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Why You Shouldn’t Have ‘Education’ at the Top of Your Resume



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Resumes? Who needs them!

That’s the thinking of folks at LinkedIn, who recently announced you can use the professional network to apply for jobs — and you don’t even need a resume.

Now, fire off a job application using your LinkedIn profile (click ‘Apply Now’ on this job to see it in action). Sounds pretty nice if you’re applying in a hurry.

For all other scenarios, your resume still matters. Heather Huhman of job resource Come Recommended says you could be super creative and make a resume that looks like an Amazon product description.

Want an easier way to get noticed? Move Education to the bottom of your resume and Work Experience to the top. The strategy has everything to do with our economy today and will make your resume more effective time and again.

You are more than a degree

If you begin your resume with ‘Education,’ you sacrifice coveted space to, frankly, the least interesting part of your bio.

Then, the employer looks up from your piece of paper and says, “OK, so what do you know how to do?”

We are entrenched in a skills-based economy, and what really counts are your abilities. It doesn’t matter if you learned them at college, an internship, a full-time job or while babysitting your neighbor’s kids.

Skills. Skills. Skills.

Employers want ‘em, and your resume must quickly prove you got ‘em.

The challenge in this hyper-ADD, 6-second Vine, 144-character tweet social universe is to immediately convince someone of your ‘specific contribution,’ as columnist Thomas Friedman calls it.

Start with the best stuff

In journalism, it’s called the ‘lead’ (or ‘lede’ if you want to be fancy about it). The ‘lead’ here is your current job and the most compelling duties or accomplishments you have mastered to date.

If you only have internships and not a ‘real job,’ it’s OK to start with those positions too. Be detailed about the work you did and let your experience — not your college — describe you. Bosses don’t care where your skills come from but only that you have them.

If an employer has to scan the page to find the goods (the ‘skills’), then you have effectively ‘buried the lead.’ That’s a journalism (and employment) no-no.

Don’t worry. The employer will locate your college and degree(s) at the bottom of the resume. Just realize that a diploma alone won’t make you different. Whether it’s a two-year associate’s, four-year bachelor’s or online coursework, plenty of people have  graduated from somewhere.

You know what no one else can claim? Your diverse range of talents.

Crack open your resume right now and place Work Experience at the top. In today’s job market, your skills are the greatest thing you got.

How else can we spruce up our resumes?

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Danny Rubin

About Danny Rubin

Danny Rubin is the managing editor of News To Live By, a blog that highlights the career advice and leadership lessons ‘hidden’ in the day’s top stories. Each of Danny’s columns ask a simple question: how can we use the news to get better? You can follow the blog at @NewsToLiveBy or via the twice-weekly newsletter.

View all posts by Danny Rubin →

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