Listing your education on your CV.

The education section of your CV is the final piece of the jigsaw when it comes to helping the recruiter understand who you are and what makes you an ideal candidate for a particular role.

In this guide, we are going to consider the basics of including education on your CV so that it makes the best impact to the reader. We will also explain how to deal with trickier situations such as unfinished programmes, non-academic certifications and online courses.

Where to include the education section on your CV.

The location of your education section depends on when you graduated. If your graduation was quite recent, without a long employment history, then your studies are of particular interest and should be placed nearer to the top of your CV, so they can easily be seen.

If you have extensive work experience and your most recent education was some years ago, place it nearer to the end. While it will interest a recruiter, it won’t be a deciding factor.

How to list educational details.

Begin with the most recent or highest qualification, and continue with others, in reverse chronological order.

There are only three reasons to list your secondary school.

  • When you haven’t attended a higher educational institute/college.
  • When you’ve recently graduated.
  • When you’ve studied at an educational institute famous for its high academic standards.

What to include.

For each qualification, ensure that you include the following;

  • The name of the institute.
  • The location of the institute.
  • The name of the qualification.
  • Dates of attendance.
  • Qualification level/grade.

Unfinished programmes.

If the unfinished course isn’t relevant to the position you’re applying for, no need to list it. For example, you are applying for a marketing position, but had previously been studying archaeology, simply do not include it.  

However, if you had been on an MBA programme, and had completed modules in marketing analytics, it could be useful to mention this background.

Top tip.

Remember that anything on your CV will be open to discussion at the interview. Be prepared for questions about why you didn’t complete the programme.

Other certifications.

Providing your other certifications are relevant and recent; it’s useful to include them. 

Don’t include expired certifications. Provide the full name of the institute, the full title of the qualification, and avoid too many abbreviations.


Internships are better included with your work experience or in a specific section of their own rather than at the bottom of the education section, where they’re unlikely to attract as much attending as they deserve.

Lack of education.

If your highest level of education was secondary school or if you’re still attending secondary school, you can use this section to list things such as:

  • Coursework.
  • Academic grades.
  • Extracurricular activities.

Show what you are like as a student, and this will give the recruiter an idea of what you’ll be like as an employee.

Should you include workshops?

As long as they’re relevant and recent, workshops can be useful additions. If you’ve attended courses sponsored by a previous employer, it can indicate how well you have kept updating your skills and knowledge.  

If you’ve followed courses independently, it demonstrates your degree of commitment to your professional development. Certain qualifications, such as Emergency First Aid, may not be specifically required by the role you are applying for but can be valued in the company as a whole.

Retreats and boot camps can also be of interest if they have developed your skills. In this case, be brief, and add a link to the relevant website so the recruiter can learn more if they wish.

Tips for a great education section.

  • Never exaggerate.
  • Back up your claims. It’s easy for your educational background to be verified, so be prepared to back up any claims.
  • Focus on what matters. If you don’t have a strong track record of formal education, focus on your skills, experience, and professional approach.
  • Make it easy to read.
  • Keep it brief. Be brief and stick to one, clean-looking format.
  • Special mentions

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