Alright, we’re getting near the end! These final few sections are pretty short, but they are important to get right. This resume is your ticket to the next phase of your life so don’t get lazy in the final stretch of getting this thing finished up.
So this section is pretty straight forward. You’ll be listing any degrees and diplomas you have.
If you have a college degree, do not list your high school diploma. You have to graduate from high school or have a GED in order to get into college, so it’s common practice to not list your high school diploma. However, if you have not graduated from college yet, definitely list your high school diploma. There are plenty of folks out there who never graduated from high school and you don’t want to be lumped into that group if you can avoid it.
In terms of how to format your degree or diploma, I recommend the following.
List where you went to school with the year graduated. The beneath write what your degree was (BS, BA, MS, etc.) and then what your focus was (English, Poli Sci, etc.). If you graduated summa cum alphabet, definitely include this. This is the same as with honors, distinguished graduate, etc. Yours truly doesn’t have any of those distinctions and I still found a job so don’t worry if you didn’t graduate at the top of your class.
Perhaps one of the most common questions when dealing with the education section is – do I include my GPA? Easy answer: If you have a 3.0 or better, yes; if you have below a 3.0, no. I’ve been through my fair share of interviews and no one has ever asked what my GPA was. You may see it on job applications and I have sent my transcript in. But, typically the further you are removed from your time in college, the less relevant your GPA is. This is because the employer is more interested in what you’ve actually done on the job. However, if you do have over a 3.0, include it.
I was recently investigating getting my MBA (got accepted to UMD, woo go terps!), and I actually filtered my search based on whether I had to take the GMAT or not. Mainly because I knew it would be several months of cramming and I didn’t want to have to deal with that. It turns out, many schools no longer require the GMAT if you have “x” number of years of experience working. In the University of Maryland’s case, I had to write a letter requesting a waiver from taking the exam, and fortunately it got approved. I also looked into UNC, and in their case, if you had 7 years of work experience or more, you were automatically exempt. Having said this, GRADES AND TEST SCORES STILL MATTER! Don’t get me wrong, grades matter – don’t want that to get misconstrued.
Often times, many veterans used tuition assistance (TA) while on active duty to work towards a degree. However, those degrees aren’t always completed.
If you are actively working towards a degree, include the degree and your prospective graduation year in the education section. However, if you have been working on a degree for more than 3-4 years, with no sign of graduating anytime soon, or no specific plan, don’t include it. See if you can wrap up an associates or get some sort of credit for what you’ve accomplished so far. But, if you have some sort of long term incomplete degree, you’re sending the message to the reader that you can’t finish something important. Which is the opposite of what you want to do during the interview process.
Lastly, we’ll cover where this section should go. Normally, I recommend all sections go in the exact order prescribed in our resume format post. However, if you recently graduated with a degree, or are scheduled to graduate soon (ie, in the next year), you can put your education section closer to the front of your resume. In this case I’d recommend after the key skills section. Here’s why: you likely need that degree to get the job, and that job likely requires a skill set you attained while earning your degree. Additionally, it’s unlikely you have relevant experience (otherwise why get the degree?), so you want to show up front, “Hey, I haven’t worked in this field yet, but I got my degree in it. Continue reading my professional experience to see what I accomplished before/during college.”
Honestly, that’s it. It’s a short section so we kept this post short. As always if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email me at Pat@TransitionVetCoach.com.
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