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Making the most of your qualifications and training on your CV

The more work experience you have, the lower down the Qualifications and Training section will come in your CV. This could explain why many people feel this section should be little more than a list.

The truth is that our CV writing service finds that these details add value to your CV, but only if you tailor the information appropriately.

We will now look at a variety of educational backgrounds. Whichever you fall into, you need to order your qualifications and training in reverse chronological order, including:

  • The schools, colleges and universities you attended.
  • The qualifications you've gained and the dates you attained them.
  • Subjects you've trained in and level of achievement.
  • Professional memberships.

If you left school at 16 or 18 years, include details of all examinations that you took and passed. List them in order of grades achieved. If your grades weren't that great, leave them out rather than risk damaging the impression the employer is building up of you. Never include exams that you failed, as these can be checked up on at a later date.

If you've completed a degree, and passed it, we often find that there's no need to include details of exams taken at 16 or 18 years of age on a professional CV. The degree qualification supersedes these on your CV.

If you've a postgraduate qualification, include your graduate and postgraduate qualifications. Don't include earlier exams. If you did a postgraduate research qualification, or studied in a subject relevant to your work area, it might be worth adding a line or two about your specific line of interest.

If you're in the middle of a qualification, such as an Open University or part-time degree, include all the details above, but replace the dates with a word such as 'current' or 'ongoing'. Position this at the top of the list.

If you're a recent graduate, there's no need to include details of exams you took previously at the age of 16 or 18 years. If you're looking for your first job, or first job on your career path (as opposed to vacation or temporary work), it can be worth including some more details of your study if they're relevant to the work you're seeking. So, you could include a list of the units you took, or a line or two about a research project you individually selected and fulfilled.

If you failed a qualification, it's still worth including a line about the degree even if you didn't complete it. This explains what you were during that time period. So simply include the institution and title of the degree, together with dates you started and finished studying. You can write something along the lines of "Studied towards " This shows that you were accepted onto the programme, even if you didn't complete. But be prepared to explain the reasons for this if asked at an interview.

Professional qualifications come under the same section, yet should be divided from academic qualifications by a line break. Include any qualification that you had to gain by examination, such as a Certificate. Also list membership of professional associations if you had to sit an examination to join.

Professional training should also be separated from the above by a line break. If you've had to complete a lot of seminar days in similar areas, don't list them all, but mention the area you've trained in - i.e. first aid, health and safety regulations. If the training has been presented by a widely recognised body, do mention this.

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