Where should I include my qualifications on my CV?
Everything that appears on your CV is designed to appeal to the needs of your potential employer and to answer the question “What do you offer that other applicants don't?”
Where you include the Education section on your CV is dependent on how well it enhances your application and, regardless of whether you have a lack or abundance of qualifications, the following tips will enable you put you on a level playing field to compete with your fellow job seekers.
If your educational background is your strongest selling point and can help you to stand out from the crowd, then you will probably want your Education section to appear straight after your Personal Statement.
This is especially the case if you're a recent graduate, if you graduated from a highly regarded university, obtained excellent academic results or have gained a professional qualification that is a pre-requisite for the position you're applying for.
However, if your work experience is stronger than your education, it is advisable to the ‘Education' section features after your ‘Employment History' where you highlight your career achievements and experience.
What to include
Keeping your target audience and the job you are applying for in mind, look to expand on any areas of your education that will aid your application. List information on relevant modules, dissertations or projects that prove you are capable of doing the job.
However, be careful not to include too much information. Unlike your work experience, which needs to be quantified with various achievements, your education can be summarised with the grade you achieved. If the grades you obtained were not the best, you may wish to mention any steps you have taken to improve your skills.
If you have taken specific courses relevant to the job in hand or have either already obtained or are studying for a professional qualification, you could create a Personal Development section in addition to the Education information.
Many employers will still insist that applicants have certain qualifications such as a university degree but, many others will consider experience, skills and professional expertise as more valuable assets and any educational shortcomings can be overlooked. Never be tempted to embellish your qualifications if you don't meet stated requirements - employers can easily find out if you're lying.
Tailor your CV
Each job is different and, as a result, each CV should be tailored to meet the requirements of that job. You need to understand what information will be of most value to a potential employer and select only relevant educational content.
In general, your education history should be listed in reverse chronological order starting with your most recent education. Include dates, the name of the establishment you attended and place name (not the full address).
Summarise, don't list, your entire junior certificate. For example if your target job requires competency in communication and numeracy you may wish to write it as:
“10 subjects, grades A-C including English and Mathematics”
For higher qualifications, expand the description that you give. For example:
“Leaving Certificate – English (Grade A1), Chemistry (Grade B2), and Biology (Grade B1)”
”BSc (Hons) Applied Sciences (2:1)”
Essentially you want to make your ‘Education' section clear, uncluttered and appealing, covering the three key questions that employers want answered: What do you know? What have you done before? Can you do it for me?