You may not have graduated high school with a diploma, but you did take the time to earn your GED. That's fantastic! There may come a time when you need to include your GED on your resume.
Every job you apply to is going to list some type of education requirement, including a high school diploma. If you've earned your GED, that means you're qualified for roles that require a diploma. You just have to include your GED on your resume. But, what is the proper way to list a GED on your resume, and is there really a stigma attached to doing so?
What is a GED?
Graduate equivalency degree is the verbiage associated with the acronym GED. However, most people refer to GED as a high school equivalency diploma.
There are four rounds of testing that you need to complete in order to earn the certification. Receiving a GED indicates that you have the knowledge you would have had if you had finished high school.
How is a GED different from a high school diploma?
The main differences between a GED and a high school diploma is time and coursework requirements. Receiving a high school diploma means that you successfully completed 4 years of education in a traditional classroom setting. Basically, you've earned the right number of credits and the proper grades to graduate.
On the other hand, the GED doesn't require you to fulfill any credit hour obligations. Though, you'll likely want to participate in some sort of preparation coursework to get ready for the GED tests.
Do you include your GED on your resume?
If you have no education outside of obtaining your high school equivalency, then you will need to include the GED on your resume. Again, many jobs require some level of education, so it's good to show that you took the initiative to finish your high school education.
Can I exclude my GED from my resume?
If you've enrolled in college, you can leave your GED off of your resume. This holds true even if you haven't finished your degree program. In that case, you would put the name of the school you're attending, the type of degree you're working towards (e.g., bachelor of science), and the date you expect to graduate.
The beautiful thing about adding education in progress is that you can include relevant coursework on your resume to inject pertinent keywords.
Here's an example of your education section if you've begun college:
State University | Bachelor of Science in Engineering | Expected completion: 2022
Relevant coursework: Principles of Engineering, Computer-Aided Design (CAD), Physics, Property of Materials, Process Design, and Lean and Quality Management
Capstone Project: Process optimization of active carbon and emissions impacting environment.
How to include your GED on your resume
The proper placement for your GED on the resume is in the education section. Since most people associate the phrase High School Equivalency with the acronym GED, go ahead and use that on your resume. Write the abbreviation, then spell out the phrase, and put the date you obtained it.
Here's what it will look like:
GED-High School Equivalency Diploma, 2022
It is appropriate to list a GED in progress on your resume. The main idea is to show that you're working on it. All you have to do is add the words “Expected completion” just before the date.
GED-High School Equivalency Diploma, Expected completion: 2022
How to list your GED on LinkedIn
One of the main components of properly optimizing your LinkedIn profile is to add an education section. LinkedIn requires this section to be included in your profile so that your profile achieves an All-Star status.
At the top of your LinkedIn profile, click “Add profile section”. Under the Core options, choose “Add education”. In the box that pops up, add the name of your school or institution from which you obtained your GED in the "School" field and put GED in the "Degree" field. You can leave all of the other fields blank. However, if you're still working on finalizing your GED list the date you expect to have it in the end-date field. Click save at the bottom.
How to list your GED on a job application
All job applications will have a place for you to put the highest level of education that you obtained. You indicate that you received a GED using the high school fields. Just like with your LinkedIn profile, include the name of the school or institution where you got the GED and indicate that you earned a high school equivalency certificate.
Don't forget to add professional development courses
You can beef up the education section of your resume and LinkedIn profile by listing professional development courses or certification programs that you've completed. Coursera, online universities, and many professional organizations offer courses that you can take to expand your knowledge base. Sometimes these courses can even be free. Whether you paid for the course or not, you acquired information or honed some skills that could help you obtain a job.
Here's what they look like added to the education section of your resume:
GED-High School Equivalency, 2022
Six Sigma Yellow Belt | Six Sigma Global Institute (SSGI)
As you can see, all you have to do is move directly beneath your GED listing to make a professional development section within your education section. List the professional development course that you took and where you took it. If you completed this professional development course within the last year, go ahead and include the completion date using the MM/YYYY format.
Obtaining and using a GED isn't as bad as you think
Many people ask if there is a downside to getting a GED. The only problem is letting that fear keep you from getting one. Life happens, and not everyone can complete high school. Avoid the fear of any perceived stigma associated with putting your GED on your resume. Taking it upon yourself to attend a preparatory class and take the required tests to earn your GED is admirable.
On top of that, listing your GED on your resume shows your desire for learning. Earning it means you can overcome life's challenges and do what it takes to get things done, even if you have to go a non-traditional route. Overcoming challenges is a soft skill that hiring managers and recruiters seek out.
What are soft skills and why are they important?
Soft skills are personality characteristics you possess that make you good at what you do. They differ from hard skills in that hard skills are things you've learned how to do through education and experience. If you're new to the workforce, you may not have a lot of hard skills to showcase on your resume. That's okay!
Hiring managers and recruiters value soft skills just like hard skills. In fact, some hiring managers will hire a person with the right soft skills over a person with the right hard skills but no soft skills. The reasoning for this is that hard skills can be taught easier than soft skills.
The bottom line is that education is education and knowledge is knowledge. You don't have to take the same path as everyone else to be successful in a job search. You do, however, need a standout resume.
If you want help writing your resume, TopResume has a talented team of professional resume writers waiting to lend a hand.
What Are Soft Skills? Here's How to Showcase Them on Your Resume