Related Coursework Section On Resume

There is often a great deal of debate about what should and should not be included in a person’s resume. Take your educational achievements, for example. While you will certainly include your educational degrees within an education section, what about more specific details? Have you ever found yourself wondering whether that prospective employer might also be interested in reading about your coursework? Here are some things to consider before you include relevant coursework on a resume.


What Position Are You Applying For?

You should always start by considering the position. Some positions have educational requirements where everyone has basically the same educational background. Others may have few educational requirements at all. Before you decide to include relevant coursework on a resume, you need to ask yourself whether it matters. For most career-level positions, however, the inclusion of relevant coursework on a resume can often provide more gravitas to an otherwise-thin set of qualifications.


How Much Job Experience Do You Have?

That leads us to the second question you need to ask. Do you have the type of job experience you need to convince an employer that you’re the right person for the position?

If you’re a recent graduate, chances are that you have little to no relevant job experience. That leaves you with two options: submit a resume with no real experience, or add relevant coursework to bolster your credibility. Obviously, the first option is a non-starter if you want to receive serious consideration.

By including relevant coursework on a resume, you can at least demonstrate competence in those areas of expertise. While coursework is not the equivalent of actual hands-on experience, it can often be enough to sway an employer who is impressed with the rest of your resume. Remember, the whole goal of a resume is to garner enough interest to net you an interview. These little details may be just what you need to get that consideration.



Tips for Listing Relevant Coursework on a Resume

If your experience is thin and you need to focus on relevant coursework, there are a few tips you need to keep in mind. Use them to help guide you as you add these details to your resume.

  • Carefully consider the placement of relevant coursework on a resume. For positions that emphasize educational achievements, you may want to list coursework near the top. If the position relies on skill and experience, you should probably include these details in the skills section. For other job types, you can just include them in your education section.
  • Make sure that the coursework is relevant to the position. There’s no need to list classes that have little relation to the job you’re seeking.
  • If you’re including relevant coursework on a resume, include a high GPA as well as any academic awards that you may have earned.
  • Add any extra-curricular activities, volunteer work, or special projects that showcase relevant skills.
  • Taken any online courses? Don’t forget to include those too!
  • Include keywords from the job posting. This reinforces the relevance of your included coursework details, and can also help your resume get past the ATS.


Listing Relevant Coursework on a Resume – Example

There are a couple of acceptable ways to list your relevant coursework on a resume. Your choice should be based on need. If you have some experience and just want to bolster your credentials, you can take a simple approach to this information. Recent graduates will want to spend more time on this section to emphasize its importance.

Relevant or related coursework is appropriate when listing your courses. Here are some examples:


Option One: When your resume already includes some relevant experience

If you have relevant experience to list on your resume, you can include your relevant coursework in that section. You don’t need to include a lot of details, though. Instead, you can address your coursework using a format like this:


Option Two: For recent grads with no relevant experience

If your resume needs to emphasize education over experience, then you might want to use a different format altogether. The example below can serve as a template when you’re listing relevant coursework on a resume:


Relevant Coursework on a Resume Can Make a Real Difference!

Like many job-seekers, you may not be thrilled at the prospect of listing your relevant coursework on a resume. Still, those details can sometimes be crucial for establishing yourself as a viable candidate for a job. So, if you’re a recent graduate, be sure to include that relevant information in your resume. You just might find that your educational achievements are the one thing that pushes you past your rivals and gets you that all-important interview!


Bachelor of Science, Marketing, Best College USA

Relevant Coursework: Advertising, Copywriting, Sales Management, E-Marketing, Brand Management


Best College USA, AnyTown, AnyState

May 20XX

Bachelor of Science in Marketing

Cumulative GPA: 3.9


Advertising Concepts & Practical Application, Best College Marketing Department

Fall 20XX-Spring 20XX

  • Explored advertising theory and history
  • Analyzed ad-market dynamics
  • Developed effective advertising campaigns for partner businesses in the area

Brand Management 101, Best College Marketing Department

Spring 20XX

  • Hands-on program working in collaboration with area merchants
  • Successfully rebranded two major employers in the area
  • Developed proposed brand-enhancing campaigns for six other employers

The placement of your Education section depends on your age, circumstances, and career success. Click on the link that most accurately describes your situation in the table of contents below:

Table of Contents

  1. High School Student
  2. College Student / Recent Graduate
  3. Working Professional

I. High School Student Education Section

If you’re a high schooler, your should include your Education section underneath your career objective. The structure of your resume will vary depending on work experience (or lack thereof) and how active you are as a student.

