This is the one section in your Resume concerning something that you either have or you don’t. Your Education section should be fairly straightforward in that sense! You would think!
However, there are a few different scenarios that I will address in this blog and if you are in a similar situation to any of these, you may wish to apply some of these suggestions.
Like I always say, however, nothing is a hard’n’fast rule when it comes to your Resume and you do need to take these suggestions with a grain of salt and decide whether they might help YOU in your particular circumstances.
Please also bear in mind that these suggestions are for a Resume only (and not a Curriculum Vitae – which is a document that lists every aspect of your life, for the entirety of your life. In days gone by, this was used in job applications. These days, not so much unless we’re talking CEO type positions!)
So here goes:
Scenario 1: First of all, if you have completed tertiary education, you no longer have to include your high school education. Tertiary education, of course, means any official education from an educational institution such as TAFE, university or any other private college. Reason for this is that tertiary education, essentially, supersedes secondary education. It’s like, once you have completed high school, your primary school education no longer counts. Therefore, once you complete tertiary study, your secondary study (nearly) no longer counts.
Scenario 2: If you have not completed any tertiary education, but you graduated from high school 15+ years ago, you do not need to list your high school education either. This time, the reason is different – it more so concerns showing your age on your Resume. Not only do you want to ‘cover yourself’ from human bias (the recruiter feeling that you might be “too old” for the position) but my personal opinion is that it is not ‘appropriate’ to give away your age in western business culture. This is private information and should not be outright given away, nor insinuated!
I digress: A Word on Age
Some argue that “recruiters should not be discriminating against our age in the first place” and that “age has nothing to do with whether I can do the job or not”. These are fair and valid arguments. However, in psychology, human biases are virtually out of our control.
For example, if I was to say to you, ‘Imagine a blonde in a red bikini striding down the beach’, depending on who you are and your life experience, is what kinds of feelings and impressions conjure up in your mind immediately. These are biases that are beyond your control.
Well, recruiters are human and also subject to psychological biases. For example, did you know that we humans tend to feel an immediate connection to someone that looks similar to someone we love or who looks similar to ourselves? Did you know that the same applies negatively – we feel an immediate disconnection towards someone who is similar to someone we dislike; and we feel not-as-much of a connection with someone who is of a different height to us.
These are all very natural (and almost unperceived) human biases that we experience on a daily basis!
I was once a 19 year old without any work experience behind me and, even though I was still a teenager, I could NOT easily find a job in Hospitality. (It’s a harsh world!)
So instead of getting frustrated about this, let’s work with it. There are ways in which we can diminish the giving-away of our age in our job application (and that will probably make for another blog!) (In the meantime, do feel free to ask me).
Scenario 3: If the job you are applying for requires you to have a certain level of tertiary education, you absolutely must place your Education on Page One of your Resume.
Scenario 4: If the job does not require a certain level of tertiary education but you believe you can use the skills gained from your education directly in your new role, show it off! Eg: You work in Office Administration in Office Supplies but now you’re applying for Office Administration in the Fashion Industry – and you completed a Bachelor of Visual Arts 6 years ago – show it off! It brings all the bits about YOU together. The recruiter will be able to see it’s no wonder you are interested in the Fashion Industry as it becomes clear you have always had a keen mind for the creative/arts/design aspects of life.
Scenario 5: If your studies are completely irrelevant to what you are applying for, you may wish to delete it from your Resume altogether.
Eg: You completed a Bachelor of Science 8 years ago but you never pursued a career in any scientific field and never will, either delete it from your Resume altogether, or place it on Page Two just before the References section.
I would suggest deleting it altogether if it is completely irrelevant. Eg: If you’ve built your career as an Insurance Analyst and have completed education in business and/or insurance, and you’re still listing the Cert. II in Hospitality you did just out of high school… yup. Perhaps delete.
Scenario 6: Then again, if you completed a degree while you progressed up the ladder at the burger joint, and now you’re moving on from the burger joint to continue your role in Management but want to show that you haven’t just ranked up the ladder at the burger joint, your degree isn’t so completely irrelevant either. It can show skills such as organisation, analysis, critical thinking, commitment and grit.
Scenario 7: If you’re trying to return to a previous field you worked in, eg: your recent career history includes work in Fashion and a stint at a Science Laboratory but you’re trying to get back into the Fashion industry, then definitely leave the now not-so-irrelevant Science studies on your Resume because it gives sense to the stint at the Science lab. It brings it all together nicely.
I hope this has been of some help to you!
If you have any questions, by all means please email me. I would love to hear from you and I am always happy to help out with whatever simple answers you may need.
If you need an updated Resume, contact me!