Relevant coursework on a resume shows that:
- You have subject-matter knowledge
- You have a transferable skill set to offer
And this helps with showing that you’re qualified for the role.
Now, putting coursework on a resume isn’t just for students and graduates. It’s applicable to those with experience and even managers as long as it’s directly linked to the job responsibilities.
Having a lack of experience shouldn’t stop you from applying. In this guide, you’ll learn when and when not to include coursework and how to list it on your resume.
When to Include Relevant Coursework on a Resume
Here are 5 times when you should consider including relevant coursework on your resume. For the most part though, this is effective for student resumes.
You Have Little to No Experience
Having no professional experience means employers will turn to other areas to get insight into your technical skills and knowledge. Some of these other areas include:
- Academic achievements
- Relevant courses
- Communication skills
Therefore, use your coursework to demonstrate that you’re still qualified for the role.
You’re Applying for Internship or Entry-Level Jobs
College students and recent graduates alike will benefit from including relevant coursework to showcase subject-matter expertise. This is especially useful for internship resume applications.
Similar to those making a career change with little to no experience in the field, employers and applicant tracking systems will refer to academic experience. In other words, they’ll look at your resume for the following:
Transferable Hard Skills and Knowledge
The job posting might mention a few online courses, skills, and knowledge that’s required or desirable. And if this is the case, then it can be worth including certain coursework because it’s part of what makes the company's ideal candidate.
A common example of this is having a degree that’s not directly related to the entry-level job you’re applying for. But, one of the courses or modules you studied was directly related to the role. So in this instance, it would be worth mentioning those modules and courses on your resume.
It Involves Real-World Experience
Let’s look at some marketing courses as an example.
To be acknowledged as someone that’s completed the course, one of the requirements could be to develop and implement a digital marketing strategy for a real business.
Now, this coursework would be valuable to put on a resume. Not only does it show that you’re knowledgeable about marketing as a subject. But it also demonstrates workforce experience since you’re using what you know in the real world and not just writing it down on a school paper.
Advanced Coursework From a Reputable Organization
Including specialized coursework highlights your knowledge. And because the course was from a reputable organization, it’ll look good for both your resume and your overall academic background.
Not all other candidates may have managed to secure the opportunity to study with that same institution. So, mentioning this on your resume will help you stand out.
When Not to Include Relevant Coursework on a Resume
Here are 3 times when you should reconsider including relevant coursework on your resume.
You Have More Than 2 Years of Work Experience
Above all resume sections, your work experience matters the most.
Coursework isn’t necessary when you already have several years of experience. Your professional experience is usually more important than coursework because practicality is more useful than theory.
But when you have extra space, then you could consider mentioning relevant courses. If not and space is limited, prioritize your work experience instead of coursework.
The Coursework Is Outdated
You’re better off leaving your coursework out of your resume when it’s outdated because it may no longer be relevant in today’s landscape.
However, similar to the resume education section, you could still include it but by removing details related to the dates – this is assuming that it meets one of the 5 points mentioned earlier.
No Transferable Skills
When there are no transferable skills, it clutters your application instead of adding value. In other words, it's pretty much irrelevant and unnecessary when there are no transferable skills that have been developed.
Even so, an alternative if you'd still like to mention your coursework is to frame it as an achievement. Omit the bullet points and only include the following details:
- Course title
- Course summary
How to List Relevant Coursework and Make Them Look Good
We’ll show you step-by-step how to create a separate resume section for your coursework and how to list them correctly. Afterwards, we'll show you other sections on a resume where you can list your courses.
1. Use an Optimized Resume Format
A well-formatted resume section will get your reader’s attention. It also makes it easier for the reader to find key information quickly.
Here’s what makes a good resume section format:
- Bold text
- All caps text
- Professional resume font
Unless you’re using a resume platform like Rezi, you'll likely have to optimize for each of these manually.
2. Enter the Resume Section Header
The header of your coursework section could either be “coursework” or “relevant coursework.” Make this nice and clear and easy to read for the hiring manager. Use bold text for the headers and lining to make the resume section stand out.
3. Enter the Subheaders
The subheaders include the following details:
- Course name
- Date of completion
- Course skills/objective (optional)
Here’s an example of how this looks when building a resume with Rezi (but forget about the last field for now because that’s not going to be a subheader, which is what we’ll be going over in the next step).
