Listing relevant coursework from your bachelor’s degree program on your resume can be advantageous for entry-level job seekers starting out within their industry. There are two ways to accomplish this. Including the coursework as bullet points within your education section is one approach. The other option is to create a whole new section that allows you to list your coursework separately and provide more insights into what you learned during your program. Throughout this guide, we’ll provide you with examples to help you showcase your coursework and land your first entry-level position.
List Only Relevant Coursework that Matches the Job Description
Ideally, you should only list coursework relevant to the position you are applying for on your resume. For instance, if you’re seeking an accounting position, it wouldn’t make much sense to include an elective you completed in continental philosophy. As your job search begins, carefully analyze each posting before incorporating your coursework.
The more relevant details you’re able to incorporate into your resume, the more likely you’ll be to generate interviews during your search. Coursework can be beneficial for entry-level professionals, as it can sometimes be challenging to fill out your document with strong qualifications due to a lack of work history. Below, we’ll review an example of a job seeker looking for a mental health counseling role:
Bachelor of Science (B.S.), Psychology
COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY, New York, NY September 2017 – May 2021
- Expressive Art Therapy
- Emotionally-Focused Therapy
- Group & Family Counseling
- Fine Art
Notice how in this first example, the job seeker is including both psychology and art courses in their education section. This might seem like a poor choice on the job seeker’s part, but in this situation, they’re actually demonstrating why they’re uniquely qualified for the position. Art therapy is a unique field within the mental health counseling space that utilizes a range of modalities and therapeutic approaches to help patients overcome trauma and cognitive disabilities. Showcasing their understanding of both art and psychology will show organizations that they have a dynamic skill set that can help them succeed within this niche clinical environment.
You Don’t Need to Use the Official Name of the Course
It’s important to understand that the names of courses vary significantly from university to university. If the official name of the course fails to convey what you were learning, you may want to use a relevant keyword as the course title instead. For instance, instead of “Intro Accounting 101”, you may want to use a title such as “Financial Accounting” instead. This will also help you to maintain compliance with Applicant Tracking System (ATS) requirements, as you can rename your courses to mirror high-impact keywords on the job description.
- Example 1
- Introduction to Developing Software 101
- Intro to Programming 102
- Advanced Computer Science 103
- Coding in the Modern Tech Landscape 103
- App Dev Capstone Course 104
- Example 2
Software Development Coursework
- Application Development Capstone: Completed a capstone course to build a functional mobile application in Python that enabled students to compare and contrast cost savings on used books and rentals versus new book prices
Notice how in the first example, the job seeker is using the exact names of the courses. Although “Coding in the Modern Tech Landscape” sounds like a good title, it doesn’t tell the hiring manager anything about what the student was learning during the course. In the second example, the candidate has changed the titles of the courses to better reflect the subject matter. They also provide fewer courses, and instead highlight more relevant details that match the position they’re applying for. This is a much more effective strategy for making a positive impression on the hiring manager and will greatly increase your chances of landing the interview.
Feature Academic Projects to Further Highlight Your Coursework
If you’re going to list coursework on your resume, you should strongly consider building an academic projects section to provide deeper insights into your education experience and qualifications. It’s one thing to mention a Python class on your resume, but it’s another to showcase a project where you utilized this programming language to build a mobile application. Resumes with unique and compelling details are much more likely to grab the hiring manager’s attention, especially when applying for entry-level positions where the documents run the risk of appearing vague and generic. Below, you’ll find two examples to help you feature academic projects on your resume:
- Example 1
Economics Projects, University of Syracuse, New York, NY
September 2020 – May 2022
- Performed statistical analysis of financial trends within the housing market to create a predictive algorithm analyzing potential shifts based on a variety of economic factors, including foreclosures, housing market data, and projected household incomes
- Evaluated the risk and long-term ROI potential of a hypothetical start-up company by conducting a detailed analysis of the product use case, competitors, and market growth data
- Example 2
Web Development Projects, University of Michigan, Detroit, MI
September 2020 – May 2022
- Designed and developed a web page featuring blogs, resources, and testimonials within the mobile gaming industry, including a platform for users to share insights
- Developed a mobile application to aid students in comparing and contrasting costs of used books and rentals across online stores and vendors, which included designing a feature to showcase cost savings of used books vs. new books in the university store
Include Academic Awards and Your GPA
Another way to further enhance the impact of your coursework is by providing academic awards and recognitions on your resume. This will show hiring managers that you completed your coursework and excelled academically within your program. If your GPA is 3.6 or higher, you can also feel free to include it in your education section. If the number is lower, it may be better to omit it, as it won’t significantly impact your job application.
- Example 1
Bachelor of Science (B.S.), English
TEMPLE UNIVERSITY, Philadelphia, PA, September 2017 – May 2021
- President, Hyphen Literary Magazine, 2020-2021
- Recipient of the Temple English Award, 2021
- Dean’s List 2017-2021
- Magna Cum Laude
- Example 2
Bachelor of Science (B.S.) Computer Science
UNIVERSITY OF SAN DIEGO, CA September 2017 – May 2021
- President of the University Robotics Club, 2017-2021
- Dean’s List, 2018-2021
- Summa Cum Laude
How to Align Your Coursework with the Job Description
The most important aspect of the resume-building process is tailoring your document toward individual job descriptions. Breaking into your target industry following graduation can often be challenging for entry-level job seekers. Other candidates may have hands-on experience that you lack, and to make a case for your candidacy, you’ll need to show hiring managers that you have the ideal qualifications to succeed in the role.
As you build out your resume, you should start by determining how your skill sets and education experience match the needs of the organization you’re applying to. Remember that it’s okay to alter the name of a course to convey key skill sets more clearly for the hiring manager, provided it’s an accurate representation of what you learned during the course. For instance, if a company is seeking a candidate who excels in financial planning and analysis (FP&A), it’s acceptable to feature this as a course instead of using a broad and vague title provided by the university.
By tailoring your coursework toward the job description, you’ll maximize your chances of generating interviews over the course of your job hunt.