How much information do I need to include in the education section of my resume? Should I include continuing education courses that I have taken? What about high school activities?
Wondering About Resumes
Dear Wondering About Resumes,
List your highest level of education first and work your way down from there. If you are enrolled in school for a higher degree, put that first to highlight that you are pursuing this degree, as follows:
Master’s degree in nursing — currently pursuing
Be sure to include all of your degrees, including non-nursing degrees.
If you started your degree program in one school and finished it in another, it is only necessary to list the school that issued your diploma.
There is no need to note the start date of any educational experience. There is also no need to include the date you graduated from any educational program, unless you are a new graduate nurse.
If you received school-related honors or special recognition such as cum laude or other academic awards, include that. However, it is not necessary to include a list of academic scholarships received.
High school information generally is not included on a professional resume with a few exceptions. If you had outstanding or unusual achievements demonstrating leadership, community service or outstanding academic accomplishments, you might consider adding them. For example, I once coached a nurse who had a swimming scholarship named after her in high school because of her outstanding leadership abilities. That is an honor worth noting and makes a very positive statement about that nurse. Therefore we decided to include this on her resume under “Awards/Honors.”
If you are a new graduate nurse and attended nursing school right out of high school, it could be beneficial to initially include select information from high school years on your resume such as being a member or officer of a Future Nurses of America Club or if you were a member of a healthcare association such as Health Occupations Students of America. However, once you cease to be a new graduate nurse (one to two years after graduation, regardless of experience), this type of information is no longer relevant and should be removed.
It is not advisable to list continuing education credits here. That’s because a laundry list of CE courses taken only serves to clutter up a resume. Employers are primarily concerned with your formal education and degrees. You can mention any relevant CE courses in your cover letter or during an interview. If you really want to, you can write something here such as “Continuing Education Courses/Credits available upon request” to indicate you have taken them.