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Education on your CV; What is important and what isn’t?

Written by: Charlotte Rogers
Published on: 4 Mar 2020

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When writing your CV, you may be torn between what aspects of your education are relevant to your job search and which are not. The qualifications you decide to include on your CV should depend on what stage of your career you are in. Some employers request specific qualifications in their job description, so if they mention something and you have it, make sure to include it. It’s all about being practical and knowing what is going to be useful and what is outdated. We have taken some time to outline what education you should be including at the different stages of your career.

If you’re still studying

Still studying can mean anything from still being in secondary school all the way up to university education. The point is, you may not have any actual grades to include on your CV yet but are still wanting to either get part-time work or secure an apprenticeship ready for when you do finish school. Either way, you can include predicted grades on your CV and comment in your personal statement about how you intend to keep on track and achieve these grades. Education isn’t the centre of your CV, it’s all about selling yourself throughout all of the sections on your CV. Make sure you are talking about your goals and ambitions in your personal statement to help boost your education section. There is also a good opportunity to talk about other skills you may have. Include extra-curricular activities and engineering skills that will substitute for grades at this point in your career. Employers want to see that you are ambitious and ready to learn, it’s not always about your qualifications.

If you’ve left school

There can be a ton of reasons as to why you need a CV as soon as you finish secondary school. You may be interested in applying for college courses or instead of moving onto university, an apprenticeship scheme may be better tailored to you. A lot of the time this can require a well-written CV, with a well thought out education section. In this case, it is very important to include GCSE grades and A-levels, if you have both. For a strong application, you may also want to include any other academic achievements you have, under the education section on your CV. Some job seekers at this stage of their career may feel like their education section is limited, but your skills will develop and you should be proud of all you have accomplished so far. Show pride in your achievements and employers will notice it.

Once you’ve left university

You may have a degree when you leave university, but that doesn’t make your other qualifications any less significant. Some employers still like to see your GCSE and lower level qualifications present on your CV, regardless of the experience you have. Make sure that you are reading the job description to see whether or not this is necessary. If it is not specified, you may want to simplify your GCSE’s by stating “11 GCSE’s, Grade A-C”. This way they’re still present but you’re not wasting valuable space. You want to include A-level and college grades as well. They are just as important as your final grade at university. However, you want to have your university grades at the top of this section. It’s important to organise the education section from most recent to less recent. It makes it easier for employers to read.

After a few years of employment

After working for a few years, your CV should be updated and brought up to date. You are not very likely to need your GCSE grades on your CV anymore; they’ll be more interested in your degree and any learning you have done throughout your employment. Try and think about whether you have you done any courses during the length of your employment? Any new qualifications that they have paid for you to complete? Make sure these are present on your CV, it can help you get that job quicker than you think.

Education on your CV should be updated if and when you make any kind of new progress. Over time there are going to be things that become less relevant and important to your job search. Keeping your CV up to date shows employers that you are taking the time to reflect on your learning. Nothing is set in stone and your CV should display the education that you see fit. But make sure you are making it relevant. You don’t want qualifications on your CV that aren’t relevant to your career and over 10 years old, take the time to think about it before you submit your application.