You’re fresh out of school, armed with years’ worth of knowledge and the most up-to-date skills. But should you include specifics about your coursework on your resume?
If you graduated recently, are changing careers, or simply lack a lot of relevant work experience in the field you’re aiming for, the answer is probably yes. Keep reading as we cover exactly how to do that, including real examples and tips on where it belongs and how to match it to the job you want.
Let’s start with a brief rundown of when relevant coursework belongs on your resume — and when it doesn’t.
When (and when not) to include relevant coursework on your resume
Relevant coursework doesn’t belong on every resume. For most job seekers, it’s completely optional (and probably unnecessary if you have any actual work experience in a similar role or industry).
You can consider using coursework to highlight relevant skills and industry knowledge, especially if:
- You graduated recently (or are about to). As a recent graduate, your most relevant “experience” is likely to be your education, so it’s okay to focus on that.
- You’re changing careers. This is doubly true if you went back to school or completed a short course to retrain.
- You have limited experience and/or are applying for entry-level positions. Without a lot of experience in the field, it makes sense to focus on what you do have — things like relevant coursework, community involvement, or extracurricular activities.
Decided that listing relevant coursework on your resume is the right step for you? Here’s how to do it.
How to include relevant coursework on a resume
- Create an Education section on your resume. For recent graduates, this can go at the top of your resume, above your Work Experience section.
- List the name of the school, the degree you studied, and your graduation date (optional).
- Underneath, create a subheading titled “Relevant Coursework.”
- List a small number of courses (no more than 3-4) that are directly relevant to the job you’re applying for. That’s enough if you want to keep your education section brief, but if you choose to expand it, you can also:
- Include a single bullet point for each course that highlights a key accomplishment. Start each bullet point with an action verb so it more closely resembles your other resume bullets.
- Focus on how the course prepared you for the kind of job you aim to be doing — for example, if you’re applying for roles in marketing, focus on things like conducting market research surveys or implementing social media campaigns.
- Use our free resume scanner for more tips on how to perfect your resume bullet points and Education section.
Examples of listing relevant coursework on a resume
Here are some examples of including relevant coursework in a few common areas of study. Feel free to copy and paste or customize these to fit your own experience.
Finance coursework on a resume
Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance
XYZ University, Graduated May 2022
Corporate Finance: Analyzed financial statements and conducted valuation analysis to assess the financial health of a company.
Investment Analysis: Evaluated investment opportunities and presented recommendations to a panel of industry professionals.
Financial Modeling: Created complex financial models to forecast revenue and expense projections.
Marketing coursework on a resume
Bachelor of Science in Marketing
ABC College, Graduated June 2021
Digital Marketing: Created and implemented a social media campaign for a local business, resulting in a 30% increase in website traffic.
Market Research: Conducted focus groups and surveys to gather insights on consumer preferences and behavior.
Brand Management: Developed a brand identity and positioning strategy for a new product line.
Technology coursework on a resume
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science
DEF University, Graduated December 2021
Database Systems: Designed and implemented a database management system for a student organization to track membership and event attendance.
Operating Systems: Worked on a team to develop a custom operating system using C++, implementing process scheduling and memory management algorithms.
How to determine which coursework to include
The number one rule of writing a resume is that everything on it needs to be relevant to the specific job you’re applying for — even your education. Anything that isn’t relevant should be a) kept as brief as possible or b) left off altogether.
That means you should only list coursework that more or less matches the kinds of tasks you’ll be doing in your new job. Sometimes this is obvious — for example, if the job ad asks for experience with specific tools, software or programming languages, it makes sense to include any coursework you completed on those topics
Here’s an example:
Job Description: "Experience with programming languages such as Python, Java, and C++."
Relevant Coursework: Introduction to Python, Object-Oriented Programming (Java), Data Structures and Algorithms (C++)
Other times, you’ll need to read between the lines a little — which can help demonstrate that you understand the basic requirements of the job. For example:
Job Description: "Experience with digital marketing tools and analytics software."
Relevant Coursework: Digital Marketing, Marketing Analytics, Web Analytics
Here’s another example:
Job Description: "Strong knowledge of financial accounting principles."
Relevant Coursework: Financial Accounting, Managerial Accounting, Corporate Finance
I’d recommend using the tool below to get a list of skills and keywords relevant to the job you’re applying for.
Where to put relevant coursework on a resume
There are a few places where it makes sense to list relevant coursework on your resume. This could be in your:
- Education section. This is the most obvious place to list coursework, so it should always go here first.
- Skills section. If your coursework involved a specific hard skill, you can also list it in your skills section — for example, listing an “Adobe Photoshop Fundamentals” course under a subheading like “Software” or “Graphic Design.”
- Certifications or Licenses section. If you completed a course that led to a specific certification — especially if it’s one that’s well known or highly regarded in your industry — you can highlight that by listing the course separately in a dedicated section.
Listing relevant coursework on your resume is optional. It’s generally a good fit for recent graduates and career changers, but not for more experienced job seekers.
- Alongside relevant coursework, you may also want to highlight educational accomplishments like GPA, honors, awards, study abroad, educational projects, and extracurricular activities. Check out our complete guide on how to list education on your resume for more tips and examples.
- Make sure you’re tailoring your resume for each position you apply to and reviewing it regularly to remove sections (like relevant coursework) that no longer belong.