How to write your CV education section + examples

Andrew Fennell Andrew Fennell

Your education section of your CV is crucial part of the document.

But it can be tough to know to write, where to put it, and what you should include.

This guide will show you exactly how to write an impressive education section for your own CV, whether you are a school leaver, experienced professional, or anything in between.

 

 

Where to put your education on your CV?

Where you position your education section on your CV will largely depend on your level of experience and how long ago you left full-time education.

 

CV education section

 

  • Little/no experience – If you’re just leaving education and therefore don’t have a lot of experience behind you, place your education section nearer the top of your CV, under your personal profile. Be sure to go into plenty of detail because, at this point in your career, your academic record will receive more attention, and employers will need lots of info to be persuaded to hire you.
  • Experienced candidate – If you’re a more experienced candidate who has gained skills and knowledge through past positions, your employment history takes precedence. In this case, your education section should go under your employment section because employers are likely to be more interested in your real-world experience – although they will still value your education.

 

 

What to include in your education section?

This section should outline your formal education, qualifications and certificates in reverse chronological order. Here’s an overview of what this might include:

  • Degree – As a university graduate, you need to include your degree, and if you’ve got post-graduate qualifications, your most recent degree must come first. To do this, include the name of the university, the title of your degree, the dates you studied there and the grade you received. You might also wish to include details of any relevant modules you studied
  • A-levels – If you took A-levels at college, you probably completed three to four subjects. Be sure to include the name of your college, the dates you studied there and the subjects you completed.
  • Vocational qualifications – School or college aren’t the end of the road for your education but if you chose not to study a degree, you may have obtained other vocational qualifications. If so, you need to include these too. Follow the same formatting rules by including the name of the institution, the qualification and the date you achieved it
  • GCSEs – Listing your GCSEs can be trickier as there are often more of these. So if you have lots of GCSEs, include your school name, the years you were there and then abbreviate your list of subjects. For example, ‘10 GCSEs including maths and English’
  • Mandatory certificates – There might be mandatory training you need to undertake to get a job, for example, health and safety certificates. In this case, you should include these in your education section, listing the level of certification, name of the course and date you received it. You might also wish to include the name of the accrediting body if they are well-known in the industry.

 

Education section examples

Now you have a better understanding of what could be included in your education section, let’s take a closer look at how these should be written with some examples.

 

School leaver

As a school leaver hoping to land a job, it’s likely that your GCSEs are going to be your highest level of qualification.

When adding these to your CV, you should include the full name of your school and the dates you attended. Underneath this, you can begin to outline your GCSEs.

 

Example 1

CV education section for school leaver

 

Example 2

Baxton Hill High School – 2014 to 201910 GCSEs

  • English (A) | Language & Literature
  • Maths (A) | Achieved best coursework award
  • Biology (B)
  • Physics (B)
  • Chemistry (B)
  • Information Technology (A) | Specialised in Microsoft Office
  • Music (B),
  • PE (B)
  • Geography (C)
  • French (C)

Extracurricular activities and achievements:

  • Grade 5 piano
  • Grade 3 flute
  • Captain of the school hockey team
  • Voted ‘Most Spectacular Sportsperson of the Year’ in Year 10 and 11

 

Because this makes up the basis of your educational background, you can afford to outline all of your subjects and grades in more detail.

You could also include any awards or clubs in which you participated, it might look a little something like the above.

 

CV builder

 

College leaver

As a college leaver, you will still need to include your GCSEs, particularly if they are relevant to the role you’re applying for, but your main focus should be on your more recent A-Levels.

 

Example 1

CV education section for college leaver

 

Example 2

London Central College – 2019 to 2021 3 A-Levels

  • Photography (A) | Including wildlife photography project and paper
  • English Language (A) | Studying “Of Mice and Men”
  • Graphic Design (B) | Completed a complete product design of a toy package

 

Achievements

  • Practical experience in Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign
  • Proficient using DLSR camera, as well as experience developing film in the darkroom
  • Achieved A grade and finished in top 10% of my class for print media and photography project

 

Baxton Hill High School – 2014 to 2019

10 GCSEs grade A to C including English, Maths, IT and Art

 

As you study fewer subjects at A-Level (typically three to four), you can give a bit more detail about each subject, your grades and anything else that could boost your application.

For example, you could outline particular projects that you were proud of or some of your key achievements. In this case, your education section might look a little something like the above.

