There is often a great deal of debate about what should and should not be included in a person’s resume. Take your educational achievements, for example. While you will certainly include your educational degrees within an education section, what about more specific details? Have you ever found yourself wondering whether that prospective employer might also be interested in reading about your coursework? Here are some things to consider before you include relevant coursework on a resume.
What Position Are You Applying For?
You should always start by considering the position. Some positions have educational requirements where everyone has basically the same educational background. Others may have few educational requirements at all. Before you decide to include relevant coursework on a resume, you need to ask yourself whether it matters. For most career-level positions, however, the inclusion of relevant coursework on a resume can often provide more gravitas to an otherwise-thin set of qualifications.
How Much Job Experience Do You Have?
That leads us to the second question you need to ask. Do you have the type of job experience you need to convince an employer that you’re the right person for the position?
If you’re a recent graduate, chances are that you have little to no relevant job experience. That leaves you with two options: submit a resume with no real experience, or add relevant coursework to bolster your credibility. Obviously, the first option is a non-starter if you want to receive serious consideration.
By including relevant coursework on a resume, you can at least demonstrate competence in those areas of expertise. While coursework is not the equivalent of actual hands-on experience, it can often be enough to sway an employer who is impressed with the rest of your resume. Remember, the whole goal of a resume is to garner enough interest to net you an interview. These little details may be just what you need to get that consideration.
Tips for Listing Relevant Coursework on a Resume
If your experience is thin and you need to focus on relevant coursework, there are a few tips you need to keep in mind. Use them to help guide you as you add these details to your resume.
- Carefully consider the placement of relevant coursework on a resume. For positions that emphasize educational achievements, you may want to list coursework near the top. If the position relies on skill and experience, you should probably include these details in the skills section. For other job types, you can just include them in your education section.
- Make sure that the coursework is relevant to the position. There’s no need to list classes that have little relation to the job you’re seeking.
- If you’re including relevant coursework on a resume, include a high GPA as well as any academic awards that you may have earned.
- Add any extra-curricular activities, volunteer work, or special projects that showcase relevant skills.
- Taken any online courses? Don’t forget to include those too!
- Include keywords from the job posting. This reinforces the relevance of your included coursework details, and can also help your resume get past the ATS.
Listing Relevant Coursework on a Resume – Example
There are a couple of acceptable ways to list your relevant coursework on a resume. Your choice should be based on need. If you have some experience and just want to bolster your credentials, you can take a simple approach to this information. Recent graduates will want to spend more time on this section to emphasize its importance.
Relevant or related coursework is appropriate when listing your courses. Here are some examples:
Option One: When your resume already includes some relevant experience
If you have relevant experience to list on your resume, you can include your relevant coursework in that section. You don’t need to include a lot of details, though. Instead, you can address your coursework using a format like this:
Option Two: For recent grads with no relevant experience
If your resume needs to emphasize education over experience, then you might want to use a different format altogether. The example below can serve as a template when you’re listing relevant coursework on a resume:
Relevant Coursework on a Resume Can Make a Real Difference!
Like many job-seekers, you may not be thrilled at the prospect of listing your relevant coursework on a resume. Still, those details can sometimes be crucial for establishing yourself as a viable candidate for a job. So, if you’re a recent graduate, be sure to include that relevant information in your resume. You just might find that your educational achievements are the one thing that pushes you past your rivals and gets you that all-important interview!
Bachelor of Science, Marketing, Best College USA
Relevant Coursework: Advertising, Copywriting, Sales Management, E-Marketing, Brand Management
Best College USA, AnyTown, AnyState
Bachelor of Science in Marketing
Cumulative GPA: 3.9
RELEVANT MARKETING COURSEWORK
Advertising Concepts & Practical Application, Best College Marketing Department
Fall 20XX-Spring 20XX
- Explored advertising theory and history
- Analyzed ad-market dynamics
- Developed effective advertising campaigns for partner businesses in the area
Brand Management 101, Best College Marketing Department
- Hands-on program working in collaboration with area merchants
- Successfully rebranded two major employers in the area
- Developed proposed brand-enhancing campaigns for six other employers
How to Include Your Coursework in Your Resume
As a current student or recent graduate, you may not have very much work experience to include on your resume.
One way to strengthen your resume is to emphasize related coursework and other academic experiences. Read below for advice on how to write a resume that focuses on coursework; you can also view a sample student resume.
Tips for Including Your Coursework in Your Student Resume
- Include related courses. Consider creating a section in your resume called “Relevant Coursework.” In it, include the courses directly related to the position you are applying for. For example, if you are applying for work as a paralegal, list any classes you took related to law or politics.
- Include related academic projects. Similarly, if you have completed any research projects related to your future career, list these. If you are applying for a job that involves conducting research, list any extensive research projects you worked on.
- Include related extracurricular activities. If you participated in any sports or clubs where you developed skills relevant to the job you’re applying for, include these. You could include a section on your resume called “Extracurricular Activities,” or you might highlight activities in a broader section called “Relevant Experience.”
- Include volunteer experiences. Even if you did not get paid for this work, volunteer experiences can make terrific additions to your resume. For example, if you are applying for a job as a teacher’s assistant, describe your volunteer tutor experience.
- Use keywords in your descriptions. Beneath each experience, list your responsibilities and achievements in that experience that help show you as a strong fit for the position. One way to do this is to include keywords from the job listing in the descriptions. If the job requires field research experience, be sure to mention your “30+ hours of field research” in the description of your senior project.
- Emphasize academic successes. Beyond related coursework, you should also emphasize any academic successes, such as a high GPA or an award from an academic department. Although these successes may not appear to be directly related to the job for which you are applying, they demonstrate your hard work and responsibility.
- Edit, edit, edit. Take the time to thoroughly edit your resume for spelling and grammar errors. Also make sure that your font and style choices are consistent—for example, if you write one section title in bold, all section titles should be bold. You might set up a meeting with a counselor at your college career services office to have someone else read through your resume too.
Example of a Student Resume Focusing on Coursework
The following is a resume for a paralegal. This resume focuses on relevant coursework and leadership experiences.
Home 555-555-5555 Cell 555-555-1234
456 Oakwood Terrace
Anytown, PA 99999
Sagamore College, Easton, NY
Bachelor of Arts in Government
Cumulative GPA: 3.8
Awarded Outstanding Government Major, Spring 20XX
RELEVANT LEGAL COURSEWORK AND RESEARCH
Business Law Course, Business Department, Sagamore College
- Analyze and briefcases with a business focus
- Discuss and evaluate legal principles from an ethical perspective
Research Assistant, Sagamore
- Collaborate with adviser, research team, and Smith School of Medicine
- Conduct research regarding effects of steroids on activity level of rats
- Use computer program to gather and analyze data
- Present new findings in bimonthly discussion with department
Sociology of Law Course, Sociology Department, XYZ College
- Researched case law dealing with social policy and the Supreme Court
- Analyzed cases and produced final paper regarding social policy in court cases
- Explained results and conclusions in a final presentation to practicing lawyers
LEADERSHIP AND SERVICE
Resident Assistant, XYZ College
Fall 20XX–May 20XX
- Served as mentor and leader to incoming students, providing sense of community for those living in dorms
- Worked with staff members and campus safety to ensure safe and secure living environment
Produce Clerk, Food Market, ABC Town, MA
- Train new employees
- Awarded “Employee of the Month” five times
Lifeguard/Pool Supervisor, Local Town Pool, ABC Town, MA
Summer 20XX–Fall 20XX
Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint; LexisNexis; Adobe
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