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Where Do You Put Education on Your Resume

Posted by Rob Riggins

University of Missouri ColumbiaIn the olden days this was easy. If you were a new grad education went at the beginning of your resume. If you were an experienced professional, education went at the end of your resume.

Have Things Changed

Does that guidance still hold true for cleared professionals in defense and intel contracting?

We recently did an informal survey of 11 recruiters from large, small and mid-size companies. Granted this is a small and unscientific sampling of recruiters.

We were surprised to find that most of the recruiters we asked prefer education to be at the beginning of your resume, no matter how long you’ve been in the job market.

The rationale for putting education at the beginning is because for many government contracts education is a check box item. And if you can’t check the box, you may not be able to get the position. One recruiter shared:

“I want to see your clearance, education and certifications at the beginning of your resume.”

Another recruiter:

“If I see your education up front it lets me know which path to take you and which jobs will be available to you.”

Not All Recruiters Have the Same Opinion

As with anything, recruiters have differing opinions. Some recruiters still prefer the traditional resume setup:

“Unless education is getting you the job, I prefer to see education at the end of a resume. However if you’re just out of school or if you just gotten a masters in Information Systems and have 2 year’s experience, education is getting you the job, so put it at the beginning.”

Being Clear is Most Important

This is perhaps the most important takeaway from this informal survey. Whether you put education at the beginning or end of your resume, be clear as to whether or not you have a degree. Several recruiters mentioned this as more important than location.

Don’t leave them guessing.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, April 22, 2014 3:29 pm

One thought on “Where Do You Put Education on Your Resume”

  1. I actually just discovered this last week, a screener mentioned that due to my current unemployment status to place my education and career development training at the beginning of the resume to highlight my activity while unemployed.

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