How and When to Put GED on a Resume

Many individuals who don’t complete high schools opt for General Education Development, aka GED.

Passing this test provides them with a certificate or diploma.

You have to obtain a passing score of around 145 out of 200 on the test’s four main components to get a GED equivalent to a high school diploma.

Students scoring around 165 or 175 are considered college and career ready.

The latter score could even earn you college credits. After earning your General Education Development diploma, you can mention it in your resume’s education section.

You can also include it in all of your job applications, replacing your high school diploma.

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A Closer Look at GEDs

As mentioned previously, GEDs contain numerous tests for people who didn’t graduate from high schools.

These tests are an excellent way to determine an individual’s proficiency in reading, social studies, mathematics, science, arts, etc. at high school levels. Some people also refer to GEDs as high school equivalency diplomas or degrees.

What’s more, GED credentials certify that you have the skills and knowledge equivalent to high school graduates.

Once you pass the GED exam, you will receive a certificate equating to high school diplomas. Your diploma will be issued by the state department of education or the GED, depending on the state you graduated in.

However, if you are already a GED certificate holder and want your certificate’s copy, you can order it from the General Education Development’s official website or the Department of Education.

Why It is Important to Mention GED in Your Resume

If you are looking for a job but did not graduate from a high school, having a GED diploma can show hiring managers that you possess the necessary credentials found in high school graduates.

You can also mention your GED on job applications and CVs, just like you would list college, high school, and similar academic courses. Let us look at how you could benefit from listing your GED certification in your resume.

Having a GED qualification can provide you with tons of career opportunities.

  • Many hiring managers look for applicants with GEDs or high school diplomas, even for novice positions.
  • Most apprenticeship programs require people with GED diplomas or high school graduations to qualify.
  • Most universities and colleges only entertain applicants with high school diplomas or GED certificates.

Finding decent jobs without high-school or GED qualifications is quite difficult. It is particularly tough when the job market is overly saturated and has loads of competition.

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Listing Your GED Qualification on Your Resume

You can add your high school equivalency diploma or certificate to your CV. It would be best to mention this qualification in your resume’s education section, replacing the standard high school listing. Here is an example:


  • GED Diploma/Certificate

You can also list your General Education Development even if it is in progress. All you need to do is make a small tweak:


  • GED Diploma (enrolled/in progress)

Is There Any Difference between a GED and High School Diploma?

Most employers in the United States accept GED credentials if a candidate doesn’t have high school diplomas.

What’s more, employers in the government, private industries, and admission offices in universities and colleges accept GED certificates, claiming they are a perfect alternative to high school diplomas.

Contrary to popular belief, GED certificates and high school diplomas are vastly different.

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You would be surprised to learn that GED certificates can help you land a military job, which is quite difficult with high school diplomas.

So, it would be fair to say that listing your General Education Development in your CV can work wonders for your career. Sure, graduating high school also has several perks, but GED diplomas are equally great, if not better.

When Listing a GED Does Not Make Sense

Did you earn your GED certificate before attending college? If the answer is yes, listing your GED in your CV wouldn’t be useful.

Here is a list of sceneries where you can list your college education in your resume’s education section:

  • If you lack work experience
  • Consider listing your GED education if you have a history of being in and out of jobs.
  • If the job description specifically requires applicants with GED diplomas.

The Best Way to List GEDs in a Resume

When listing your GED in a CV, consider adding it in the education section. This is the same portion where people add their high school diplomas.

If you are a California-based resident, you’ll need to list its high school equivalency certification in the education section. What’s more, you can add these certifications and diplomas even if they are in progress.

However, you will need to highlight that these courses are ongoing, ensuring your hiring manager doesn’t think you are deceptive.

The Importance of Emphasizing Your Expertise

Whether you are a GED holder or don’t have any diplomas at all, your CV should focus on your life skills and professional experiences.

Why? Because most hiring managers value skills and accomplishments the most, which means that emphasizing your expertise could earn you a job interview.

There is no need to worry if you don’t have a strong professional background as you can change your resume format by highlighting your strengths.

Consider starting your CV by emphasizing your qualifications, certifications, and the skill sets you attained in the past few years.

It would also help to list your accomplishments in these, ensuring your resume stands out.

If you think that a paragraph based on education would improve your resume, it would be best to write it at the end, ensuring your hiring manager skims through it but doesn’t pay much attention.

However, you must highlight your accomplishments, ensuring that you impress the person going through your resume.

Final Thoughts

Mentioning your General Education Development could be a lifesaver, especially if you didn’t complete your high school graduation.

Once again, formatting and presentation matters and the way you list your GED diploma and skills could either land you a job or disqualify you from contention.

Marissa Letendre, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Marissa Letendre is a senior HR leader and resume expert with over 12 years of experience. She has worked for both startups and Fortune 50 corporations and has helped thousands land jobs at top companies. Marissa has written on a wide range of topics, including employee engagement, career development, resumes, job searching, recruiting, and organizational effectiveness and has been featured on sites such as Slack and The Undercover Recruiter.

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