Including relevant coursework on a resume
Make your resume standout further by including details of coursework relevant to the job.
Resume experts are often divided on the subject of relevant coursework. Some believe it has no place whatsoever, some are in favor and others believe it depends on the job position you're pursuing. There's a designated spot on your resume for your education history, but some prospective employers might be interested to know the details of your studies—and others might not. Ask yourself the following questions to help you determine when and how to use your course experience to your best advantage.
What kind of job are you applying for?
If you're applying for a summer job bussing tables at a restaurant, your coursework is obviously irrelevant. On the other hand, if you're applying to intern at a magazine, the hiring manager may want to know about your creative writing courses, short fiction prize and time spent working on the school paper.
What's your work experience like?
We live in a strange world where many employers request entry-level candidates to have a few years of work experience under their belts. It's a frustrating, convoluted predicament for graduates and anyone else who's new or just coming back to the workforce. When you don't have a lot of work experience, you need something to fall back on. Coursework is one of the more effective substitutes. Including it on your resume shows you have knowledge and skills even if you don't have any real-world job experience. Just remember not to go overboard. You don't need to list every class, lecture, lab and practicum you've ever taken.
Where does it go?
Opinions vary regarding where to put your coursework. Again, it generally depends on the job. For example, if you're applying to an academic position, put your coursework in a place of pride toward the top of your resume. If it's a technical position, place your coursework credits below your special skills. Otherwise, you could list it in the education section like this:
Bachelor of Arts, English, University of LMNO
Relevant Coursework: Literature, Creative Writing and Literary Explication
Use your best judgment, and always consider the position before including your relevant coursework. The keyword is "relevant," so remember to avoid mentioning unrelated courses or listing all of your academic accomplishments.
Should you include relevant coursework on your resume? Some people will tell you yes, others will advise against it. The best answer is: it depends. If you have relatively little experience in the field, including a list of relevant courses can be a good way to demonstrate your interest and exposure to a topic area. On the other hand, if you already have some significant related work experience, space on your resume is probably better used describing your professional work and achievements. If you’re in doubt about whether or not to list relevant coursework, use this test: in an interview what experiences would you talk about to demonstrate your qualifications for the position? If you would pull the majority of experiences from your classwork, it may be to your benefit to list relevant courses and even speak in detail about class projects on your resume.
If you do decide to include relevant coursework on your resume, be selective about which courses you include. There is no need to list basic or core courses, such as Biology or Foundations of Public Health. List only those courses that give you specific knowledge (usually electives) and are directly relevant to the position to which you are applying. On your resume the best place to include information about relevant courses is directly under the degree program in which you took the course. Be sure to write out the entire name of the course; employers are not familiar with course numbers and may not understand the abbreviated titles that are used in the course catalog.