Education is a crucial element to any resume – an almost universal element to job requisitions and postings is a desire for a certain education level. Now, this level varies depending on the role, experience, and industry, but a significant number of positions request an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree. However, even if you have that educational experience, it can still be confusing on how to demonstrate this education on the resume. Here’s a quick guide on how to best write an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree on a resume.
Before breaking down the potential differences in how to list the different educations, as well as variations depending on level of experience, we will break down the general method of listing such education. First off, the degree should be listed first, and bolded, as this is the most crucial element of the education. After that any concentrations, minors, and specializations can be placed. Finally, the school should be named, either following a colon or on a line below. Unless you’re currently in school or a very recent graduate, year of graduation and GPA should not be listed, as these facts aren’t as relevant later on in careers.
Here’s an example: “Associate of Science (AS), History: Local Community College”. That’s how to write a degree (or any education, really) on a resume, but that’s only one step. The next is where to place it, and that’s more variable depending on level of experience.
If you’re a recent graduate looking for a resume for a college grad (under two or three years of experience) or are still in school, the education should be prominently featured on the resume. Usually, that means including it below the summary and any core competencies but above professional experience, coursework, extracurricular projects, or volunteer work. This is because in such cases, the education has more weight than the professional, academic, or volunteer experience obtained thus far. In such cases, it can also be acceptable to include GPA (if impressive) and include your graduation date, as these will be more important at a very entry level or when applying for internships.
Another time when education might be placed higher up on the resume is when switching industries to a sector where your experience is more relevant. If you have 10 years of experience as a restaurant manager with a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing, and want to shift towards a marketing career, your education might take precedence over your experience. This is more variable, as it’s possible your previous career had a number of experiences that nevertheless relate to your desired role, but it’s at least a good possibility to move the education up.
In most other cases, education should be placed under professional experience (but above certifications, software proficiencies, and any other volunteer or side work). Once you have more than a few years of experience, that professional work becomes more relevant and important than what you learned in school. There are exceptions (when writing a CV or curriculum vitae, rather than a resume), but generally speaking most seasoned professionals will want to emphasize their career over their education. This is even more true for those at a managerial or executive level. At that point, experience managing projects, working with clients, and leading teams are usually far more imperative to a role than an associate or bachelor’s degree.
We’ve now gone through how to write out an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree on a resume, and where to place that education – but are there any differences between how to treat the two degrees? Ultimately, not really. A bachelor’s degree is a higher level of education, so if you possess both degrees, the bachelor’s degree should be listed above the associate’s degree. However, generally what goes for an associate’s degree goes for a bachelor’s degree, and vice versa. Include your degrees, place them on the resume relative to their value, and you should be all set!