mention in your education section!

    The bottom line is simple: Look for anything that helps you show your enthusiasm and work ethic.

    Think of clubs, organizations, extracurricular activities or even volunteer work. All of these can count as a major achievements if you dont have any other experiences yet.

    How To Write A Resume Education Section If You’re A Student

    As a student, you should place your education section at the beginning of your resume. Whether you already have some experience or not, employers will be interested to know that youre still a student.

    Include information about your extracurricular activities, relevant coursework or studying abroad.

    Is your final thesis related to the job youre pursuing? Then you should mention it! Explain how it pertains to the job opening.

    Internships. Paid or unpaid, it doesnt matter. The most important thing is that you can show youre motivated and willing to work.

    If you havent done any internships yet, its high time you applied. In most cases you dont need any previous experience to get one and it can help you acquire many valuable skills. Moreover, its something that will distinguish you from your peers once you start looking for a job after graduation.

    Finally, if youve already got your first degree, you can leave your high school degree out.

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    What Should Come First On Your Resume: Education Or Work Experience

    • grabs the attention of employers and recruiters
    • sells your strongest skills and accomplishments
    • shows how youre a match for a position or project
    • gets you a

    Case 1: You are a fresher.Education comes first if:Experience comes first if:Case 2: You are an experienced developer applying for the senior developer positionExperience comes first: Case 3: You are a data scientist applying for python programmer positionEducation comes first:

    How To List Education On A Resume With Examples

    How to List Education on a Resume [13+ Real

    The education section of your resume provides hiring managers with a detailed insight into your background and how it relates to the role. When written to reflect the job requirements, your education section can give you an advantage over other candidates. The best way to list your education depends on your work and academic achievements.

    There are several ways to list education on your resume. Reading and understanding the job description can help identify the perfect location and level of qualification to include when applying to a position. Not all jobs need your full credentials, so you can check the job listing to see what the hiring managers are looking for. In this article, you can learn about how to list your education on a resume.

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    Anything That Makes Your Resume More Than Two Pages

    Unless you have a Ph.D. and are writing an academic CV or unless youve been working for 10-15+ years your resume should not be more than two pages.

    For 60-70% of people, your resume should only be one page.

    So focus on whats most important and keep the length short.

    As a recruiter, Id rather see 8 specific skills that are relevant to the job Im hiring for, rather than a list of 30 general skills that youve used throughout your career but might not be relevant to the job. So make your resume laser-focused and target their needs!


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