Recruiters and hiring managers look for people who can add value to organizations. Your objective as an applicant is to demonstrate to recruiters that you can add this value. You accomplish this through your resume, which highlights your education, experience, and training that distinguishes you from the competition.
As someone who has recently graduated or is still in school, there is a good chance that you do not have a lot of work experience to include on your resume. One way to get around this is to include your academic experiences and other relevant coursework on your resume.
A resume with coursework can help you land a job or internship, especially if you lack formal work experience. It gives the potential employer a good idea of your working skills and whether you’d be a good fit for the position or not. However, including coursework on your resume should be approached with caution.
The following article will define coursework and discuss including college coursework on your resume if you have little work experience.
What is a resume?
A resume is a formal document that job applicants use to itemize their qualifications for a position. It is typically accompanied by a personalized cover letter in which the applicant expresses interest in a specific job or company.
A traditional resume includes sections for a professional summary, work history, and education. It functions similarly to your job search marketing document. A resume’s purpose is to introduce yourself to prospective employers, present your work experience and educational qualification, and secure an interview.
The primary goal of writing a resume is to present your experience, education, and skills in a standardized format that recruiters can easily read. A resume is unquestionably necessary for any job applicant. You can’t expect to be invited to a job interview if you don’t have it.
What is coursework?
As per the Oxford dictionary, coursework is defined as “written or practical work done by a student during a course of study, usually assessed to count towards a final mark or grade.”
In other words, coursework is a practical work or study completed by a student as part of a degree or training requirements. Coursework is made up of projects, fieldwork, design studies, long essays, and so on.
The course determines the type of work that a student must perform. It is primarily a learning exercise and a step toward preparing you to handle the required work/task effectively and efficiently.
Coursework is frequently graded in the case of students at universities, high schools, and middle schools. The scores of the coursework are combined with those of separately assessed exams to determine overall course scores. Unlike exams, students may be given several days or weeks to complete coursework and frequently use textbooks, notes, and the Internet for research.
In universities, students are typically required to complete coursework to broaden their knowledge, improve their research skills, and demonstrate their ability to discuss, reason, and construct practical outcomes from learned theoretical knowledge. Sometimes coursework is completed by a group wherein the students learn how to work in groups and from one another.
What constitutes relevant coursework on a resume?
Any classes, projects, or academic experiences relevant to the job you’re applying for are considered apt coursework on your resume. You can offset your lack of formal work experience by including relevant courses in the education section of your resume.
For many entry-level jobs, not all of your college classes are particularly applicable. It’s best to include a relevant coursework section on your resume if you’re applying for a job that emphasizes academic experience, such as an internship or other education-focused position.
You should examine the job description to see if they are required or not. This might make it easier for you to figure out what you should write. These indicators should be included in the resume if recruiters look for a specific diploma, certification, portfolio, or GPA.
Pertinent coursework should usually come after basic school information such as university name, expected graduation date, major, etc. You can also include any other academic topics you believe will help you stand out, such as awards, honors, certifications, etc.
When to include relevant coursework on resume (and when to avoid it)?
The following are the three main scenarios in which you should include relevant coursework on your resume:
- You’re a recent graduate:
The appropriate time to include relevant coursework on your resume is when you’re entering the workforce or writing a resume for graduate school. If this describes you, you’ve spent the last four years or more studying and completing challenging assignments. Mention and highlight the skills you have gained from the academic experience.
If you’re constructing a resume with no work experience, it’s imperative to include relevant coursework. Even if you lack work experience, doing so demonstrates that you have knowledge relevant to the position.
- You lack relevant work experience:
If you’re writing a resume without any work experience or related work experience, including relevant coursework will boost your credibility and chances of landing the job. By including relevant coursework, you can demonstrate to a potential employer that you have essential knowledge related to the position, even though you lack work experience.
- You’re a graduate student who wants to change careers:
If you went to graduate school to change careers, you should include relevant coursework on your application. Graduate school courses may have provided you with more insight into your new career path than any unrelated previous work experience.
In addition to your coursework, include other relevant experiences you’ve accumulated in your life if your resume doesn’t fill a page. Volunteering and extracurricular activities, for example, can help demonstrate specific soft skills you’ve developed over time.
Furthermore, emphasizing your involvement in student government can demonstrate to employers that you are dependable, work well with others, and are diverse.
There are also circumstances when you should avoid adding coursework to your resume. When considering leaving your coursework off the resume, consider the following scenarios:
- Your resume already exceeds one page in length:
If you have sufficient work experience, skills, and education to fill an entire page of your resume, you should probably leave coursework off, even if it is relevant. It’s futile to go out of your way to include additional coursework unless you have a special certification that the employer should be aware of.
- Your coursework is outdated:
If you haven’t been to school in a while and your coursework is out of date, it might be best to leave such details off your resume. Because of how quickly the digital landscape changes, some marketing courses, for example, can become quickly out of date. If your coursework is too old to be relevant to the job, including it on the resume may not be helpful.
