Education is fast becoming a new standard in the world of recruitment. Is it enough anymore to simply list your studies and the year completed?

The education component of your resume is often the first port of call for many recruiters, yet overlooked by the majority of applicants.

A great application should be concise and relevant to the job you are applying to, in order to be scanned over quickly. This means that if you’re hoping to land a job in digital communications, pre-apprenticeship training shouldn’t be top of the list to qualify your skills set.

Before you send off your application to a potential employer, revise the academic component of your resume first. When you have less than 6 seconds to grab the attention of a recruiter, it’s important that your application makes a great first impression. Undertaking study demonstrates dedication, hard work and passion – leading qualities every employer is looking for.

1. Go Back Through Your History

If you’ve only recently graduated, then recounting your academic history should be straightforward. For those established professionals who have long left the classroom behind, this is a crucial first step to building out the education section of your resume.

The best practice is to include your highest level of education first, then work backwards.

Take note of the exact graduation year and institute that you attended. Once you have made mention of your major qualifications, start to evaluate any short-term education experiences that you have been involved in.

Short courses, workshops and community classes suggest a diverse academic history and show a balance between your career aspirations and personal interests.

2. Which of These Are Relevant?

Make a brief mention in your cover letter of your most recent education. As a general rule, this means any training that has been undertaken within the last year. This will help to separate your achievements and enhance readability in the education section of your resume.

If you have over five years of industry experience, this is a great method to highlighting your knowledge without adjusting the hierarchy of your application.

Demonstrate a commitment to your industry beyond the ‘stock standard’ education pathway by making mention of any unique experiences that are directly applicable to your job.

Further learning suggests to an employer an open mind and proactive attitude – the hallmark of innovators.

3. Highlight Outstanding Awards

If you are a recent university graduate with a notably high GPA or have finished a TAFE course and had your project featured, these are special achievements that deserve an inclusion.

As education pathways continue to become more accessible, it is harder to stand out amongst the sea of credentials. By clearly showing a point of difference you can position yourself as a unique candidate in the job search.

Awards are a fantastic method to bring out your best qualities on paper, without repeating what you have already said. If you were elected keynote speaker for a university presentation, this shows confidence and leadership without needing to spell it out.

Show, don’t tell. Remember – the significance of an award will change as you progress in your career. You should review your resume at the end of each year to ensure that all content is relevant.

4. What Did You Learn?

If you make a special point of mention for your academic experience, include a brief sentence that can outline what you gained from the course. Keep this concise and applicable.

Don’t only explain that you learnt to use excel – say that you now understand how to create a complex pivot table in Excel. This is a subtle distinction that will help recruiters to gauge the level of training required and where you will fit in the business.

If some of your education was taken as part of a hobby, it could still be useful for your resume. There are particular attributes that are universally appreciated by every industry, such as teamwork, independent thought and creativity.

5. Get An Academic Reference

If your course leader or lecturer is a respected industry figure, name-dropping them in a reference is one way to qualify your resume. If they are associated with an outstanding company or institute, mention this in their title to give a recruiter some context.

Strong mentors are an important part of the learning journey and cultivate your professional character.

Before you include an academic reference on your resume, ensure that you let them know they will be featured. Give a reference some background as to the industry and position type that you are looking to apply for.

This will give them the information to prepare to answer a range of questions and place you in the most favourable light for a potential employer.

Written By
Caroline Schmidt writes the blogs for Kangan Institute. She is passionate about education, careers, and giving advice to students of all ages.