champlain college graduates

Relevant Coursework & Your Resume

by Sarah Wilkinson, Class of ’17

You’ve been in college now for at least a few months or maybe you’re about to graduate, and that means you have a lot of valuable skills and knowledge that you’ve gained from your coursework. So, do you include a section on your resume called Relevant Coursework, or is it bad practice?

First of all, what is relevant coursework? Let’s say you’re applying for a job at a preschool. If you took classes specifically geared towards early/preschool education, that would be relevant. Relevant work experience is similar in that if you’re applying to a job as an IT specialist, any work you’ve done with Champlain’s Media Services or the EMC is relevant.

So should you include relevant coursework on your resume? The answer is, it depends. You may want to include relevant coursework (relevant being the key word) if you don’t have a lot of experience in the industry you’re applying for a job in. Coursework can help you demonstrate your interest in the field and if you list specific projects you’ve worked on, can demonstrate the skills and abilities you have.

If you have plenty of relevant work experience, you may want to focus on giving detailed descriptions of them rather than your coursework. Ultimately, experience itself is what employers are looking for. You could still include a section about your coursework if you want to even if you have plenty of relevant experiences, but be warned that it could make your resume look cluttered.

Be selective about the courses you list if you choose to include any at all. In general, avoid listing general knowledge courses or Intro courses in favor of highly specific ones. For example, as a writing major, I might not want to list Introduction to the Writing Profession, but I would want to include Advanced Creative Non-Fiction if it was relevant to the job I was applying for.

So where do you put “Relevant Coursework” on your resume? We all know there’s a million ways to format and write a resume, so you have some options. You could list it after your section on education and your degree program, or you could be like me and list it near the bottom after my work experiences. My thinking for putting it there is that my work experience is most relevant, but I’ve learned a lot of great stuff in my classes too that I could talk about in an interview.

Ultimately, the test to see whether you should include relevant coursework on your resume is to ask yourself what you would talk about in an interview to convince an employer you’re qualified for the job. Would you talk about work experiences you’ve had, coursework and projects you’ve completed, or both? If you’d only talk about your work experiences, that’s what you include, and the same goes for if you’d only talk about your coursework. If you will talk about both, include both.

As always, if you still have questions when making your resume, you can always visit a peer advisor during Drop-In hours or make an appointment with your career coach.