Which parts of my education should I include on my CV?

Everyone’s CV is different and it can depend on the stage of your career, as well as the field in which you work. Choosing which parts of your education to list can be challenging and leave you with little space for other sections or details of the CV. So which qualifications and educational certificates are worth listing and significant to prospective employers?

We understand that writing an effective CV can be challenging and prioritising various aspects of your personal profile can be complicated. Read this blog post to understand more about the education section of the CV and which parts you should include.

Which parts of my education should I include in my CV?

Which parts of the education section to include for graduate students

If you recently left university, your main priority is listing your degree or postgraduate studies which are most influential.

You can still list other academic background, though other educational qualifications should be listed briefly and not explained in depth.

If you completed a PhD, you may feel it necessary to explain your studies further, such as modules, particular studies, etc.

Listing your education above your work experience is comprehensible, seeing as this is your most recent achievement and also a way of showing recruiters what you’ve been up to recently.

Which parts of the education section to include for jobseekers with experience

For jobseekers who have previous work experience, listing education on your CV is still important, although recruiters will be more focused on your work history.

Your highest academic qualification should be listed (i.e., degree or college course) and other information such as GCSEs or A levels should be kept to a one line explanation, if chosen to list at all.

There are no set rules as to how much of your education you should list on your CV, instead individuals may choose and decide for themselves what they feel is appropriate.

Another aspect to consider is the amount of space your CV grants you. If you have limited space, you should list your highest academic qualification and if you can, the penultimate academic qualification or course you did, as well.

How much academic background should you include on a CV

Where should you put the education section on your CV?

A frequent question asked with a variety of answers.

The general suggestion for those with previous work experience in the same job sector is that the education section is listed after the work experience section. If you have previous work history which relates to the job for which you are applying, it is much more effective to list your work experience first and then your academic background. Recruiters will be looking for experience and want to know which jobs you have had, what you did and what responsibilities you had.

However, if you graduated or left school recently, you may choose to highlight your academic background and your recent qualifications or academic certificates by placing the education section at the beginning of you CV.

If you went back to college or university, you can reinforce this by including your education section before your work experience. This also shows your recent activity and whereabouts, updating hiring managers and demonstrating what you have been doing recently.

How to include education and academic background on a CV

The way you format the education section of a CV will depend on the way you have formatted the rest of you CV.

If you have a long list of work experience which is relevant to the job role, you may choose to compact the way you list your education.

Course details such as the school, institute, college or university, dates, qualification title and any other relevant information should be listed.

Summarise any details, such as modules and grades without forming long lists. For example, instead of listing all your GCSE subjects and grades, you can simply write:

10 GCSEs grades B-C

Note: it’s not compulsory to list your grades on a CV. If you feel more comfortable listing subjects without grades, then do so; however, be prepared to answer interviewers in the case that they enquire about your grades.

Never include primary school education on your CV, unless stated by hiring managers.

Listing unfinished courses

This is a complicated and personal topic which depends entirely on the individual. If you started a one year course and dropped out two weeks in, it’s not acceptable to list the course. However, if you studied a three year course and completed two out of three years, it is worth mentioning the unfinished course on your CV.

In the case that you decide to list an unfinished course, you should be prepared to explain why at any possible interviews.

If you feel that the course is important or that your expertise in an area relevant to the job improved, it is worth listing the unfinished course.

Don’t forget: You should state that the course is either ongoing or unfinished.

For more information, read about how to write the education section of your CV or use an online CV builder to design a flawless CV.