The education section of a CV summarises the applicant’s academic achievements.

It is one of the core sections of a CV and allows recruiters to assess if candidates have the right qualifications for a job. Job seekers can use it to list their GCSEs, A levels, university degrees, technical courses, vocational training, and certificates.

Written properly it can strengthen a person’s credentials and encourage a hiring manager to accept an application for their vacancy.

It’s an opportunity to show employers that you’ve used education to obtain the skills and technical knowledge needed to work in their industry. Also remember that qualified candidates usually need less training. This means less costs for an employer and an incentive for them to take on educated staff who don’t require lengthy induction periods.

By: Iejaz Uddin – 4 May 2024


Page overview

  • How to write your education section on your CV
  • What to include in your education section
  • Other types of qualifications to list
  • Where to place education on a CV
  • Why include education in your CV


How to write your education section on your CV

This section should only include details of your academic qualifications, and nothing else.

Hiring managers will expect to see a few fundamental points in it such as the name and location of the school, college, or university. Followed by the subjects, qualification, awarding body and grades. Finally, they want the dates you attended.

It’s crucial that it has the right details and is in the right place.


What to include in your education section

For each of your qualifications give the;

  • School, College, or University name
  • Qualifications obtained
  • Location
  • Dates attended or graduation date
  • Field of study (major and minors)
  • Honors, achievements, relevant coursework and extracurricular activities.


The pecking order in which to list your achievements;

  1. Post graduate degree
  2. Undergraduate degree
  3. A levels (or equivalent)
  4. GCSEs


How to write your A levels on your CV

The order in which you place individual A level subjects should be determined by the:

  • Grades you achieved (put best ones first)
  • How relevant the subject is to the job you are applying for.


How to write your GSCEs on your CV

Create a subheading titled GSCE under the main education title. If you are applying for your first job and do not have enough work experience, then you should list them in detail and place them prominently near the top of the page.



There is no need to list any school qualifications you attained before your GSCEs.


How to list your education if you’re still studying

The first thing to do in this scenario, is to clearly state that you are still studying. Do this with a simple:

  • Currently pending
  • In progress
  • Due to complete in 2026

Then give all the other usual information such as institution name, course name, academic level, subject and dates.


Non academic achievements

If whilst studying, you held any positions of authority, such as being a prefect or sports team captain, then include these as well. They’ll help to prove that you have leadership potential as well as brains.


Add extra information

To add more gravitas to your academic achievements, you can also include any relevant coursework, modules, projects, dissertations, theses, and awards to under individual qualifications.

You can also use percentages and financial statistics to further quantify your achievements and prove you were top of the class.


Final thoughts

  • Proof read you section before sending it off.
  • Always prioritise information that is directly relevant to the role you’re applying for.


Other types of qualifications to list

If you’ve completed technical job specific vocational courses like BTECs and have NVQs under your belt, then put these down. These will prove that you’ve taken the effort to acquire the knowledge and practical required to perform a particular job.

They are often very practical and involve learning in real life situations and are mostly offered at Further Education (FE) Colleges.

Apprenticeships are also a way to learn on the job and aimed at building up a person’s job-specific knowledge and qualifications.


Professional certifications

These should go below your formal qualifications and include the names of the awarding accreditation bodies and online course service providers. Also give the year of completion and if applicable expiration date.


The order in which to list your qualifications

List your educational qualifications in descending order of importance. This is known as the reverse chronological layout and is where you begin with your current or most recent education and work backwards.

Using this format shows recruiters that you’ve achieved consistent academic growth over a long period of time and demonstrates your ability to work hard to achieve pre-set goals and progress your career.


Where to place education on a CV

Most experienced job seekers list their education section at the bottom of the CV, just below their work experience. For them their employment background precedes their education.

However, where you place your academic qualifications really depends on the relevancy of your education, where you are in your career, and whether you’re changing industries.


School leavers and recent graduates

Young people who have just left formal education tend to have little or no workplace experience. This means their academic record will carry more weight with prospective employers and should therefore be positioned in a prominent position in their CV.

In this situation, it should be in the top part of your CV just below the personal summary.


Experienced professionals

For job seekers who have long careers and extensive skills, their education is less of a priority than their work experience.

It’s best to prioritise your career history over everything else and place your education section below your work experience. However, it’s still good practice to give a summary of your highest academic accomplishments such as any undergraduate and postgraduate degrees.


Career changers

Another group who should place more value on their education is career changers. These are people who are moving from one field to an entirely different one, in which they have very little or no experience.

Their training, qualifications and skills should take precedence over everything else and be placed above their employment history.


Why include education in your CV

Including it not only reassures employers that you have the required level of technical knowledge, but also the intelligence needed to learn and possess what it takes to succeed.

It can help create a more rounded picture of you as a candidate, especially for highly academic roles, such as technicians, teachers, doctors, and lawyers.

Another factor in its importance really is how much relevant work experience and skills the applicant has. If a candidate is very experienced, then their academic qualifications will not have that much value.

However, if they have little or no work experience, then they can make up for the shortfall by showing off their study skills and intellectual credentials.


When you must include your education;

  • If an employer has explicitly stated in the job advert that applicants should catalogue their qualifications.
  • When applying for jobs that require formal accreditation or education in a specific field or discipline.


Other reasons to include it

Here are some more reasons why its advisable to include what you’ve done as a student.


Beat other equally experienced candidates

In the current jobs market, each advertised vacancy can attract hundreds of similarly experienced candidates. A well-stocked education section can give you the edge needed to stand out from those with a similar employment background. It can also can help reinforce the impression that you are an expert in a particular field or subject, sometimes this is all it takes to win an interview.


Can help get past the ATS algorithm

The majority of employers use Applicant Tracking Systems to screen an applicant’s CV and overall job application. It does this by looking for keywords or phrases that match what is written in the vacancies job description. If your CV does not include similar keywords, it will be rejected. Your CV’s education section is another opportunity to list the desired keywords that will get you past the ATS.