If you are a recent graduate struggling with a lack of work experience, knowing how to include relevant coursework on a resume can be one of the best ways to create a more compelling resume narrative.

One thing that many recent college graduates have in common with one another is a general lack of work experience. That lack of experience can sometimes make it difficult for them to construct a resume that sells their potential to be the best candidate for a job. Fortunately, there are ways to still create a strong and compelling resume, even without experience. For example, did you take classes that might be relevant to the position? If so, including relevant coursework on your resume may be the perfect solution to your resume challenges.

In this post, we will explain how you can identify relevant coursework and where it should be listed in your resume. We will also include several examples of relevant coursework on a resume so that you can see the best options for using these details to strengthen your job search efforts.

What is relevant coursework?

Of course, when we talk about relevant coursework, we are talking about those classes and educational activities that have direct relevance to the position you are seeking. The first thing you need to recognize is that many of the classes you took during your college career will not need to be included in your resume. After all, most degrees require that students complete any number of basic foundational courses that will have little if any relation to their chosen job — at least from a resume standpoint. 

So, what types of classes, achievements, and activities should you focus on as you identify suitable courses to add to your resume? While this sounds like a simple question, it actually requires some serious thought and evaluation. Fortunately, there are some basic rules that you can follow as you make that determination. Below are just some of the potentially relevant things that you might want to include in your resume: 

  • Coursework that demonstrates that you have a foundation of knowledge in a required aspect of the job you are seeking. For example, if communication skills are needed for the position, you should include courses that focused on business communications, writing, etc.

  • Projects that are related to particular job skills. For a marketing position, you should include any marketing-related projects you completed during your studies. Or you could include research projects you engaged in if you are seeking a job where research skills are essential.

  • Academic achievements can also be included, including notably high GPA scores or awards you received. Also, be sure to include any related extracurricular activities. That could include everything from clubs to sporting activities if they helped you develop skills that would be useful for the job.

Again, do not include coursework that has no bearing on the job at hand. This will require you to carefully consider each course to determine its relevance. One way to do that is to read the job posting and select keywords and phrases of import that seem to be describing the skills or educational qualifications needed for the job. Then go through your coursework and try to match courses to those skills. As you do so, remember that some basic courses like those involving communication—both written and verbal—may be included, since communication is one of those soft skills that every company values.

You can learn more about the difference between hard and soft skills by reading our excellent article, Key Differences Between Hard Skills and Soft Skills. A better understanding of those critical soft skills can help to ensure that you don't underestimate the value of any of your classes. There's a great chance that you have more marketable soft skills than you realize! 

When should you include relevant courses on your resume?

Before you add your job-related classes to your resume, you should decide whether it is necessary. For example, you can almost certainly benefit from including your relevant coursework on your resume if: 

  • You recently graduated from school or are beginning the process of looking for a job because you are close to graduation. Students and recent graduates typically have little or no real job experience to highlight skills. Fortunately, their studies and project assignments will likely have helped them to develop important skills that they can highlight in their resumes.

  • Your educational achievements are necessary to qualify for the position you are seeking. In those instances, your prospective employer will be interested in knowing that you have fulfilled those requirements and have the basic knowledge needed for the position.

There may also be times when you need to include coursework even after you have been in the workforce for some time. For example, if you are switching careers and your current work experience does not include the skills needed for your new job, that may not matter as much if you can show that your studies prepared you for the role. 

Including coursework related to your minor

As you select relevant coursework for your resume, don't forget to consider courses of study related to your minor too. Hopefully, you will have selected a minor that is at least tangentially related to your desired career path. If so, then chances are that some of the courses you completed may have some relevance that can translate to a useful resume listing. For more information about minors and when they can be added to your resume, read How to Include a Minor on Your Resume.

When should I take coursework off my resume?

Obviously, there will be times when you should forgo any mention of your courses in your resume. Some examples of situations where you might not need to list your specific coursework include:

  • When your coursework is not really relevant to the position you seek. Including irrelevant coursework could actually distract from your important skills and experiences.

  • Situations in which coursework was completed so long ago that the information is no longer useful. For instance, many technology-related courses can lose their value over time. Other examples include old marketing courses and other educational achievements that involve skills that have evolved rapidly in recent years.

  • If your resume is already filled with enough work experience and skills that there is no need or room for specific course details. Remember, you want to add your courses to enhance your value as an employee. If adding a particular course does nothing more than add length to the resume, skip it. 

Where should relevant coursework be listed in your resume?

In most resumes, the coursework should be placed in the education section, with a subheading titled “Relevant Coursework.” When creating this part of the education section, you should insert the subheading under the name of your degree, with a list of the courses you studied. For example:

Bachelor's in [Name of Degree]

[College Name, City, Graduation Date]

Relevant Coursework: [Course 1], [Course 2], [Course 3], [Course 4], [Course 5]


Alternatively, you can also opt to show your courses in a bullet-point list if your resume is short and you need to fill more space. You can even elaborate on each course with a few words to describe the skills you learned in class. For example:

Bachelor's in [Name of Degree]

[College Name, City, Graduation Date]

Relevant Coursework:

  • [Course 1]

  • [Course 2]

  • [Course 3]

  • [Course 4]

  • [Course 5]

If you have no actual work experience, you may even want to consider using your education section as a substitute for that experience section. If you choose that option, you may want to place the education section closer to the top of your resume and flesh out each course in the same way you would detail a job listing in your work experience section. That means using detailed descriptions that include quantifiable results highlighting your achievements.

