QUESTION: Continuing education on a resume: Is it important? If so, how do I list it?
Absolutely — if it is relevant to your desired (or current) role or industry! And, how much detail to include depends on your professional level and the relevance of courses or activities. But generally, the degree, school/university, and expected graduation date is enough. GPA only if its exemplary or the program is prestigious.
Continuing education is absolutely important if it is RELEVANT to the job you want next. The mistake most people make is listing old coursework and certifications that have nothing to do with the role they want now. This can leave potential employers confused, and make them think that you don’t have a clear focus.
If it’s relevant to your field and shows the initiative important in your next position, continuing education absolutely belongs on your resume. Add professional development activities, such as courses, certifications, or leadership programs, in the education section. You can also “show off” high-value certifications or credentials in your resume summary.
I’m a strong believer in professional development on the resume. No matter the amount or quality of your formal education, professional development says, “I am continually learning and growing.” If you don’t remember the exact title of workshops and seminars, list topics—good for keywords too. Use years only if very recent. Include presenting organizations to maximize credibility.
Whether your formal education is recent or many years ago, the classes you took probably contained information general to your career field rather than specific job titles. Continuing education provides training that you can apply directly to your current and future jobs. This instruction also demonstrates that you are a lifelong learner and open to new ideas, techniques, and technologies.
Continuing education is important if it proves skills that will be useful for your next job. If you received a certification, list it in a Certifications section. Otherwise, list it in your Education section. You can start the Education section with any advanced degrees, then your college degree. Then (if you have room) write a subheading “Continuing Education” and put additional items there.
Nearly all my clients—both mid- and senior-level executives—are big believers in lifelong learning. Whether through informal exchanges or formal certification courses (online / classroom), they keep their technical skills sharp, their soft skills honed, and their knowledge of industry trends up to date. Including a succinct Professional Development section illustrates that you never stop learning.
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