The When’s & Why’s of Experience or Education on the top of your Resume

Posted by | May 4, 2012 | Articles, Jobs

Year after year, job seekers are puzzled by the same question when writing a resume: Should your education or work experience appear at the top? The answer is that it depends.

If you graduated from school within the last year or two  then your education will be at the top of your resume. Most likely with 0-2 years of work experience,  your education is your most “saleable” skill. Do you think a professional employer wants to see that you worked in a retail store or restaurant while getting your degree? It’s helpful to show you have a good work ethic but the most important thing is your education and how it relates to the job you are applying for.

If you graduated more than two years ago, put your work experience to the forefront. At a certain point, the prestige of the college is not the deciding factor for employers; it is what you have accomplished after graduating. The employer wants to know what you’ve done after getting the degree. Even an Ivy League degree will only take you so far if you have little to show for it after college.

There are certain industries in which exceptions to the above exist. If you work, or would like to work, in education or an academic focused position, most likey your education would remain at the top of the resume or more appropriately, Curriculum Vitae. The employer here would place a heavy emphasis on your educational credentials.

Remember always that the resume is a marketing piece for your potential employer. You are always trying to capture their interest in all forms of communication. Think of what would be most effective in demonstrating your ability to perform on the job and put that to the forefront of your resume.

Lavie Margolin is a New York-based Career Coach and the author of The Roaring Job Search Anthology. To learn more, go to Lavie’s website, Contact Lavie via email: or phone, (914) 525-0965.

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