Key tips to remember when listing relevant coursework

Before we show you some examples of how to list relevant coursework on your resume, there are a few tips that can help to ensure that your final product is as compelling as possible. By incorporating these ideas into your resume creation process, you can more effectively make that all-important great first impression on any hiring manager.

  • Only list relevant coursework if you lack sufficient work experience to meet the job requirements.

  • Always make sure that the courses you list highlight skills and knowledge needed for the position. If a course has nothing to do with your chosen line of work, it has no place in your resume.

  • Relevant courses may be related to hard and soft skills.

  • If you choose to use descriptions for each course, use that as an opportunity to insert relevant keywords from the job description. This can be a great way to ensure that your resume can get past any applicant tracking system.

  • Always proofread your entire resume to eliminate spelling mistakes, punctuation and grammar errors, and style or formatting discrepancies.

  • Make sure that you tailor your resume to fit the job you want. Since you will likely be applying for different jobs during your job search, you may need to modify your educational coursework details to align with the needs of each position.

  • Do not forget to include important skill information in your coursework descriptions. Again, try to use those job description keywords.

  • If you are maintaining an updated resume throughout your educational career, be sure to continually edit your resume as your coursework evolves over time. This can make it easier to keep it updated and can save you some time when your job search begins.

3 Examples of relevant coursework on a resume

In this final section, we will explore some different examples to show you how you can successfully incorporate relevant coursework into your resume. We have included a couple of examples of the most basic listing options, as well as an expanded sample that enables you to provide more details and skills. You can refer to these samples and use them as guides as you create your own relevant coursework section.

Example #1: The Basics

Bachelor's in Information Technology

My College, Anytown 2022

Relevant Coursework: Cyber Security 101, Business Intelligence, Application Development, Networking and Telecom, Artificial Intelligence

This simple listing would be a good option for anyone who has at least some relevant work experience but who still needs an additional boost to meet the job requirements. In this case, the job seeker's coursework listing is presented in a minimalist format, documenting the specific courses and areas of focus—but without any other information about those studies.

Example #2: Bulletpoint List of Courses

Bachelor's in Information Technology

My College, Anytown 2022

Relevant Coursework:

  • Cyber Security 101

  • Business Intelligence

  • Application Development

  • Networking and Telecom

  • Artificial Intelligence

This option is similar to the first example but presents the classes and areas of focus as separate bullet points. This provides additional emphasis for each area of study, while also taking up a bit more space in the resume. This can be a great option if your resume is a little short and you need to expand the content.

Example #3: Detailed Format

Bachelor's in Information Technology

My College, Anytown

Completed in 2022

Relevant Coursework:

Cyber Security 101

  • Certified Cyber Security Expert, skilled in protecting data, information, and infrastructure.

  • Coursework included training on risk analysis, threat mitigation, compliance assurance, and cloud security.

  • Completed multiple projects and research assignments designed to test knowledge and adaptability to various types of cyber threats.

 Business Intelligence

  • Business analytics certificate, training focused on data interpretation and communication to resolve business problems with a data mindset.

  • Course included 3 projects testing analytical skills using hypothetical business challenges based on real-world business scenarios.

 Application Development

  • Courses focused on the development of software coding skills used for web application creation, troubleshooting, and debugging.

  • Final course project involved the creation of an independent web app to streamline online sales processes for a test company.

Networking and Telecom

  • Training focused on routing, packet switching, and cybersecurity needs.

  • Spent eight weeks as a volunteer networking intern for a local ISP, receiving hands-on training from experienced networking professionals.

Artificial Intelligence

  • AI and machine learning studies, emphasizing tech integration into business processes, impact on sales and marketing, and ethical concerns.

  • Conducted study for the course final, evaluating potential AI benefits for enhanced marketing in the digital age and impact on online sales.

This more detailed example is a superior option for those who have no work experience and need their educational credentials to highlight their skills. In this sample, each area of interest is accompanied by bullet point details describing the types of courses studied and the lessons or skills developed during those classes. In addition, bullet points are added to highlight specific achievements, describe studies and real-world application of skills, and demonstrate competency in the subject matter.

This type of format can enable your coursework section to serve as a replacement for work experience if you have never been employed. When used for that purpose, you can expand on each course listing to include additional skills and keywords from the job post. Simply add new bullet points where needed to flesh out each area of emphasis.

Again, if you choose to replace your work experience section with this relevant coursework section, make sure that you move this section closer to the top of your resume so that it receives more prominence. Basically, if your strongest selling point is your education, then make sure that your important courses are one of the first things that a prospective employer sees. Also, you may want to highlight your educational qualifications in your resume summary so that the reader expects to see those coursework details.

Don't underestimate the power of a well-crafted and compelling resume

Finally, it is important to reiterate just how vital it is that your resume makes the best possible impression. When you approach the labor market with little or no work experience, you are usually already at a competitive disadvantage. There will almost always be someone else who has a similar level of skill and educational background, as well as real-world experience. To compete against a qualified rival, you need a resume that can effectively sell you as the best candidate for the job.


For recent graduates and job seekers moving to entirely new careers, a lack of relevant work experience can be a major impediment to landing job interviews and employment offers. One way to overcome this obstacle is to learn how to use relevant educational coursework on your resume to highlight your qualifications and skills. Hopefully, this post and its resume examples can provide you with the inspiration and help you need to translate your educational experience into a compelling resume narrative.Fortunately, there are ways to ensure that your resume effectively positions you to have the best chance at landing any interview and job. To make sure that your resume is up to par, get a free resume review today. And if you really want to be sure that your resume is ready for prime time, take a few moments to discover just how easy it is to get professional resume assistance from our team of experts!

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