Sharing Your Educational Background on Your Resume and in Interviews

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 30 August 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

An educational background is a collection of your learning experiences, including the schools you attend and any training you receive. Employers may ask about your educational experience to gauge your preparedness and qualifications for a job role. Learning how to answer these questions and provide information about your education can help you secure employment. In this article, we define what an educational background includes, discuss why this information is important to employers and provide steps on how to introduce your educational experience with examples on how to answer interview questions about it.

What is an educational background?

Your educational background is a history of all the education you receive. This includes all of your formal and informal learning opportunities, such as vocational training, university, advanced degrees, apprenticeships or internships. It's useful to add a section on your CV to discuss your educational background. You might also include honours or academic awards you receive while in school. It's important to list your highest degree of education and include the most relevant learning opportunities. If you're planning to pursue an educational opportunity soon, you can include this on your resume.

Why do employers ask about your educational background during an interview?

Employers ask about your educational background during an interview to determine how your education may prepare you to handle the specific responsibilities of the job role for which you are applying. Knowing more about your educational experiences can also help employers determine if you might fit into the company's culture and work environment. For example, if you intern at a similar company, the employer can ask about this experience and assume that if you could perform well in the work environment at their company.

During an interview, it's common to focus on both your most recent and relevant educational experiences when answering questions about your education. For example, if you're applying to be a middle school science teacher, you can discuss how your college education prepared you to teach middle school science specifically, but may also discuss educational experiences such as continuing education courses that relate to science that you have taken outside of your formal education.

How to introduce your educational background

It's important to include your educational background on your resume so that employers can review this information when looking at your application materials. Follow these steps to learn how to organise information about your educational background:

1. Start with your most recent formal education experience

Your resume most likely includes your most recent formal education level. For many people, this will be a high school diploma or a post-secondary degree with a major in a field relevant to the position you're applying for. Elaborate on the information already provided in your resume by discussing specific coursework that has helped prepare you for this position.

Often your education section follows your contact information and personal statement, but you may also include this section after your work experience section, if it seems more relevant.

Related: How To Write A CV (With Template and Example)

2. Describe any additional experience relevant to the position

If you have any additional educational experience relevant to the position you are applying for, such as a certification program or an endorsement in a specific skill or area, discuss how this additional experience can help you add value to the role and company you are applying to. You may also include awards or academic achievements you receive.

3. Explain more about your planned learning

If you're currently pursuing higher education, such as a master's degree, you can add this to your CV. Try to share your plans for continuing your education with potential employers. Knowing that you are eager to learn and working to further develop your skills and gain specialised knowledge may impress employers. This also shows that you take initiative and can be a valuable asset to the team wherever you work.

Related: Interviewing Skills To Ace a Job Interview

Examples of how to answer questions about your educational background

It's helpful to prepare to answer questions about the educational experience you share on your CV. Consider how each learning opportunity can apply to the position for which you're interviewing. You might include skills that your education helps to develop or talk about your accomplishments that reflect on specific abilities, such as leadership. Here are example questions with answers to help you prepare for an interview:

How has your education prepared you for this job?

The aim of this question is to learn more about whether you have the right qualifications for the role. It's helpful to share skills you developed while in school and specific experiences that may relate to your job duties.

Example: “I majored in legal studies, so several of my courses directly prepared me for the role of a paralegal. Each course in my major required extensive legal research and writing. Specifically, my final course was a capstone project in which I had to prepare documents like evidence lists, requests for discovery, subpoenas and questions for depositions to prepare a defence for a criminal law case. This course gave me the real-world experience I needed to know how to prepare legal documents and complete the legal research specific to each case I work on.”

Why did you attend the university you did?

This question can help an employer understand more about your thought process and personality. Learning more about your university choice may also inform the employer about the quality of your education. Consider the special opportunities your university offered or the unique characteristics of the school that led you to make your choice.

Example: “I considered several schools when I was initially applying to colleges. I chose to begin my education at a vocational school to save on the cost of education and receive hands-on experience. To complete my degree, I chose a larger university for my bachelor's degree because I wanted the opportunity to be a part of a larger, more diverse student body. This university also has a very strong journalism program, which has provided me with a large network of alumni to network with and a great internship opportunity I took part in at the end of my program.”

Tips for answering questions about your educational background

Here are a few general tips to remember when answering questions related to your educational experiences:

Be honest

Answer all interview questions honestly. This helps best represent yourself to employers and allows them to better determine whether you can perform well in the job. You don't need to embellish your experiences or accomplishments, instead, focus on what you gain from your education and how you can apply it to your career.

Related: What Is Integrity? Definitions and Examples

Prepare for the interview

It's a good idea to prepare for your job interviews so that you can feel more confident and present yourself most accurately to employers. To prepare, you can do a mock interview with a friend to get practise answering questions. You might also review your application materials so you can easily recall work and educational experience.

Practising the answers you may give during an interview can help plan concise answers. By preparing answers, you can focus on making eye contact, maintaining good posture and speaking clearly during the interview instead of having to focus on formulating answers.

Read more: How To Prepare for an Interview

Address everyone in the interview

Sometimes multiple interviewers may conduct an interview at the same time with you. For example, both the supervisor of the team you would be on and the manager of the entire department you would work in may be present to conduct your interview. Try to make eye contact and engage with each person sitting in on the interview regardless of who asks the question. This shows professionalism and confidence, which may encourage the interviewers to listen more closely and believe in your abilities.

Support your answer with an example, if you have one

If you have relevant experience, support your answer to this question with a specific example of how your educational background helps you navigate and overcome a challenge or situation in the workplace. This provides the interview with the context of how you can apply knowledge. Giving an example may also help you show employers how you can benefit their team and company.

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