How Adult Learners Should Highlight Education on their Resumes
Finishing your degree as an adult takes an incredible amount of commitment, and you’re proud that you dedicated the time to this accomplishment. Now it’s time to set your sights on a new career, and a thorough sprucing of your resume is in order. But all the tips in the world—all the dos, don’ts, and never-evers—lack advice on the biggest question you may have: should you include your education on your resume if you graduated as a working adult?
Much of the counsel out there warns against including your graduation date once “past a certain age”—but that recommendation is neither helpful nor relevant to someone who earned a degree at a later point in life. We believe there’s a better answer for you—as well as one that’s less insulting on the age factor.
In short, the answer is yes, include it—but do so strategically. You went back to school for a reason. You wouldn’t have invested the time, money, and grit into your education if you didn’t believe it would improve your career trajectory. Now you just have to show that.
Think of your resume as a marketing tool demonstrating the best things you have to offer the professional world. As an adult with experience, work ethic, and a degree, there’s a lot to choose from. Depending on the position you’re applying for, consider tailoring your resume to include the jobs, experiences—and yes, your recent graduation date—to show how you’ve intentionally shaped the direction of your career.
In addition to including your graduation date, you might also consider elements such as GPA, extracurricular involvements, and projects that speak to skills such as time management, communication, and organization that going back to school requires. Highlight the abilities, experiences, and education that demonstrates your preparedness for the job you want.
Show Your Strengths
Let’s say you’ve always had a passion for health care and that your experience shows that you’ve pursued jobs in that field ever since high school. That passion is what led you to recently complete a degree in health care. Your resume may be full of health care experiences varying from top-notch, impressive responsibilities to that two-month stint you held when you were younger. There’s limited space on a resume to market yourself, so share only the strongest and most relevant experiences.
You went back to school for a reason, so your resume should both reflect that reason and demonstrate how that education further prepares you for your industry. Completing a degree at any age is an impressive accomplishment, so let your resume sing the praises for you.
Written by Kelsey Bober, Content Manager for Bridgepoint Education.