Many job applicants never include their coursework on a resume. And while it makes sense for experienced candidates, it is absolutely unforgivable for recent graduates. Even if you had a job during your college years, most likely it was not as skilled as the one you are looking for now. Thus, listing relevant coursework on resume is an absolute must.
Of course, not all of it was important and relevant. Sometimes you could just buy coursework online to have more time for internships and other useful activities. That’s why you cannot list everything you’ve done during your 2-6 years in college actually as much of it is simply irrelevant.
We tried to make your job easier and sort out the most crucial guidelines for listing relevant coursework on resume.
Hopefully, this little Q&A section will help you determine if you need coursework on your resume.
Tips for Including Relevant Coursework on Resume
So, if you established that you’ve got some resume relevant coursework to include, here are some helpful tips.
Keep It Short
Even if your every course was critical to your professional success, your resume does not offer infinite space. Plus, do not forget that just in 10 years the workforce will consist almost entirely of millennials, who are notorious for their short attention spans.
It is also absolutely unnecessary to include words such as “Introduction” as well as numbers. Your employer won’t know that Calculus 3 is like super advanced. So, if it does you no good, there is no need to include it.
Your resume related coursework should be separated from your work experience with a horizontal line. Do not forget to put the word “Education” in bold and preferably even center it on the page. Having a good styling on your resume is the equivalent of dressing up for the interview.
There is no need to list your PE course if you are applying for a programming position. The company does not care about how versatile you are. They just want you to do the job and be useful. So, if you are aspiring for a tech position, list a programming course or even a degree you are pursuing, even if you have not gotten it yet.
Many employers use ATS or the applicant tracking system to weed out unsuitable candidates. ATS is based on the keywords which are usually industry-specific. So, if one of the listed requirements is proficiency in Python, you should include this word in your resume. Try not to be too general when describing your skills. Otherwise, you may be eliminated at the earliest stages.
Coursework descriptions are usually not necessary. But when you’ve got no related work experience, they become your lifeline. After listing the name of the course, you should write a short sentence, describing the skill you gained and the application of that skill. You may also mention the acquired results.
Do not make up numbers just to sound impressive. However, if you do have statistics of your coursework, never forget to include it in your resume. For instance, if you know that your engineering project increased efficiency by 20%, do mention it.
If you graduated with honors, don’t be humble about it. Your GPA usually says nothing to your potential employer (unless you contrast it with the average GPA in your university). Graduating with honors, on the contrary, speaks for itself.
Where to Put Resume Related Coursework?
If you’ve just graduated and have little to none working experience, you will naturally put it top of the page. It also makes sense in cases when you are applying for an education/academia job. If, however, you’ve already got some working experience, and you do not plan on becoming a teacher, the “education” section should always be below the “work experience” section.
If you’ve got some volunteering experience, you should also include it in the “education” section. The only criterion here is, of course, relevance. If you are applying for a journalist position, and you volunteered for the local news channel, it should definitely be located in the most prominent position on your resume.
Even though most employers do look for work experience when it comes to recent graduates, do not despair if you don’t have much of it. Most of the times it is not your fault. Internships are extremely competitive, and the coursework can be grueling.
You did not study four (or more) years in vain. Even in the academic setting you can acquire admirable skills, so never hesitate to include them in your resume. Most colleges nowadays are not all about theory and can actually provide valuable work experience right in the classroom.