When you are a recent graduate with little or no work experience, your CV can seem a little lean. You may be intimidated by the idea of pitting yourself against more experienced applicants.
Including relevant coursework on your CV can be one way of demonstrating essential skills and increasing your chances of getting the job you want.
Below, we’ll discuss what relevant course work is, when you should include it on your CV, and when you should leave it out.
Consider the following tips for creating an attention-getting relevant coursework resume.
Relevant coursework describes courses you took while in school as well as related academic experiences. Relevant coursework can originate from your high school curriculum or your university education.
Not every class you took is relevant, however. The term “relevant” means that it is directly related to the job to which you are applying. In other words, your coursework should highlight a certain skill, knowledge, or ability that you need to do a job.
Relevant coursework appears in the education section of your CV, usually as a bulleted list following an education entry.
You should consider including relevant coursework on your CV in the following situations.
I stated above, entry-level CV can seem slim. When you are fresh out of college or high school, you may have only one or two work experience entries – or even none at all. What is more, your previous work experience may not be related to your career path.
How can you stand up against more experienced applicants? That is where relevant coursework comes in.
If you went to college and earned a degree or if you took vocational courses in high school, you gained valuable knowledge and hands-on experience in that field. Including your coursework demonstrates that you know what you are doing, even if you have never technically worked in that field. It also shows that your knowledge is up-to-date.
Sometimes, relevant coursework can come in handy even years down the road. For example, you may decide to pursue a new career path that you previously took some classes in.
For example, I graduated from college with a degree in psychology and sociology. While studying, I also took elective courses in writing and photography. These proved invaluable when I transferred to the content creation field (in which writing and photography are key components) several years after graduation.
As we saw above, including relevant coursework can be a great way to leverage your academic background on your CV. However, there are times when your coursework should not be included in your CV.
You should tailor your CV to each job you apply for. As such, what is relevant coursework to one job may not be relevant to another.
Consider again the author’s example. I mentioned coursework in both writing and photography. However, if I apply to a job that includes only photography and not writing, the writing coursework is no longer relevant. It should therefore not be included on the CV for that job application.
When you first graduate, your relevant coursework may be an extremely vital part of your CV. However, as time goes by, it may become less so. Why?
In many cases, recruiters and hiring managers give more weight to your work experiences than to your education. This is especially the case when you have worked in your field for many years.
Once you have ample experience under your belt, it is likely no longer necessary to include coursework on your CV. In fact, doing so could even be detrimental. How so?
For one thing, including coursework takes up space. Since most CVs today are only one page in length, every line of your resume is valuable real estate. You want to use that space to convey the most important information. Often, that means relying heavily on your most recent experiences.
Don’t exclude valuable, recent work experiences simply because you want to leave enough room to keep coursework on your CV. It may be better to omit the coursework so that you have more space for recent experiences.
Outdated coursework can also have a negative impact. As time goes by, technologies, procedures, and standards change. Very old coursework could suggest that you are not up to date on the latest techniques. You should especially give thought to this if you work in rapidly evolving professions such as medicine or computer technology.
Relevant coursework is related directly to the job to which you are applying. You should always include relevant coursework if you’re a recent graduate, have little experience, or are making a career change. Omit it if your CV is too long or if the coursework becomes outdated.