Education vs. Experience: Where to Place What, Where on Your Resume

education vs. experience

The following is a guest post by Vera Marie Reed.  Her bio follows.


Whether you want to start your career after finishing school or you desire to further your career with a new opportunity, you want your resume to earn you a spot on the shortlist of candidates.

Even so, simply listing your academic and work accomplishments on your resume isn’t nearly enough since the order in which you place them can either help or hinder your career girl prospects.

Read on for some information that’ll help you understand the education versus experience issue so that you’ll know where to place what on your resume.

One Size Fits One

First things first. Whether you put education before work experience or work experience before education largely depends on you and your situation. Consider the following steps to decide.

  • One: Assess your scholastic achievements and your work experience
  • Two: Decide which of the two is most impressive
  • Three: Choose the strongest of the two to start your resume


Heavy On Education But Light On Experience?

If you’re short on actual work experience but have a degree or a diploma under your belt, then it would make sense to put your educational achievements first and then to follow up with your work experience. But be sure to show employers that what you learned in the classroom has equipped you to succeed and thrive in the workplace. So if you mentored peers, tutored other students, served as a teaching assistant, worked full-time or part-time job during the academic year, or accomplished something else, you can make up for the lack of work experience. The reason for this is that employers want to see that you have what it takes to help them reach their goals.

resume cartoon

Heavy On Experience But Light On Education?

If you have a lot of work experience but either don’t have a significant academic background or are in the process of earning a post-secondary degree, then you should consider starting your resume with your work experience. So, for example, if you’re applying for an account executive position and have previous experience working in such a capacity, then you’ll definitely want to explain not only what you did, but also how what you did helped the company. In other words, you want to be accomplishment-driven rather than duties-driven in your resume write-up.

Again, whether you choose education or experience to start off your resume is really an independent decision that only you can make. Assess where you’re at in terms of educational achievement and work experience, and lead off with the one that best allows you to sell prospective employers on your suitability for the positions you’re applying for.

you are hired

Remember that there’s a lot at stake as you hunt for new career opportunities in this competitive job market. A great resume could very well get you on the list of interview candidates, so be sure to pull out all of the stops to develop the best resume possible.

Vera Marie Reed

You can follow Vera at @VMReed.  Her motto is  “Education fuels our future. Lets do something with it that matters!”



Image Credit.


Ms. Career Girl

Ms. Career Girl was started in 2008 to help ambitious young professional women figure out who they are, what they want and how to get it.

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