- Your coursework is not relevant to the position you’re applying for:
If the coursework isn’t directly relevant to the job you’re applying for, leave it out. If the opportunity arises during your interview, please take advantage of it. Otherwise, it’s best to leave irrelevant specifications out of the resume as it can distract the recruiters.
What coursework to add to a resume?
- Be selective of the coursework you add:
Choose only courses directly related to the job you’re applying for when deciding which to include on your resume. For example, if you’re looking for an entry-level social media specialist position, you could include some of your communication courses.
Similarly, if this role requires you to create engaging visual content, adding graphic design courses could benefit you.
While there’s no standard rule about the number of courses you should list on your resume, 3 to 6 is a good target. If you have more than four classes, you should format your resume correctly so that it does not look messy.
All resumes should only be one or two pages long. For entry-level candidates, one page should suffice. To keep your coursework organized, use commas, columns, or other visual dividers.
- Add other crucial educational accomplishments:
If you’re putting relevant coursework on a resume, you should mention your high GPA. You can also include information about your schoolwork. As an example:
- Academic honors.
- Any original research work.
- Affiliations and membership.
- Extracurricular activities outside of the classroom.
Include online courses and projects, if any:
If you’ve taken any online classes, you can include them on your resume even if they weren’t part of your degree. List any research projects you have completed that are related to your future career. If you’re applying for a job that requires extensive research, include any large research projects you’ve worked on.
- Include volunteering experiences:
Applicants with volunteer experience are preferred by hiring managers. They believe that volunteering helps you become a better leader and improves your communication skills.
Volunteer work should be included if it is relevant to your professional development. It can help you shine and stand out from the crowd of applicants. For instance, if you’re applying for a position as a teacher’s aide, describe your volunteer tutoring experience.
How to add relevant coursework on resume?
Depending on how much information is already on your resume and how relevant the details of your coursework are for the position, you may need to change how you list coursework information. You must carefully consider the placement of relevant coursework on your resume.
If you are applying for a job that emphasizes educational achievements, you should put your coursework and education near the top of your resume. If the position requires specific skills and experience, you can include them in your skills section. You can also include your coursework in your education section if you prefer.
The following are the various methods for including relevant coursework on your resume:
- Single column format:
The single-column format is similar to your resume’s education section. Your relevant coursework is displayed in a list format with bullet points in the single-column format. You will only include the relevant class title and no other information in this section.
An example of the single-column format-
RELEVANT MANAGEMENT COURSEWORK
- Business Strategy.
- Marketing Principles.
- Multi-column format:
If you want to highlight multiple skills that fall into different categories, you can use the multi-column format. Each column should have a different header, and the relevant courses should be listed beneath it.
An example of the multi-column format-
RELEVANT MANAGEMENT COURSEWORK
- Business Strategy:
- Business Law.
- Business Plan.
- Strategic Planning.
- Financial Analysis.
- Quantitative Finance.
- Marketing Analysis.
- Market Research.
- Digital Marketing.
- Detailed format:
The detailed format is more in-depth than simply using the course title. It goes into greater detail about the skills you may have learned in each course. This format will resemble the format of a resume’s work experience section.
An example of the detailed format-
RELEVANT MANAGEMENT COURSEWORK
Business Strategy, Pennsylvania University
- Created business models on the foundations of Business Strategy.
- Learned the application and execution of a Business Plan when entering new markets or expanding the trade.
- An in-depth comprehension of every aspect of Strategic Planning and execution.
Finance, Pennsylvania University
- Developed in-depth reports on how to conduct comprehensive Financial Analysis for enterprise-level companies.
- Implemented the fundamentals of Quantitative Finance to build investment portfolios as part of a project.
- Created an Investment Management algorithm prototype with Machine Learning to optimize the trading process.
Marketing, Pennsylvania University
- In-depth understanding of Marketing and its components.
- Create a full-fledged Digital Marketing Plan, including data analysis, copywriting, buyer personas, and more.
- Developed a Market Research report on internet usage as part of a group project.
Tips to remember when adding coursework to the resume
- Make sure your resume fits the job description of the specific position you want to fill.
- Include your coursework in the upper section of your document if it is relevant to the position.
- Coursework information should be accompanied by other academic details, such as GPA, honors, and other recognitions.
- Include keywords from the advertised job description in your coursework information to help ATS quickly find your CV.
- Other than your coursework, include information such as school projects, publications, and so on.
- If you have any online certifications, do list them chronologically.
- Check to ensure that all of the information you’ve provided is correct.
Is it necessary to include relevant coursework on your resume? Some will say yes, while others will tell you no. The true answer to this question is- It depends. If you have little experience in the field, including a list of relevant courses can be an excellent way to show your interest in and exposure to a subject.
We hope this article helps you write a great resume that shines a light on your talents and achievements. Remember, a great resume is a stepping stone to a great career.