Education on a Resume

The Education and Training section on a resume often provides a hurdle to job seekers but it is really the easiest section to create on a resume. The question of GPA arises as does what training to include and what training should be excluded. Should seminars and conferences be included? What about individual classes?

The entire Education section of a resume must be viewed in terms of relevance. Is the information relevant to the current career target? For example, a CEO with thirty years experience in banking and a Master of Science in Finance should not list his GPA for his Bachelor’s degree. It’s not relevant. A new graduate of a four-year college would list his/her GPA on a resume (if it’s high enough) since it is relevant to performance in the career target.

Long listings of training seminars from years ago are not relevant on a resume. It does not matter if you took a class in Windows 95 ten years ago. It is not relevant to today’s workplace. What would be relevant today? Perhaps classes in security or real estate investing or Chinese would be relevant to today’s workplace. As a rule of thumb, look at the last three years of your educational experience if you are an experienced professional in the workforce. In those three years, decide which classes, seminars, conferences, or training programs that you have taken are relevant to your current career target.

New graduates should only include the GPA if it is a benefit and not a negative. Depending on the field of study, GPAs from 3.2 to 4.0 are usually eligible for a mention plus any honor societies, scholarships, etc. that apply. If you do not have a high GPA, do not despair. Many hiring managers actually prefer a lower GPA coupled with real-world activities such as part-time jobs because it shows a more well-rounded graduate rather than a book worm.

Continuing education units earned through classes or conferences should be noted if they have occurred within the past year. Special certifications or licenses should be noted, too, if they apply.

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