 

Experienced professional

After college, or perhaps even during your time at college, you may have chosen to undertake a vocational qualification as a way of boosting your skills and gaining some real-world experience. This could be in the form of an NVQ, BTEC or a diploma.

 

Example 1

CV education section for experienced professional

 

Example 2

City & Guilds NVQ (L1) in Hospitality Skills – 2020 – 2021

  • Learning to maintain a safe, hygienic and secure working environment
  • Working with the team to prepare, cook and safely store food
  • Industry-standard training in kitchens and restaurants around London

 

London Central College – 2018 to 2020

A-Levels including English Language (A), Business Studies (A) and Food Science (B)

 

Baxton Hill High School – 2013 to 2018

10 GCSEs grade A to C including English, Maths and Food Technology

 

So although your experience in the workplace will likely take precedent on your CV, your education section is still important, and you need to give a little more detail about your vocational qualifications.

You can still include any A-Levels you have as well as GCSEs, but these should be kept to brief summaries like the above.

 

CV builder

 

Recent Graduate

As a recent graduate, your degree is going to be one of your key selling points, particularly if you don’t have a great deal of work experience behind you.

 

Example 1

CV education section for graduate

 

Example 2

BSc (Hons) Computer Science – Queen Mary University – 2018 – 2021Final grade: 1st Class

  • Modules including: Big data processing, data mining, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and algorithms and data structures
  • Achieved a 1st (96%) for my dissertation on ‘issues with privacy and security when dealing with big data’, coming top of my class
  • Gained practical experience in software engineering, procedural programming and data mining

 

London Central College – 2018 to 2020

A-Levels including Information Technology (A), Business Studies (A) and Graphic Design (B)

 

Baxton Hill High School – 2013 to 2018

10 GCSEs grade A to C including English, Maths and IT 

 

You will still need to include your A-Levels and GCEs, but these sections don’t need to contain as much detail. Your focus should be on showcasing your degree, the key skills you gained and any achievements during your studies. You might also include any modules you studied that are relevant to the role.

The format should include the type of degree, as well as the full title, and you should include any honours along with your final grade.

 

Experienced Graduate

If you are a graduate with experience, whether that is because you left university a few years back or because you undertook a work placement as part of your course, this section can be less detailed.

 

Example 1

CV education section for experienced graduate

 

Example 2

BA (Hons) Digital Marketing – Queen Mary University – 2018 – 2021Final grade: 2:1

  • Modules including: Interactive media technologies, media streaming and the Cloud, programming for data analysis and personalising the digital experience

 

London Central College – 2018 to 2020

A-Levels including English Language (A), Media Studies(A) and History (B)

 

Baxton Hill High School – 2013 to 2018

10 GCSEs grade A to C including English, Maths and Media Studies 

 

You should still include your degree, A-Levels and GCSEs as shown above, but you can give fewer details, as the focus will lie with your real-world experience.

That said, this section should follow a similar format, including the type of degree and the full title, the university you attended and your final grade. In this case, your education section might look something like the above.

 

How to write your education on your CV

No matter what stage you’re at in your career, knowing how to structure, format and effectively showcase your education on your CV is critical. To help you get it right, we have pulled together some of our top tips for nailing your education section.

 

Adapt for your experience level

As we mentioned earlier, you should always include your educational experience in reverse chronological order, listing your most recent qualifications first. You also need to adapt this section depending on your level of experience.

You can see in the examples we’ve given above, if you’ve got work experience behind you, then you can afford to be more sparing on the details. However, if you don’t have a lot of relevant experience to speak of, you should go more in-depth about your key subjects, skills and achievements in your education section.

 

CV builder

 

Only include relevant qualifications

As with every section on your CV, you need to make sure that you’re only providing information that is relevant to the role and employer. Otherwise, you could be wasting valuable space.

The more experience you have behind you, the less detail you need to give in terms of your education. Therefore, you can leave out any qualifications that aren’t relevant to the role. This is the reason you don’t need to list all 10 of your GCSEs unless this is the only educational background you have.

The same applies when you include your modules, achievements or extra-curricular activities. If they aren’t relevant to your career path, you are better off saving that space for something that is.

 

Use bullet points and break information up

Finally, it can be helpful to use bullet points throughout your education section, particularly when going into more detail about your experience. This is because bullet points can improve the format, make your CV more readable and help draw the recruiter’s attention to the details that matter the most.

Remember, you only have a few seconds to grab their attention and impress them, so you need to make it as easy as possible for the reader to find the key information quickly and effortlessly.