Sometimes a minor is no minor detail!

When it comes to creating a resume, the education section would seem to be one of the easiest to complete. After all, once you know how to properly format the information, the rest of the process should be as simple as listing your schools, your major, and other pertinent details – or so it would seem. To create a resume that stands out, however, you should consider whether you also need to include a minor on your resume.

In this post, we begin with outlining the difference between a major and minor on a resume. From there, we'll help you to determine whether you need to include your minor, and how you can do so in a way that makes your resume stand out from the crowd. 

What is the difference between a major and minor on a resume?

When pursuing a Bachelor's degree, the major you choose is your primary focus of study, with a minor being an optional secondary specialization. Minors are optional and tend to require fewer courses of study to secure the degree compared to a major. 

In some instances, your minor might relate and be complementary to your major. For example, one might pursue a major in finance and a minor in economics, or vice versa. A minor can also be unrelated to your major and focus more on an interest or hobby you want to explore. For example, one might pursue a major in business administration and a minor in acting, or vice versa. 

When you include a minor on your resume, it's understood that it was your secondary specialization or area of study. Minors can support your career path by providing knowledge and skills relevant to that career choice. In terms of your job search, minors can show employers your initiative, work ethic, academic abilities, and ability to handle stress or a lot on your plate at one time. 

However, suppose your minor is not related to your career path or the job you end up applying to. In that case, it might be best to leave it off your resume, which will be discussed in more detail in the next section.

On that note, if you are still in college, it may be wise to think about the minor courses of study you wish to pursue and consider how they can enhance your future career prospects. There is nothing wrong with pursuing a minor to fulfill an interest, hobby, or dream, as long as it's clear that it might not support your long-term career goals like your major does. 

For example, a minor in music theory may be an interesting goal, but it will do nothing for your resume if you are applying for a job that aligns with your engineering major. 

When should you include a minor on your resume?

The first thing you should do before you add your minor on your resume is consider whether its inclusion adds any real value by enhancing your qualifications. The last thing you want to do is add a minor that has no relevance to the position you're seeking, since employers may consider it a sign that you lacked focus during your college career. 

Minors that are related to your major field of study send a different message by demonstrating that you may have a broader base of knowledge than rival candidates. The same applies to a concentration or area of emphasis, depending on your university and degree program.

The important thing to remember is that your resume should be as concise and targeted as possible, to ensure that hiring managers can readily assess your qualifications for the position. Minors that demonstrate your ability to meet the job requirements are important additions. Any minor that has no bearing on those qualifications may prove to be nothing more than a distraction.

Even if your minor is relevant to the job you're applying to, you might opt to leave it off if you have plenty of work experience that highlights your skills and abilities or if you don't have the space on your resume to include it. However, in most instances, if it is relevant to and aligns with the job description of the position you're applying to, it's more likely to add value to your resume than not.

How to properly list a minor on your resume

Once you have decided to include your minor on your resume, you need to know which information to add to your education section and how those details should be listed. These tips can help:

1. Craft your education section

To list a minor on your resume properly, you will need a well-crafted education section with its own distinct heading. If you are a professional with a work history in your industry, this section should go after your work experience. Recent graduates with little or no work experience should move the education section closer to the beginning of their resumes.

2. Begin by listing your major

Always list your major first, even if your minor seems to have more relevance to the job. Be sure to include critical information like the name of the college and the dates you attended classes. Then list the degree you earned and your declared major. Your GPA can be listed and honors or awards as well, but that information is typically optional. Plus, you should only list your GPA if it's 3.5 or higher. 

3. Add relevant minor(s)

Once you have listed your major, you can include any relevant minors. Again, only do so if the minor you achieved aligns well with the position you are seeking. You can include the minor on the same line as your major, or in a separate line immediately below that information. We have an example of each option below.

4. Include separate listings for each institution

If you have multiple degrees from different institutions, you can include separate listings for each. List any relevant minors in their related college entries in the education section. Also, be sure to list these entries in reverse chronological order, with your most recent educational accomplishments listed first.

Drawing attention to important minors on your resume

Naturally, you will want to ensure that hiring managers take note of relevant minors. Since that information may be missed if a hiring manager only gives your education section a cursory review, you should make sure that you highlight relevant minors in your cover letter and resume career summary. That can be a great way to shine a spotlight on that qualification and help you to differentiate yourself from competitors.

Minor on a resume example: the Education section

The following examples should give you some ideas about how to properly list your minor:

Example 1:

University Name, Anytown, Anystate

Bachelor of Arts, Major in Accounting, Minor in Finance (Year to Year)

  • GPA (if appropriate)

  •  Relevant extracurriculars

  • Organizations, affiliations

  • Awards, achievements

Example 2:

University Name, Anytown, Anystate

Bachelor of Arts, Major in Accounting (Year to Year)

Minor in Finance

  • GPA (if appropriate)

  • Relevant extracurriculars

  • Organizations, affiliations

  • Awards, achievements

Minor on a resume example: resume summary

Example 1 - recent college graduate:

Communications graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Communications and Minor in Marketing. Skilled at content development, SEO, and communications flow. Led successful class social media campaign for class communications project, engaging over 1000 followers in under a week. 

Example 2 - experience hire:

Seasoned professional with a Bachelor's in Business Administration and Minor in Data Analytics. Proven track record applying business intelligence tools to enhance business processes and financial modeling. Launched new data quality assurance program, improving financial data accuracy by 27%. Adept at change management, statistical analysis, data visualization, and fostering team collaboration. 

Relevant minors on a resume can add value

At the end of the day, including a minor on your resume is a personal choice. While minors may not be the most important information to include in your resume, they can often help to enhance your qualifications and give you the edge you need in a competitive hiring environment. By carefully selecting only relevant minors, you can better ensure that hiring managers fully understand the value you can bring to their company.

Not sure if your professional resume is ready for the job market? Send in your resume for a free review from one of our expert writers now!

This article was originally written by Ken Chase and has been updated by Ronda Suder. 

Recommended reading:

Related Articles: