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Resume & Cover Letter

How to Include Relevant Coursework on a Resume

Posted by Glassdoor Team

Career Advice Experts

Last Updated June 29, 2021

Guide Overview

What is relevant coursework on a resume?When to include relevant coursework on a resumeHow to list relevant coursework on a resumeTips for including relevant coursework on a resume

Guide Overview

Including relevant coursework on a resume

While employers understand that students or recent graduates may not have much professional experience, there are ways you can still show you have the knowledge and skills to be a good fit for the company. One way you can do this is by including relevant coursework on your resume. By sharing academic experiences that relate to the job, employers can better assess whether you could handle their position. Here we share how you can effectively include coursework on a resume. Learn more: How to Customize Your Resume for Each Job You Apply to

What is relevant coursework on a resume?

Relevant coursework are the classes or academic experiences you have that make you a good fit for a particular role. On your resume, you can make a section called ‘Relevant Coursework’ and list any specific classes that are useful for the job you’re applying to. For instance, if you are applying for a finance internship, list any business or finance courses you completed.

In this section, you could also include any meaningful research experiences you had. Likewise, your resume can include your academic achievements, like making the dean’s list or having a high grade-point average. When you have little work experience, these academic experiences can highlight your knowledge and show you’re a hard worker.

Learn more: 7 Resume Points That Immediately Grab a Recruiter’s Attention

When to include relevant coursework on a resume

If you are still a student or just recently graduated, you can include relevant coursework on your resume. This is especially true if your coursework proves that you are well versed in a particular subject or skill. Those applying to entry-level roles tend to benefit from a resume that includes relevant courses and research projects you completed. Your resume can also include any student organization or volunteer experience you have.

After you land your first job post-college, it’s time to remove any college coursework from your resume. It wouldn’t make sense to keep highlighting these college experiences once you have some professional experience. Likewise, certain jobs may not find college coursework useful. For instance, if you’re getting a serving or cashier job, your molecular biology courses won’t be relevant. Overall, be mindful of the jobs you’re applying to and whether adding coursework to your resume makes sense.

Learn more: How to Make Sense of Your Resume Feedback

How to list relevant coursework on a resume

Follow these steps when adding relevant coursework to your resume:

1. Be thoughtful about your courses

When deciding which courses to include on your resume, only choose ones that are directly related to the job you’re applying to. For instance, if you’re looking for an entry-level social media specialist role, you could list some of your communication courses. Likewise, adding any graphic design courses could be helpful if this role requires you to create interesting visual content.

2. Choose the right formatting

There are many ways you can format your relevant coursework section. Here are three ways you can do it:

Single-column format

Similar to how you’d list your education, you can showcase your relevant courses in a single-column list. For instance, someone applying to an animal research position may include these courses:

Relevant Coursework

Honors Biology
Zoology
Animal Welfare

Multi-column format

If the job you’re applying to requires a breadth of knowledge, then you may want to share coursework in a few different subjects. For instance, someone applying to a sales position may include the following:

Relevant Coursework

Business
Business Ethics
Introduction to Information Technology
Marketing

Communications

Communication Theory
Persuasive Theories
Public Speaking

Detailed format

The detailed format is especially helpful if you have little experience elsewhere. When you use this format, include a few bullet points that include relevant information about each course, such as achievements or key learnings. Here is an example an aspiring interior designer might use:

Relevant Coursework

Basics of Design, The Art Institute of Atlanta
Fall 2017 – Present

  • Learn and apply core principles of design
  • Develop an eye for design and use of negative space
  • Gain an in-depth understanding of the color wheel and what colors represent

Computer-Aided Drafting I, The Art Institute of Atlanta
Spring 2016

  • Develop the basics of using Adobe InDesign
  • Learn how to plan a space using rendering software

Tips for including relevant coursework on a resume

Use these tips when adding relevant coursework to your resume:

  • Use keywords: When deciding what to add to your resume, scan the job description for a few crucial terms and phrases that pop out. By including them in your resume, you can stand out to hiring managers as a qualified candidate.
  • Reflect on experiences: Only include courses that are genuinely helpful for the role you’re applying to. Choose ones that you could talk about in detail during an interview. Remember, anything that you include on your resume is fair game for an interviewer to ask about. Prior to an interview, think about impactful experiences you could discuss about each course, whether it be a group project or research assignment.
  • Show your growth: When using the detailed format, include information that shows what skills you developed as a result of each course. These can be soft skills, like public speaking or communication. They can also include hard skills, like learning a programming language or software program.
  • Change courses as you progress: During your college career, it’s likely that you’ll apply to a variety of part-time jobs while being a student. During your freshmen year, you may have a majority of introduction or 100-level courses on your resume. As you get into your major courses, you’ll want to update your resume to showcase your high-level coursework.
  • Look for errors: Having a well-written, error-free resume shows employers that you are attentive to detail and take pride in your work. Before submitting anything, read through your resume a few times. You may even want to paste it onto a grammar checker or have a friend scan it for mistakes.

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