Knowing how to present your unconventionally-acquired skills and experiences can make all the difference when job hunting. Most companies want employees who are passionate and take initiative, traits that are exemplified by those who do things like spend their weekends organizing events for charity, take online courses, or attend industry conferences. This is particularly handy for those who have recently graduated, are changing careers , or are returning to the workforce. In the first two cases above, it can showcase the informal steps you have taken to ready yourself for the workplace or a different career path. For the later, it highlights that you have kept your skills sharp and will not miss a beat upon returning. Here are some guidelines to make your informal education and experiences shine.
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Many job seekers put their resume writing energy into creating the bulk of their resume: the experience and skill sections. As a result, the education section becomes a bit of an afterthought. But with applicant tracking systems parsing resumes and analyzing for job description requirements, more attention and better formatting should be paid. First things first.
Unsure about the best way to present your education? The best placement depends on what employers would value more: your experience or education. For example:. For specialized fields and certification programs, list information about the program that might interest employers, such as accreditation, intensity level, and number of program hours completed. Students and new grads with little related work experience may use the education section as the centerpiece of their resumes, showcasing academic achievements, extracurricular activities, special projects, and courses.
A truly great resume should highlight your achievements and immediately answer the hiring manager's top-of-mind question: "Can this person solve my problem? If you're a recent graduate, you'll need to put a bit more focus on your education section since you likely don't have a lot of professional work world experience yet. You don't want to include every single course you've ever taken, but you also don't want to merely list your credentials.