The structure of your resume is important -- a good resume is designed to tell a story, and the way you choose to order the major sections can either help paint a clear picture of who you are or confuse the reader. Your educational background is an essential part of your resume, but you’ll hear conflicting opinions about whether it belongs at the top or the bottom. Here’s our two cents:
The first section of your resume is going to to provide context for the subsequent sections, so think about what lens you want the recruiter to view your resume through. If you are a college student or recent grad (less than two years of work experience), you should list your education at the top of your resume. This way, you can call attention to the fact that you’re a recent grad, making the recruiter more sympathetic to an experience section that may not be 100% in line with the job posting, or may be heavy on internships and extra-curricular activities. It will also show that you’re responsible and motivated -- you were able to take on internships and leadership positions while managing a full course load. By listing education at the top, you’re framing what would otherwise be a lack of experience as strong work ethic and high ambition. It also gives you the opportunity to lead with relevant coursework and campus leadership if your professional experience is limited.
For those a little further along in their careers, it’s best to move the education section down after experience because hiring managers will be looking at what you have been doing for the past few years. Hopefully, the position you list at the top of your resume is a natural precursor to the job you’re applying for. If not, find a way to showcase the most relevant skills in your bullet points. Regardless, once you’ve been out of college for a few years, your work experience becomes the more significant part of your story, and while it’s still important to list education, putting it at the top will make you appear young and inexperienced, especially as you apply for jobs that call for numerous years of professional experience. The fact that you earned a degree will just be a bonus for the recruiters as they reach the end of your resume. Once you move the education section down, you should also trim it to exclude relevant coursework and leadership so that you don't seem trapped in the past