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Education: Fly the Flag or Bury the Treasure?
September 26, 2014
You’ve been told you should ALWAYS list your education first, across the top of your resume (or, you’re so dang proud of that tasseled cap you just want to sing it from the rooftops!) But wait! An expert comes along and says NEVER list it at the top - it should always be placed at the bottom! Oh this is soooooo confusing!
What if you didn’t finish your degree? Or worse yet, what if…
Oh crap! Not that!
It’s all okay! We’re here to help you sort through it! With an endless maze of options and warring voices at every turn it’s a wonder you get any job searching done at all.
Let’s start with a few basic premises:
Recruiters need the skinny on your education
Recruiters DON’T want your education rammed down their throats
Recruiters won’t necessarily read down to the bottom of the resume
The amount of info you reveal about your education needs to be in line with the OTHER details of your resume so that you tell a cohesive “story” about who you are as a candidate
The top of your resume (the “Summary”, boys and girls) should reflect only the most brief and relevant details about you, because it is the thesis that tells the recruiter how to read what will follow
(This one’s my favorite!) Other candidates aren’t reading this fabulous new blog so their resume (in the same recruiter’s inbox as yours, and vying for the same job!) won’t be as fab! :)
Ready for the nitty gritty? You got it! It doesn’t get any easier than this:
Got a degree or two or six that relate to your current career? Always list them at the bottom of the resume, with a quick nod up top in the Summary (so it isn’t missed) and a mention in the cover letter (so the recruiter knows the resume is worth reading)
Got a diploma in something else? Do the same as step 1, but leave off the major when you mention it in the Summary and cover letter
Got some college, but no degree? Do the same as steps 1 and 2, but instead of stating the year (e.g. 2004) to reflect when you graduated, put the range of the years you attended college consecutively (e.g. 2004-2007) or the sporadic years you attended (e.g. 2001-2002, 2006, and 2009)
No college coursework under your belt? Not to worry! Focus more on the wealth of skills or experiences you have!
Stop lugging that boulder of worry or shame around! It’s time you kept it simple! Use these tips and you’ll be surprised how much more mature and polished your educational references will make your resume seem!
What about listing your high school you say? Don’t do it?? No! Not ever! The ONLY time high school education should be listed is if you’re applying for a lower-wage, entry-level work (like fast food, housekeeping, or telemarketing) and they want to make sure you have a diploma or a GED.
Moral of the story? Don’t fly a flag OR bury the treasure! Instead, mention it briefly up front, let your work experience and skills take center stage, and then tie it up at the bottom by giving the specifics!