You may be thinking about gaining additional educational credentials during the quarantine. The quarantine periods for some of us could last a full college semester (I hope not!) so advancing your education could be an outstanding option if you are close to a degree.
There are three main reasons you must have degrees and certificates on your resume:
- You will automatically be disqualified from many jobs if you do not have a degree or a required certification on your resume.
- Employers often will offer you a higher starting salary if you have a verifiable degree,
- Research shows that people with higher levels of formal education earn more money during their careers.
We recommend that you must include your highest level of education on your resume whether you choose to improve your education now, or advance your career with the education you already have.
Your will be eliminated if education is not on your resume!
About 12 years ago, I recommended a colleague for a position at an organization where I was a member of the advisory board. My contact at the organization also was acquainted with my colleague because she was once a student in their program. My co-worker and I expected her to be interviewed because the program director knew me, and was acquainted with her, but she did not get a call.
I asked the program director what happened. She told me that my colleague had no education on the résumé. The job required at least a high school diploma. My co-worker has a high school diploma and credits at community college, but this information was not on her résumé. As a result, she was not selected for interview.
The lesson I learned from this episode was that it is crucial to reflect a job candidate’s education on the résumé. Employers will not assume that you have a high school diploma or college degree because “everyone that works in this business has a diploma or degree,” or “everyone” has a high school diploma.
Your level of formal education is important.
You are likely to earn more if you learn more. Department of Labor statistics show that people with more education earn more, and that the unemployment rate among people with more education is lower. Economic research I read some years ago states that people with more education have higher lifetime earnings, too.
Of course, “Individual experiences differ, however, depending on factors such as your field of degree and your occupation,” according to the Labor Department.
This means it is important to show your level of education on your résumé because it may determine whether you will be considered for the job, and how much you will earn.
I discovered that I was the highest-paid employee in my job title at one job because I was the only one in the title that had an advanced degree. The takeaway is that you should avoid the temptations to “dumb down” your resume, because omitting the degree could cost you salary at job offer time.
The year you received your degree or diploma may not be important.
The year you earned your diploma or degree is not as important as whether or not you have the degree. It may be to your advantage for you to include the year if you received your degree or diploma within the last five to seven years. If you finished school before 2010 it is not advantageous to list the year. The year you finished your credential suggests your age—something employers do not need to know.
The only information I list in an education entry is the degree, field of study, school, and its location. I don’t include the high school diploma if the job candidate has a college degree, or a significant amount of college coursework—say 60 or more college credits. The vast majority of job candidates with college degrees or significant college coursework have a high school diploma, so it is not necessary to include it. An education section might read something like:
M.B.A., Information Systems, New York University, Stern School of Business, New York, NY
B.A., Economics, New York University, Washington Square College, New York, NY
Many professional résumé writers prefer to spell out the full official name of the degree, such as Bachelor of Arts. Either format is acceptable, in my view, since terms such as “BA” are commonly recognized abbreviations.
Often, job candidates are surprised that I do not recommend including a lot of detail about honors, or specific courses. Employers, for the most part, are concerned only that we have the degree, and what school can verify that we have the degree. They will request transcripts with details later in the hiring process, so gather transcripts and diplomas for later use.
Licenses, certificates, and certifications could be crucial in your industry.
Many of us have specific licenses, certifications, or certificates that are either required by law, or under industry standards, for our jobs. I normally list these certifications in a separate section above the education section. It is a good idea to separate licenses, certifications, and certificates from formal education because you may want to list the date of issue or most recent renewal. We do not include the dates of our college degrees or high school diplomas, in many cases. For example, we might write something like this for a supervisory truck driver:
CDL, NYS Department of Motor Vehicles, Albany, NY (2013)
B.S., Transportation Planning, School, City, ST
It is not necessary to list specific license numbers and exact dates. Employers will request this information later in the hiring process.
Select a legitimate school for additional education.
The topic of selecting a school is too big for us to address in detail here. Suffice to say that you are wasting your time if the school you choose is not accredited through an organization that is recognized by the US Department of Education. A colleague of mine cried when she discovered that her hard-won teaching degree from a profit-making online college was not accepted for a New York City Teachers’ License.
We typically place education, certification, and licenses near the bottom of the résumé, but this does not reduce the importance of this information. Employers will not consider you, regardless of how much experience you have, if you do not meet minimum industry or legal requirements for your job. Always list your education on your résumé!
Share your experience. What impact has education had on your career? Do you feel you’ve earned more money with your education, or is the degree “not worth the paper it is printed on?”
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