The CV education section: a guide

When you’re looking for a (new) job, you want to make sure you have a good and professional CV. An essential part of this CV is the education section. Many people tend to focus on the work experience or personal statement, but the education section is worth spending some time on. Are you still in secondary school, have you just finished university or been working for some years? What your education section on your CV looks like heavily depends on where you are in your career. If you’re unsure what to include or where to place the education section on your CV, or if you just want some tips to make sure your education section stands out, keep reading. In this article, we’ll tell you all you need to know about the CV education section.
 

How to add education to your CV

When adding education to your CV, there is a specific structure in which to do so. It goes as follows:

  1. Add the level of education you’ve completed or are currently studying.
  2. Next, add the name of the institution you have learned or are studying at.
  3. Next, add the name of the course you’ve completed or are studying.
  4. Finally, you should add the date you’ve completed your degree, unless you feel this may lead to ageism.
  5. If you’re currently studying, you can write in progress where you’d usually put the date.

 
Depending on where you are in your career and how much room you have in the education section on your CV, you could also add:

  • Modules you’ve taken or are currently taking.
  • The title of your dissertation.
  • Your final grade.
  • Your A-levels.
  • Your GCSEs.

 

What to include in your education section in your CV

The most important thing to know before you start is what education to include on your CV. As we mentioned previously, this depends on where you are in your career. You want to keep your CV short, concise and relevant, so if you’ve been working in the same field for ten years, there’s no need to add your A-level or GCSE certificates. On the other hand, if you’ve left school, you may want to add other relevant training or courses to prevent an empty gap in your CV. Here’s what to include on your CV education in a few different scenarios:

What to include as a working professional

If you’ve been working for a few years, you’ll want to save space on your CV for all the relevant work experience you have. Most of your credentials for working professionals such as yourself will come from the work experience part of your CV, rather than your education. However, an employee may want to know what you’ve been trained in or what course you followed at university. As a working professional, your CV education should include any of the following:

  • PhD degree;
  • Masters degree;
  • Bachelors degree.

 
If you haven’t completed any of these, you can add:

  • A college degree;
  • Relevant courses;
  • Relevant training;
  • Apprenticeships.

 
As a working professional, you want to keep the list of education concise. Only add the levels, names of the degrees and names of the institutions. Stay away from adding too much detail, such as courses or grades.

What to include when you’ve recently graduated

As a recent graduate, you may not have as much work experience as someone who has been working for a few years. This leaves you with some more space in the education part of your CV. You can include:

  • PhD degree;
  • Masters degree;
  • Bachelors degree;
  • College degree;
  • Secondary school;
  • Apprenticeships;
  • Any relevant training or courses.

 
You likely have some more space on your CV, so you can add more detail to this area. Add the key modules and the title of your dissertation. If you’ve received a strong grade, such as a 2:1 or higher, add that too.

What to include if you haven’t finished your course

If you haven’t completed your course, you may worry that you won’t have anything to add to your CV in terms of education. You may want to leave any unfinished degrees out of your CV. Instead, you could include:

  • Other degrees you did finish, such as secondary school and/or college;
  • Your GCSE certificates;
  • Your A-level certificates;
  • Apprenticeships;
  • Relevant courses such as online courses with certificates or training.

 
If leaving out the unfinished degree leaves too much of a gap, you could still add it:

  • Mention the level of the degree, such as university-level studies.
  • Note modules that you have completed.
  • Add the date on which you included these studies.

What to include if you’re still in school

If you’re still in school, you won’t have much work experience or education to fill up your CV. However, you could still add:

  • The degree you’re currently studying, just make sure to add in progress and/or the date you’re expected to graduate;
  • Modules you’re presently following;
  • Projects, essays and/or dissertations;
  • Relevant clubs or societies that you’re a member of;
  • Other appropriate student activities;
  • Lower level qualifications, such as your GCSEs and A-levels.

 

Where to add education on your CV

Now you know what to add to your CV in terms of education, it’s time to think about the structure of your CV altogether. You can go two ways: you can add your education before your work experience, or the other way around. This depends on which is going to help you impress the recruiter.

Scenario one: You’ve been working in the same field for quite a few years now. You’ve worked your way up and had different positions in this field. Your work experience section of your CV will be the thing that impresses the recruiter, so this is what you want to lead with.

Scenario two: You’ve been studying hard for the past few years and haven’t had time for work. That’s why you don’t have that much work experience yet. However, you have just completed your master’s degree in the field you want to work in. That’s your ticket to impressing the recruiter.

Scenario three: You’ve been working for some years but are now looking for a career change and have recently completed some courses relevant to your new field. In this case, you’ll want to add your education first. Then, even though you have more work experience, your education will be more relevant.

Even though you may want to start initially, that’s not how you should add any experience to your CV. Instead, start with your most recent education, and work backwards chronologically. For example, you would start the education section on your CV with your university degree and work your way back to your A-levels.
 

5 final tips for your CV education section

By now, you’re probably ready to add your education to your CV. Before you go, here are final reminders to help you on your way:

  1. First, be consistent with your layout.
  2. If you’re still studying, add the date you’re expected to graduate.
  3. Save space by adding only the most relevant educational experience.
  4. Keep it short and concise.
  5. Start with the most relevant degree and work backwards chronologically.

 

CV education examples

When creating your CV, you may want to look at some examples to inspire you. If you’re looking for examples of full CV’s, take a look at our article on CV examples. Would you rather have some examples of the education part on your CV? Maybe these can be of use:

CV education examples

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FAQ

  • How do you write the education section on your CV?
    Start with your most recent education and continue backwards chronologically. Add the level of the degree, the name of the degree and the name of the institution. You can also opt to add more detail, such as modules, grades and thesis titles.
  • What is education on your CV?
    The education section on your CV is where you add your previous education. Make sure to only add the most relevant information
  • Should I add my GCSEs to my CV?
    What certificates to put on your resume (CV) depends on whether you think they will help you get the job. If you’ve got tons of work experience and your GCSEs or A-levels are no longer relevant, you can omit these. However, if you’re still in school or recently finished, you can add them to strengthen your CV.