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
3 Reasons to Add Online Courses to Your CV and How To Do It
Published on: Jun 28, 2016 by Jerry Hamedi74450 views
When searching for a new hire, different employers look for different things, but they’re all trying to answer the same overarching question: can this individual add value to my business?
As a strong potential candidate, it’s your job to help them reach the right conclusion. It can be a difficult task to set yourself apart from the crowd, but showcasing your completion of relevant online courses is a great starting point. With that in mind, here are three reasons why you should add online courses to your resume:
1. It makes for a better interview.
Employers use interviews to gauge the value you can add to their company, and it’s important to set yourself apart from the other applicants. It’s not every day that an interviewer sees a MOOC on a resume (though it is becoming more common). Adding relevant online coursework can really help you stand out. It’s unique and invites conversation, so be prepared to answer questions. You could expect to be asked:
- What drove you to enroll in these courses and further your education?
- What knowledge did you gain from the courses?
- What can you do now that you couldn’t do before?
One of our edX learners, Akshay, who landed a job at Microsoft, explains how discussion of his online courses helped him get hired: “With Microsoft’s shifting strategy towards cloud, most of the interview questions were around cloud computing and how much we understood it… I told them about the courses I had taken and that I was also a TA in the edX course. They were so impressed that while other candidates got grilled for hours with technical questions, my interviews were short and mostly HR based because of all the courses I took at edX.”
2. It displays a relevant set of skills.
Applicants often struggle to convey what they can actually do for a company.Speaking confidently about a skillset that you’ve developed can help guide interviewers in the right direction. It’s a clear-cut example of what you know and what you can get done.
Akshay, for instance, used MOOCs to develop a valuable skillset that he then added to his resume. He provided a practical example of exactly what he could do, and was able to convey the extent of his knowledge during the interview. With an important set of relevant skills, the interviewers knew that he was a good fit.
3. It shows character.
Pursuing professional education not only helps develop important skill sets, but it also exhibits good character.
Completing an online course, in and of itself, is impressive. It demonstrates personal drive and discipline, intellectual maturity, curiosity, and a strong willingness to learn: all of which are important to employers. It’s difficult for interviewers to always gauge these qualities, but it’s what they’re trying to do. They want to see that you’re willing to go the extra mile, because that indicates passion, and passion indicates value.
Bear in mind, though, that this only applies if you’ve actually completed the course and can talk about what you learned and how it’s relevant to the position.
For example, if you’re applying for a software engineering job, don’t list a course you took about the American Civil War as relevant work experience*. Something like HTML5 from W3C or Programming with C# is a much better fit, provided that you can speak knowledgeably about what you’ve learned. If you can’t talk about it, you shouldn’t include it.
*An interest section on your resume is a great place for this, though. Employers are searching for talent, but they’re also looking for personality. If you’re passionate about it, include it.
But how should you actually go about adding MOOCs to your resume?
One of the best ways to incorporate MOOCs into your resume is by means of a cover letter. It allows you to connect with a recruiter or hiring manager on a personal level, and is a great place to discuss the professional skills that you’ve acquired and how they relate to the position. If you’re submitting your resume electronically, you can even link to the course profiles.
A second option is to create an entirely new section, such as “skills and objectives,” “personal advancement,” or “professional development.” Another is to include your MOOCs in the education section of your resume. This can be especially useful if you haven’t completed a degree program, or if you’re applying for a job that’s unrelated to your degree.
In any case, only include the courses that you completed and the major takeaways of each. Don’t sell yourself short, but don’t overdo it either. Be concise, and make sure that everything you include is relevant to the job.
This might look something like:
edx, Inc. (MOOC platform)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Bachelor of Science: Mechanical Engineering (2014)
edX, Inc. (MOOC platform)
Used edX.org, a massive open online course (MOOC) platform, to take courses offered by accredited universities and training programs, including Harvard and Microsoft, to acquire skills in: C, PHP, HTML, Excel.
Also: don’t forget to update your LinkedIn profile with all of the course certificates that you’ve earned. EdX has a helpful feature built into the dashboard that allows you to add certificates directly to your profile! Once added to your profile, make sure it appears in the correct category.
Want to start adding MOOCs to your own resume? Here’s a few to get you started:
Partners: HarvardMicrosoftThe University of Adelaide
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