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Monday, July 24, 2006
Education and Training
You want your resume to stand out and you want it to show how good you are at your job, how much you have learned over the years, and how successful you can be for the prospective employer. You struggle for hours with the job descriptions and rack your brain trying to get the accomplishments written just right. Then you come to the education section and you think “Ah, the easy part!” and make a long list of every training class you’ve ever been to, your degrees, and even that you were an Eagle Scout. Is that the right approach, though?

Sure, the education and training part of the resume is usually the easy part to write but including everything is not a good idea. Here are some brief tips:

Start with the highest degree. If you have an advanced degree such as a PhD or an MBA, start with that and work backward to your undergraduate degrees.

Leave off high school. Most people at your level have a high school degree. If you don’t have a college degree, listing the high school degree only emphasizes that you don’t have a college degree. Instead, list the training and certifications you have to your name.

Keep it relevant. A professional with twenty years’ experience will have attended a lot of seminars, conferences, etc. over the years. It is not necessary or even a good idea to try to list everything. Sift first for relevance to your current goal. If you are targeting marketing and you took a class ten years ago in Windows 3.1, it’s not relevant. Don’t include it. Sift secondly for dates. Usually, training and education that is not college related should be kept to the last five years or so. That’s a rule of thumb but sometimes there is training that is older that is relevant. If it’s older than five or seven years, think of relevance again.

Unusual training. The Eagle Scout designation is one I see quite frequently and I always look at it through the lens of time. The Eagle Scout is a difficult achievement but it is one that is achieved by high school students. Does the experience since high school also demonstrate leadership abilities? If it does, there is no need for the Eagle Scout info because it has been surpassed. Look at other unique designations in this light to judge whether to include them or not.

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