Any hiring manager can look at your resume and see what kind of degrees and certifications you hold. When you're asked to describe your education in an interview, it's an opportunity to talk yourself up and fully explain your professional training, what you've learned and how you could apply it to the job you're seeking.
Don't just rattle off the name of the university you attended and the degree you earned. If you graduated with high honors, completed your course of study in a short amount of time or were part of high-profile academic organizations, include this information in your discussion about education. Also mention work-study opportunities, internships, job shadowing or on-the-job training you participated in. Describe how the information you gleaned will help you be the best person for the job.
Mention specialized professional training you've gone through. For example, if your last company sent you to a vocational institute to participate in an intensive program designed to make you proficient on every type of accounting software on the market, it's definitely worth noting in your job interview. If professional development was paid by your previous employer, it makes you look like you're worth a sizable investment. If you paid for the training yourself, you come across as a go-getter. It's a win-win.
Describe any type of work-related continuing education you’ve completed. If you worked while you were taking classes, all the better -- it shows you have the ability to multitask and that you're continually striving to improve your skills. Online, correspondence and brick-and-mortar training all counts -- don't be afraid to show off your smarts and your ambition.
Conferences and Seminars
Note professional conferences and seminars you’ve attended, as well as workshops and business expos. This demonstrates your connections to your industry and highlights the fact that you stay on top of trends to remain on the cutting edge of your business. It also says you're willing to travel for work, which is often an attractive trait for hiring managers.
When Education is Sparse
If you never quite finished that college degree or don't have significant credentials behind your name, emphasize the skills you've learned on the job or by volunteering for community initiatives. Also emphasize the fact that you're a fast learner and that you're open to continuing your training or education in whatever way would be most beneficial to the company. Many businesses offer tuition reimbursement for staffers who pursue education related to the company, and mentioning your interest shows you're open to professional growth.
Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.