How to Write a First-Class Honours Degree on Your CV (The Proper Way)

In General, University by Think Student EditorLeave a Comment

Achieving a first-class honours degree is a hugely admirable achievement. It is an essential element to include when piecing together your CV. However, the question lies in how to do this properly? Ensuring it is written on your CV the correct way would make sure employers do not look down on you if you made an accidental error. It also makes sure that your fantastic degree is recognised!

There are many variations and abbreviations of the words ‘first-class,’ however, the way we recommend is writing simply ‘1st’ or ‘first’. Contrastingly, ways we do not recommend writing ‘first-class’ are as follows: ‘1 class’, ‘1’, ‘1st class’. There is also the option to write your gained percentage next to your degree too- this is optional.

This article will give you clear, guided instructions on how to write a first-class honours degree on your CV. Let’s begin!

How to write first class honours on your CV?

There is a general rule that you can follow, no matter what type of degree you graduated with. By following this formula below, you can write it accurately and professionally. The rule goes as follows:

[Degree Type] [Degree Name] (Degree Class), [Years Attended]
[University Name], [University Location] 

As an example, this is what someone who followed this rule may write:

BA (Hons) History and Politics (1st), 2017-2020
University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth

There you have it! Writing your degree on your CV is really that simple!

Below any additional questions you may have on this topic are answered in thorough detail, so it is recommended you take the time to read each section.

What different ways can you write ‘first-class’? 

There are many different variations and abbreviations of the word ‘first-class’ in the working world, however, only some are acceptable to write on a CV.

Although all are technically permitted, using the wrong types can make your CV appear unorganised and messy, and may distract from the actual content included in it.

Simply writing the words ‘first-class’ is not usually recommended, as it can appear over-complicated and lengthy. ‘1st class’ or ‘1 class’ is not recommended either as this too looks scruffy and not very professional.

Plainly putting the number ‘1’ is not much help either. This could also confuse employers over which degree you actually attained, as it is very vague and could allude to a number of different degrees.

If you wish to write out the words ‘first-class’ to avoid any confusion, we recommend you do it the following ways: either ‘First Class’ or ‘First Class Honours’.

The most favourable way to write ‘first-class’ on your CV is to state it as either ‘1st’ or ‘first’. These two options are clear in which degree you achieved and are concise. They are certain to look neat on your CV and will cause employers no additional unnecessary confusion!

Although the final option is considered the best option in our opinion, please do not worry if you wrote yours in another variation or wish to write yours in a different way to what we have recommended. 

The point of this article is to ensure you write it in the best way possible, to ensure the highest possible chance of success and to make a good impression on your potential future employer.

Should you include your first-class honours degree on your CV?

Yes! It is essential that you do this to do your achievement the justice it deserves. Attaining first-class honours requires an astronomical amount of effort, hard-work, and determination, therefore you must be sure to include it when putting together your CV.

Stating you have first-class honours may also give you an advantage, as it is such an uncommon high achievement it is likely to put you above other applicants who may have a lower degree.

Why does it matter how you write first-class honours on your CV?

Presenting your CV in a respectable and neat way is a sure-fire way to impress employers right from the beginning.

An unorganised CV will lead to disapproval from your employer and may put you in a negative light if you get called back for an interview. It may even jeopardise your chances of getting an interview in the first place. This makes it vital you know how to set out your content correctly and tidily.

Following the below tutorial will ensure you do this correctly, and will avoid any negative impressions that could be created from a messy CV.

The main importance of writing ‘first-class’ correctly is to create the best possible impression of yourself through your CV.

Writing it incorrectly or untidily may put you in a bad light, and especially if you are applying for a popular job with many applicants. It is essential for you to create the best impression possible to enable you to be accepted.

To do this you must get everything correct- everything down to the very last detail, and that includes even miniscule things like the way you write ‘first-class’.

Should you write your percentage next to your degree also?

To be awarded a first-class honours degree, the student taking the course must have gained a percentage of 70% or more. However, there is a huge difference between a 70% and a 90%+ student. Due to this, is it necessary to state your percentage?

Although most employers do not actively request your percentage, it may be of use to you to include it if you feel it would benefit your CV. For example, employers are most likely to choose the applicant with 88% over another with 71% as long as they match the criteria in other areas too.

Some people do not find out their percentage after university, and if you can relate to this situation, do not worry! As mentioned earlier, employers do not actively seek this statistic, so it will not damage your CV if you do not include it (unless it is requested, although this is rare).

If you were to write your percentage, it is recommended you follow this formula:

[Degree Type] [Degree Name] (Degree Class: Percentage), [Years Attended]
[University Name], [University Location] 

Here is an example of this:

BA (Hons) History and Politics (1st: 86%), 2017-2020
University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth

If you were not given your percentage, you may be able to contact your attended university and see if they have a file containing it.

What does a CV look like?

Although this section may seem off topic from the subheading, it is more useful than you may think to understand the general format of a CV. This is so you can then interpret this in your mind as we proceed to tell you how and where to write your honours degree.

A typical CV includes contact information (so employers are able to send a reply!), a personal statement (an account of all your achievements, talents, interests, and goals), previous work experience (if any), and your past education and skills.

You are also free to include anything you think would impress employers and add to the image you would like to portray of yourself- as long as it is true, of course!

CVs are typically flexible in regard to what you can put in, so ultimately it is up to you what you include (although vital information such as contact details are highly recommended!). Some employers may give specifications of what is required to be included.

You can view on this website an example of a typical CV, with contact details at the top, and all other subjects following.

If you wish to create your own whilst following along with our tutorial on how to write your first-class honours degree in correctly, you can find many professional templates here.

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