Education as Experience: Resume Advice for the Back-to-School Job Seeker, Part 2

In Part 1 of this article, we reviewed how to optimize the education section of a resume for a recent graduate. Let’s take one more step to see how we can further integrate Joseph’s education into the professional experience of his resume.  Some recruiters and hiring managers may balk at first when they find education listed in the experience section, but a resume is not designed to appeal to everyone, nor can it do so.  Joseph’s goal is to find those individuals who will recognize his target plan and the contributions that he can make to an organization. Those individuals will see the wisdom of positioning his education as additional professional experience.

Let’s look at how education ultimately appears in his resume as a compelling statement.

Professional Experience

University of Washington Extension                                                                     Sep 2012 – Present

Finishing a Certificate in Project Management to strengthen skills in managing complex projects and leading cross-functional teams. Learning to apply best practices in project strategy and planning, project estimation, project control and risks, and project leadership and communications. Expected completion Jun 2013.

EMR DEVICES, INC., Seattle, WA                                                                                        2007 – 2012

Recognized authority in digital, RF, and information domains. Revenues of $40M+ and 155+ employees.

Lead Systems Engineer, 2007–Present

Assumed a project manager role to successfully manage a 7-member team, working on 10+ projects simultaneously that required direction and coordination to effectively support all programs. Direct authority for planning, organizing, integrating, and completing the design, documentation, implementation, and test of new systems.

  • Directed department activities to design new products, modify existing designs, improve production techniques, and develop test procedures in accordance with customer specifications.
  • Developed an evaluation system for accurately assessing engineering skills based on ranking skill set to specifically designed scoring system. Used as a teaching aid to increase group efficiencies.



This format will not work for everyone, but for those job seekers who are a great fit their resume will raise to the top of a very large pile. There are several situations where I don’t recommend this format:

  1. When returning for more extensive education such as a BS degree, use the more traditional format of separating your education from your experience section.
  2. ü  If you’ve completed less than 80% of the requirements for the certificate avoid the education-as-experience format. For this format to work, you must show strong progression toward achieving the goal and completing the program soon.
  3. When taking general education courses avoid the education-as-experience format.  This format requires a targeted effort specifically related to your career goals. In Joseph’s resume, we even included the reason he was returning to school …’to strengthen skills in leading complex projects with cross functional teams.

Summary – Education as Experience

For many during the last several years, layoffs have become the norm and people are left to define their next steps, often mid-career. Establishing a goal and working toward that goal are strong statements about your qualities. These are the kinds of messages that are important to include in your resume.

Jennifer Hay is a highly credentialed resume writer and LinkedIn writer for IT professionals. Her clients include data engineers, data scientists, software engineers, systems analysts, project managers, program managers, product managers, IT managers, and IT directors.