A group of students attend their graduation ceremony, having completed their higher education they are now ready to enter the workplace

How to Include Education on Your CV When Applying For Jobs

Hannah Mason
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How to Include Education on Your CV When Applying For Jobs

Hannah Mason • May 27, 2022

Everything you need to know about including your education in your CV

Like many people, your education may be very important to you, you possibly spent a great deal of time and money achieving the qualifications that you have, your formal education may even have played a large role in deciding the trajectory of your career thus far, and your education may be a key factor in deciding your next career move.

Conversely your education may be a distant memory, it may have absolutely no bearing on the career that you are currently pursuing, or, you may have very little in the way of formal education or qualifications to speak of.

The question in both scenarios is, 'what role should education play on your CV?'

In this article I'm going to answer this question, plus reveal where I, as a professional CV writer, place education and qualifications on a CV, and how I use both to enhance and compliment a candidate's experience and skills.

At the end of this article I'll also provide you examples of how to format the education section of your CV in line with modern standards and CV writing best practice. If you would like to download a MS Word CV template with the education section already formatted, click here.

How should you include your education on your CV?

Like anything that you include on your CV, whether you're writing your CV from scratch or using a CV template, your education should be used to enhance your profile, it should improve your chances of securing the role that you want, and should not distract from this in any way.

Included on your CV in the right way, your education can strengthen your personal brand and help you to powerfully articulate you story and the value that you can add to an organisation.

This means that before you simply tag your education on the end of your CV, you should consider how it enhances your overall suitability for the role for which you are applying.

If your education is very relevant for the job you are applying to then it should be featured on the first page of your CV above your experience section. Your education would normally be considered relevant if it is within the same field for which you are working. For example, a Finance Degree for an accountancy role or an MBA for a Management Consultancy position.

It would also be considered relevant if you are a recent graduate with limited work experience, as it shows your ability to learn and demonstrates your level of training and knowledge.

However, if you did not achieve a high level of education, did not study in any particular field, or you left school or university more than ten years’ ago, then your experience is probably going to be much more relevant than your education. In this case, add your education section below the experience section.

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Follow these guidelines when including education on your CV

Regardless of where you put your education section on your CV, you should follow the following guidelines:

Do:

• Include the dates that you were in education.

• Include the name of the educational institution you attended.

• Include the location of your place of education.

• Include the grade achieved if it will enhance your application.

• Pay attention to spelling and capitalisation.

• Note that the correct format for degrees is as follows: Master of Science or Bachelor of Arts or master’s degree or bachelor’s degree.

• Note that 'Masters' or 'bachelors' written without the apostrophe is always incorrect.

• Remember, educational institutes and city or country should aways start with a capital letter. 

Don’t:

• Don’t include your primary school education, in fact, any education prior to university can be left off your CV once you have reached this level.

• As a general rule, don't include more than 2 levels of education. E.g. undergraduate and post graduate degree or A levels and undergraduate degree.

• Don’t add your grades if you feel that they will detract value from your application (unless they are required).

Let's look at two examples of the education section on a CV

Education on a CV

What about professional qualifications on your CV?

If you are working in an industry that requires a professional qualification, then you should feature this prominently on the front page of your CV, especially if the qualification is specified in the job description. I’d suggest adding it either directly before or after your summary profile. You can also add the letters after your name.

Do:

• Ensure you include all relevant details. This is usually where you qualified, when you qualified and potentially the level or grade you achieved. 

Don’t:

• Don't miss-spell anything. This is true for your whole CV, but whereas other mistakes may be forgiven, a mistake in your qualifications or job title is simply something that may get your CV rejected.
• Don’t add every qualification you have ever received. Focus on the qualifications which are relevant to the role. This is usually a maximum of two or three professional qualifications.

Conclusion

Adding your education and professional qualifications to your CV should be done to enhance your overall profile and strengthen your application. Your education should not distract from your professional work experience, and should be highlighted only where it is relevant to the role for which you are applying.

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