Education and Training Are Key Resume Builders – Make it Count!

Millions of job seekers looking for great career opportunities pound the pavement and troll the on-line job boards monthly with resumes in hand. Unfortunately many of those resumes will be less than perfect. Frankly, most will be bad.

Despite the volume of FREE resume writing advice on line, in college career centers and libraries stocked with FREE job search resources, most job seekers still do a last minute rush job with their resumes and hope for the best.

If you are an upcoming college grad trying to write a targeted resume here are some pointers to focus attention on the Education section of your resume.

1. Move Education close to the top of the resume – The EDUCATION section on the college resume immediately follows the RESUME OBJECTIVE, if you choose to have one. It should not go to the bottom of the resume or after your EXPERIENCE. The fact that you are completing your college degree is the single most marketable thing that employers are interested in right now. It needs to be in the top 30% of your resume.

2. High School Activities – As a rule, do not mention High School beyond your college Sophomore year unless you had a significant and outstanding accomplishments there. For example if you held leadership roles, set academic or athletic records and you can add them without exceeding a page – go ahead and include them. If you are in college and beyond your Sophomore year, you should have had enough activities in college to replace the ones from high school. If you do not, make that your goal. If you are a skilled worker without a college degree, try to focus on any on-the-job training or apprenticeships you have done.

3. Can You Name Your Degree or certificate? Visit the Registrar’s office on campus to find out the correct name of your program. Did you receive a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration or a Bachelor in Business Administration? Is it a BS, BA or BBA? You should know this and state it correctly on your college resume.

4. Major – What was your area of emphasis within your degree? Was there an emphasis? Did you double major? Did you have a Minor?

5. Coursework and Projects – When listing relevant coursework on the college resume, avoid repeating the subject names. Listing both English “I” & English “II” really means nothing to the recruiter. Eliminate “I” & “II” and try “English, 2 years” instead. It saves space and gives a sense of advanced studies. Include non-trivial projects and coursework that demonstrate your ability to work with teams or practically apply your knowledge.

6. Graduation Date – Many college students, grads and anew alumni will add the date they started college, but omit the date they will actually graduate. Do not leave the recruiter guessing about your graduation date. This is important especially if you are not on the 4-year or 5-year college track anymore.

7. Status – If you are a college student are you a Freshman, Sophomore, Junior or Senior? If you started college, but did not finish your program, state the number of credits accumulated. This really gives recruiters a sense of how much knowledge you might have already acquired and therefore what internship roles within the company might be best for you.

8. GPA – Is it a requirement for the college students’ resume? NO it is not. Will it work against you if you omit it from your resume? It very well could. The fact is that recruiters want to know what your college GPA is. If low, it is better to let them know up front but have an explanation for why it is low, rather than try to hide it. Without an explanation, the recruiter might second guess your qualifications or think that you have a poor work ethic. State both Overall GPA and a Major GPA if it tells a better story.

9. Certifications, Honors and Awards – Did you gain any certifications throughout your college experience? Food Safety, CPR or technical certifications like Cisco Certification are a great way to showcase a commitment to go above and beyond. Highlighting academic honors and awards you received will go a long way to set you apart from other candidates as well.

10. Language and Technical Proficiencies – Do NOT claim technical or language proficiencies that you do not possess. It only takes a simple conversation for a recruiter to spot a fake quickly. It is so much more powerful to leave it off the college resume, but mention knowledge of a language or technical skill in the interview.

Once your resume is complete, have it proof read by a career professional. Many online services are available to help you with FREE resume critiques and can offer feedback to help you increase positive response to your resume.