4. Describe the Skills That You Applied
As shown above from the Rezi dashboard, the last field requires you to describe the skills that you applied. Use bullet points to showcase your abilities and responsibilities. The skills mentioned should be relevant to the job description and each bullet point should be outcome-focused.
On that note, see below for the best practices on how to write about your coursework and make them look good.
Start Each Bullet Point With an Action Verb
Begin your sentences using an action verb to get straight to the point. This is effective because it engages the reader by immediately bringing them into the action. However, be specific and creative – and avoid the overused words.
Aside from grabbing your hiring manager’s attention, it conveys initiative as well as accountability. It also emphasizes the impact that you've made.
Highlight Achievements and Results
Make your sentences outcome-focused. This is a more compelling way to show that you’re a results-driven person as opposed to just saying you’re all about the results.
That said, here’s a few tips to keep in mind:
- Be specific: mention exactly what you worked on and what skills, knowledge, or frameworks you had to apply.
- Quantify the results: use numbers if possible when writing about achievements and responsibilities.
- Use the active voice: put emphasis on the actions you took and the difference that your efforts made.
- Be concise: keep each bullet point brief and ensure it’s only 1-2 lines long.
Use Resume Keywords
Refer to the job ad. See what type of words related to job skills and knowledge keeps on being brought up.
Tailor your bullet points based on the job description. For instance, focus your descriptions of an assignment on a particular skill or ability that the hiring manager would expect from the ideal candidate.
Other Sections to Put Relevant Coursework on a Resume
There are 3 places where you can mention coursework on a resume:
- Education section
- Additional resume section
- Individual resume section
How you write about your coursework depends on which resume section you’re mentioning it in.
Coursework in Resume Education Section
Aside from including your degree in the education section, you can include what you minored in. You may also mention a relevant coursework piece. This can either be listed as a bullet point or as a subheader next to the main qualification listed.
Whether you want to add the title of your coursework or what you minored in, this information is secondary. The primary information in the education section is the main academic qualification.
Here’s an example below.
Coursework in Additional Resume Section
The additional resume section could be one of the following:
- Extracurricular activities
You write about your coursework depending on the nature of the additional resume section.
If it’s similar to the education section where you’re listing qualifications or awards, include the title of the coursework you completed as a subheader after listing the main achievement. Or, bring it up as a bullet point underneath.
But if it’s similar to the work experience section where you want to include details about your responsibilities, list the title of the coursework as the main subheader. Then, add bullet points underneath describing what you learned.
Coursework in Individual Resume Section
Use a separate resume section dedicated to relevant coursework as shown in our step-by-step guide earlier.
5 Mistakes Job Seekers Make When Listing Coursework on a Resume
Here are 5 common mistakes to avoid:
- The coursework listed isn’t relevant to the job position
- The coursework description shows no application of skills and knowledge
- Overloading your resume with coursework. (If you want to focus on quantity, then forget about the bullet points and just fill in the subheaders.)
- Listing coursework without a concise summary of what it’s about.
- Prioritizing coursework over work experience.
4 Resume Examples With a Good Coursework Section
Feel free to also check out our library of 300+ free resume templates here.
First Year Student Resume
Data Science Intern Resume
Portfolio Manager Resume
Student Technical Assistant Resume
Generate a Powerful Coursework Resume Section in Less Than 60 Seconds
Firstly, you need a Rezi account – sign up here to get started for free.
Next, all you need to do is simply fill in the following fields:
- Enter the coursework title.
- Include the organization/institution name where you completed the coursework.
- Mention the dates.
- Include the location.
- Press “Generate Bullet”.
- Either press “AI writer generate” to rewrite the bullet point or if you’re happy with it, use the suggestion for your coursework resume section.
Use Coursework to Prove You’re Qualified
Work experience and skills are important for hiring managers… but so is your academic background.
Include only relevant coursework on a resume. Not the irrelevant modules. Then, either use it to do one of the following:
- Frame your coursework as an accomplishment
- Use your coursework to showcase your skills and knowledge by describing what you’ve learned
And if you’re struggling to write your resume in general, try using Rezi’s AI resume builder. You’re guided step-by-step and you can rely on our AI writer to give you a hand!