Click the link below that best describes your situation:

  1. High School Student: Zero Work experience
  2. High School Student: Some work experience

High School: No Work Experience

If you are a high schooler with no work experience, then writing a strong Education section is your best bet. Employers will honor a strong work ethic and good grades, which will guarantee you an interview in the future.

Check out this high school student resume with no experience for a closer look:

How This High School Student Structured Their Education Section:
This resume example illustrates how a student with no prior experience formatted their resume. Let’s look at the 4 sections this student listed in their Education section:

1. GPA (If above 3.0)

  • “GPA: 3.6/4.0” (*Including the “4.0” shows employers what GPA scale your school uses)

2. Relevant Coursework (Courses that are relatable to the position)

  • Intro to Graphic Design, AP Art, Yearbook, Computer Applications

3. Honors or Academic Achievements

  • “Member of the National Honors Society and National Art Education Association”

4. Clubs and Organizations

  • “Yearbook Club, Santa Monica Newspaper, Spanish Club”

Since this student has no real experience in the field, they created a “Major Achievements” section, which is an appendage to the Education section above it. This is where the student details the projects or clubs they participated in and their main responsibilities.

Students should keep in mind that merely listing clubs and organizations they are involved in offers no specificity and may eliminate them from the competition. To avoid this, they need to focus on including in-depth examples that demonstrate their effectiveness; this will impress employers and add length to their resume. Let’s look at the sample again:

  • “Procured advertising for school paper, saving organization 25% in costs.”

This student, who is striving to get their foot in the door as a graphic designer, demonstrates their initiative and motivation in the example above. They not only secured advertising for their school newspaper, they saved the organization money; in their next bullet point, they also mentioned that they formatted the advertising to fit around the contents of the page. This shows their depth of understanding about an industry they are itching to get into.

Keep in mind that your main objective is to convince an employer that you are a trustworthy, hard-working individual with the capacity to handle an entry-level position.

What You Should Do
If you have no work experience, then you should follow the same format. Anything that demonstrates your enthusiasm and work ethic will do; think of clubs, organizations, extracurricular activities or even volunteer work that you have participated in that could count as major achievements.

Keep in mind that your main objective is to convince an employer that you are a trustworthy, hard-working individual with the capacity to handle an entry-level position.

How A High Schooler With Work Experience Does It

If you’re a high schooler with work experience, then you should place your Education section underneath your work experience. With this format, your emphasis should be on writing a strong career objective and a detailed “Professional Experience” section.

Let’s examine the babysitter resume below for a more in-depth example:

What This High School Applicant Did
This high schooler’s Education section is briefer than that of our previous applicant, who has no work experience. Notice how she only included her expected graduation date and two leadership roles as opposed to a comprehensive list detailing her coursework, GPA, etc. This is due to her extensive work experience, which will always prove more valuable than academic achievements.

What You Should Do
If you have work experience, then you should place more emphasis on it. Your Education section, while still important, should be placed under professional experience. The key here is to expound upon relevant achievements and knowledge you have gleaned while on the job. Employers will acknowledge your age and initiative, which will land you an interview, if not the job.

If you want additional help writing your professional experience section, read our how-to guide.

II. College Student / Recent Graduate

If you are a college student or recent graduate, your Education section should always go under your Career Objective. With or without experience, your status as a student (or graduate) will still be of interest to employers.

Click the link below that best suits your situation:

  1. College Student: Zero Work Experience
  2. College Student: Some Work Experience

College Student: No Work Experience

If you don’t have work experience, you shouldn’t worry; you still have a good chance of landing an interview. The student in the example below doesn’t have any experience, but still made a solid resume that will catch an employer’s attention.

Click the image below to see a resume education example for a college student with no work experience:

You might also be worried that you don’t have enough substantial material to fill up a page. Again, the applicant managed to flesh out their resume without any prior real world experience. The truth is, you have many tools at your disposal; it’s just a matter of learning how to use them.

How To List Education On A Resume If Still In College
Besides writing a killer career objective, this applicant made sure to beef up their Education section by mentioning their expected graduation date, GPA, relevant coursework, awards and honors and extracurricular activities. This not only takes up space, it bolsters their credibility.

In this resume education example, the college student lists out the following 4 sections:

  • GPA: 3.93/4.0”
  • Relevant completed courses: Consumer Behavior, Retail Concepts & Policies, Professional Selling, Social Media & Public Relations, Advertising, and Creative Marketing”
  • Awards & Honors: Won First Runner Up at the 2015 Texas A&M Collegiate Sales Competition in a pool of 48 competitors”
  • Clubs & Organizations: Treasurer of the Aggies Advertising Club, Vice President of the Texas A&M Key Club (Fall 2016 – Present)”

Notice how this education example also includes the same sections as the high school student, but with more detail. They include more relevant courses, quantify the number of competitors in the competition, and include the dates that participated in organizations.

In addition to the education section, the student replaces their professional experience with a section that’s more suitable. Since this applicant is applying for a marketing internship, they labeled theirMajor Achievements” section asMarketing Projects.” Our applicant’s next step was to outline their achievements in a results-oriented fashion. Let’s take a closer look at the first bullet point under their “SHOP LOCAL” campaign:

  • “Used online, PR, and offline marketing in a way that yielded tangible results, increasing business at local stores by 13% over a period of three months.”

We see that our applicant quantified their experience, which not only tells employers what their role was, but how effective they were. They go on to list noteworthy achievements, treating their college projects like industry campaigns.

If you weren’t as active as the above candidate, then you should draw on coursework, clubs, or anything outside of your college experience that may contribute to your efforts.

This sense of focused language speaks to their credit by emphasizing their enthusiasm, professionalism, tact, and aptitude for the position at hand.

What should you do
You should shoot for a similar resume. If you are an active student, you should have ample material to incorporate throughout your resume body. If you weren’t as active as the above candidate, then you should draw on coursework (major assignments, essays, etc.), clubs, or anything outside of your college experience that may contribute to your efforts.

If you still don’t have much to work with, you can start inquiring about opportunities in your area that may lead to the kind of experience you need.

College Student: Some Work Experience

If you are a college student with work experience, then your resume should follow a slightly different format. Look over our entry-level accounting resume example below to get an idea of how to structure yours.

Click the image below to see a resume education example of college student with work experience:

What This Recent Graduate Did
In this example, we see the applicant has internship experience, so their Education section only mentions items of importance like relevant coursework and GPA; they also placed it underneath their Career Objective. If you have work or internship experience, you should follow this format.

North Dakota University, Fargo, ND
Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Finance, May 2016

  • Minored in Business Administration
  • Distinguished member of university’s Accounting Society
  • Relevant Coursework: Advanced Financial Accounting and Reporting, Accounting Systems, Income Tax for Corporations, Cost/Managerial Accounting
  • GPA: 3.75/ 4.0

Eventually, after you have accrued solid work experience, you can place your Education section at the bottom of your resume body; until then, supplement your hands-on experience with academic muscle.

What You Should Do
If you have work experience, we recommend you follow a similar format. Include any clubs or extracurricular activities that will contribute to your resume in any way; you want to portray yourself as a hard-working and reliable candidate. Place special emphasis on your “Professional Experience” section by adding results-oriented achievements. For more help writing an effective “Professional Experience” section, see our resume writing guide.

III. Working Professional Education Section

For working professionals, the Education section is there to show that you have a degree. It should be included after the Professional Experience section, and provide the following details:

  • Type of Degree / Field of Study
  • Name of School
  • School Location
  • Year of Graduation
  • GPA (if above 3.5)

For examples of how you can list education, see the resumes below:

Following the Education section tips above will give you an edge on the competition. If you would like more help writing your resume, then you should visit our comprehensive resume writing guide.


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