Even before you graduate, you’ll likely find yourself applying for internships, summer positions, research work, or assistantships. The time to have your CV ready to go is now. In fact, you may have already begun working on yours.
If you don’t have a significant amount of work experience, you’ll have to rely largely on your academic background to make yourself appealing to potential employers. To do this, you should be certain to include the following eight points when addressing your education on your CV.
1. Always Include the Essentials
When you list your educational background, there is some information that should always be included with each entry. This includes:
- The name of the school and where it is located
- Dates of attendance
- Graduation date
- Anticipated graduation date
- The degree or certificate you obtained
- Your major or academic discipline
- Your Grade Point Average
- Noteworthy courses, research projects, publications
- Activities, rewards, scholarships, and citations
2. Put Your Educational Information in the Right Spot
Your next consideration is where you will put your educational history on your CV. Specifically, should it come before or after your work experience?
That depends. If you are a current student or recent graduate with limited work experience, list your education first. If you are a student who also has relevant work experience, then list that first.
Just know that there is an exception to that second bit of advice. If you have recently returned to school to seek a career change, then your education should come first.
3. The Order of Your Education is Important as Well
If you have finished a degree, that entry should come first. Start with your highest degree. Any other entries you have should be listed in reverse chronological order. You should list every school you attended, even if you did not graduate. The only difference is that you would just use ‘dates attended’ in the entry instead of date graduated.
4. Be Consistent
No matter which order you choose, the information you include, or where you put your school entries, consistency is key. Include the same information with each entry, and structure each the same.
Also, use the same date formats, abbreviations, etc. For example, if you write that you obtained a Master of Arts in one entry, don’t use the abbreviation MA in another.
5. Avoid Jargon in Most Cases
Keep in mind that the person who first reads your CV may not be an expert in your field. They may likely be an HR staffer who decides if your CV makes the cut, and whether you’ll make it to the interview stage or not. Write your CV for them.
Don’t use acronyms, obscure abbreviations, or terms that are too technical for the average person. If you must use a word or phrase that isn’t going to be immediately familiar, provide a quick definition.
What if you’re sure your CV will be read by an academic type or industry pro? You should still scale back on the jargon. Use it too much, and it can seem as if you are trying to impress via big words instead of your education and experience.
6. Consider a Separate Section for Awards
If you have received multiple awards, been published in a respected journal, or done something else that was noteworthy, consider creating an additional section of your CV just for those. However, if you do this, don’t list awards as part of our educational entries.
Don’t worry. As long as this section of your CV is written well, it won’t seem self-aggrandizing. Use tools like TopEssayWriting, ClassyEssay, WhiteSmoke, and BeGraded to ensure this part of your CV is impressive without being over the top.
7. Emphasize Your Skills
In most cases, students should use a functional CV. This is one that emphasizes your skills more than your experience. This is better when what you have learned is more the result of education than on the job experience. As you go through your educational background, begin a list of valuable skills. Ask yourself what marketable skills you learned at each school.
Even if you haven’t picked up a specific, hard skill, there’s a chance you’ve developed some soft skills. In higher education, you learn how to research, work to truly understand problems, work in teams, and engage your creative problem-solving abilities.
8. Should You Add Additional Sections?
Some students choose to add additional sections that cover topics such as hobbies and interests, or community service. They might also add an awards section if they have several, and want them to stand out.
You might consider doing this if your overall CV is pretty sparse. However, if it spills over into more than one page, you should avoid this. The ‘meat’ of your CV should really be education and work experience.
Miles Richardson, a writer at Studyker says, “I remind students who need help with CV and resumes that brevity is key. It isn’t that their CV should never be more than one page. It’s just that it should only be longer than that with very good reason. It helps to think from the perspective of a weary HR person who’s already read three dozen CVs today.”
As a student, your educational experiences, research, assistantships, etc. are an important part of your CV. In fact, in most cases, these are what you should emphasize above all else. By following the points above, you can be sure that your education section is complete, and that it is meaningful to hiring managers.
Angela Baker is a freelance writer who takes pride in her ambition, and willingness to do what it takes to further her career. She works primarily as a contributing writer for the websites WriteScout and Subjecto. She also frequently contributes guest posts and articles to a variety of other publications. She is a lifelong learner who is always seeking new ways to develop both personally and professionally. It is her hope that others find inspiration, not just in her content, but in her efforts. In addition to writing content, she also writes for the well-known lifestyle magazine for professional women, LiveInspiredMagagine.
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