You’ve worked hard for years to earn your degree, and now you have it in your hands. So, how do you list your degree on your resume to attract the attention of hiring managers?
Keep reading to learn the following key tips:
- How to format your resume for associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees.
- How to list incomplete degrees on your resume.
- The best way to list in-progress education on your resume.
- How to list multiple degrees on your resume.
- Where to include your education section on your resume.
How to list an associate degree on your resume
An associate’s degree is a 2 or 3-year college program. It can be a stepping stone to your bachelor’s degree or a short stand-alone program. Types of associate’s degrees and their abbreviations include:
- Associate of Arts (AA or A.A.)
- Associate of Business (AB or A.B.)
- Associate of Business Administration (ABA or A.B.A.)
- Associate of Applied Science (AAS or A.A.S.)
- Associate of Science (AS or A.S.)
It’s best practice to write out the full degree name to eliminate confusion, but if you don’t have space, hiring managers know what the abbreviations mean.
Examples of how to list an associate’s degree on your resume
If the name of the university or the city you attended are wordy, it’s possible to shorten the degree name to create white space. In the example below, the resume uses an abbreviated form of the associate’s degree that’s commonly understood. This saves space for more specific and relevant information.
In the examples below, the entirety of the degree is spelled out. Associate’s degrees can be listed as “Associate of Arts” or “Associate in Arts.”
If you have additional degrees, keep the format consistent.
How to write a bachelor’s degree on your resume
In many professional circles, bachelor’s degrees are the gold standard of post-secondary education, both for stable employment and earning potential.
A bachelor’s degree is a 4-year (or longer) undergraduate degree. They’re highly flexible and personal, with endless combinations of major and minor subjects.
Popular bachelor degrees and their abbreviations include:
- Bachelor of Arts (BA or B.A.)
- Bachelor of Science (BS or BSc or B.S./B.Sc.)
- Bachelor of Commerce (BCom or B.Com.)
- Bachelor of Education (BEd or B.Ed.)
- Bachelor of Engineering (BEng or B.Eng.)
- Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA or B.F.A.)
Examples of how to list a bachelor’s degree on your resume
The example below illustrates how to clearly format your resume education section with all the required information.
To include your major and minor on your resume, see this example below of using a bulleted list to help the information stand out.
In the below example, the resume uses a common abbreviation for bachelor of science in nursing to keep the degree list compact and clear.
While not required, if you want to include your achievements like honors, your degree list is the ideal place. This example uses the abbreviation for bachelor of commerce to leave space to show off accolades.
How to list a master’s degree on your resume
When you go to graduate school after an undergraduate degree, you earn a master’s degree.
A list of master’s degrees and their abbreviations include:
- Master of Arts (MA or M.A.)
- Master of Science (BS or BSc or B.S./B.Sc.)
- Master of Business Administration (MBA or M.B.A.)
- Master of Engineering (ME or MEng or M.E/M.Eng.)
- Master of Education (MEd or M.Ed.)
Examples of how to list a master’s degree on your resume
Since the master’s degree is the higher and more recent degree, it’s listed first in this example. And since this person earned their undergraduate and graduate degrees at the same school, grouping them together saves precious space and eliminates redundant information.
In the following example, the resume lists the degree with both the complete spelling and abbreviation. This is helpful if you’re referencing your degree in other sections of your resume so you don’t have to spell it out each time.
Not all post-graduate degrees are master’s degrees. Law school graduates earn a Juris Doctor, Doctor of Jurisprudence, or J.D. degree. All these variations mean they become an entry-level lawyer.
A graduate will likely list their degree like in this example below. You can also include societies or organizations to give your resume a competitive edge.
How to include unfinished degrees on your resume
Sometimes, the path to finishing your education gets interrupted. Should you include an unfinished degree on your resume?
If the job you’re applying for is relevant to your existing coursework, including it on your resume can boost your resume. But it’s important to make clear that your degree is incomplete.
Examples of how to list unfinished degrees on your resume
Even if your degree is incomplete, you can still draw on your completed credits to enhance the strength of your resume.
In the following examples, both resumes highlight the completed credits and the years they attended school, but makes clear to the hiring manager that the degrees are incomplete.
How to include in-progress education on your resume
If you’re getting a head start on your post-grad job applications, listing your degree as in progress is important for transparency. Luckily, it’s simple to list your in-progress degree on your resume.
Example of how to list an in-progress degree on your resume
Below is an example of a resume with a detailed degree section without the degree. But the resume clearly states when they’ll complete the program, so hiring managers know how close they are to graduation.
How to list multiple degrees on your resume
When you have multiple degrees, how can you organize them on your resume?
Your degrees should be listed in reverse chronological order, meaning the most recent, and often most advanced, degree is first.
Example of how to list multiple degrees on your resume
Your education section can show the trajectory of your learning. In this example, the hiring manager will see an increasing specialization in healthcare management from an associate’s to a master’s degree.
In the below sample resume, the standard reverse chronological format highlights the most advanced degree. But both degrees are loosely related, so it’s important to highlight the relevant skills related to the job you’re applying for.
How to add a professional certificate to your resume
The prevalence of professional certifications is on the rise. Of all the post-secondary students in the country, around 50% are choosing associate’s degrees and professional certificates. They differ from bachelor’s degrees because they offer direct pathways to a given career.
As an affordable option for higher education, certifications can help you develop specialized skills to show off on your resume.
Example of how to list professional certifications on your resume
In the below examples of alternative education, the diploma earned is niche, so there are no universal abbreviations.
Where to place your education section
Once you know how to list your degrees on your resume, the next question is, where does it go?
When you’re just starting your professional career or are a new grad, you can include your education section near the top of the document.
If you have a prestigious degree or a new relevant certification, placing it near the top of your resume makes it more noticeable.
When you’re well into your career, your work experience and skills matter more. So keep your education to the bottom of your resume and leave more valuable real estate for relevant information.
How to format your education section for ATS
There’s more than one way to format your education section, depending on your work experience and what details may be most relevant to the job you’re applying for.
However, consider the ATS when you choose your formatting.
The ATS, or applicant tracking system, is a database that houses your resume once you apply for a job. It organizes all the resumes, making it easier for the hiring manager to review them. They’ll input keywords from the job description, and the ATS will organize the strongest matches.
A key detail in this process is the ATS’ ability to read your resume. If your resume isn’t formatted correctly or the formatting is inconsistent, the information can be lost in translation.
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There are essential details to keep in mind when adding your degrees to your education section.
List in reverse chronological order
You already know to list your work history in reverse chronological order, and you should do the same with your degrees.
If you got your bachelor’s degree several years ago but just completed your master’s, place your graduate degree first.
Keep your formatting consistent
Whatever format you choose, consistency is vital for a readable, professional-looking resume.
How do you list an incomplete degree on your resume?
When your degree is incomplete but in progress, include your expected graduation date on your resume’s education section.
If your degree is incomplete because you took a break or dropped out, include the degree if it’s relevant to your application. However, it’s important not to suggest you have a completed degree. Instead, include the amount of credits you hold towards that degree.
What is the correct way to list degrees?
When you list your degree, some universal information to add include:
- The degree type and program.
- The college or university that granted your degree.
- Dates you attended, though it’s optional.
- Dean’s list, awards, clubs, or GPA, if applicable to the job you’re applying for.
How to list a dual degree on your resume?
You can list a dual degree as two separate education bullets. If one is more relevant than the other in your application, list the most valuable one first.