Listing Magna & Summa Cum Laude On Your Resume [2020 Updated]

Listing your honors can be a way to make yourself stand out from other candidates. Additionally, ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems) that scan resumes for keywords might pick up your keyword and prioritize your resume or application towards the top of the funnel for human resource managers.

But how and where can you use your Latin honors? We’re going to cover places in your resume you can bring up your honors and how that might impact your chances of landing your job.

magna cum laude on the resume

Table of Contents

Bring Up Your Honors In Your Cover Letter

While most guides will tell you that the best place to put your honors is in the “Education” section of your resume, I recommend that you talk about your honors in your cover letter, as well.

Here’s why. When you list your “Education” on your resume, this will be buried underneath your previous working experience, your professional summary and your contact information.

This means that those who are reading your resume might not even make it to your education section. In fact, The Ladders recent eye-tracking study (performed in 2018) concluded that the average time that an HR manager or hiring manager looks at your resume is only 7.4 seconds.

If you only 7.4 seconds of attention span, how are you going to use it? The strategy is to bring up your Latin honors more frequently.

The way that you can do this is to let your honors speak to your story. For example, here’s what you might want to say as a recent graduate:

“Most recently I’m graduating from Stanford University where I was part of the Investment Club and Entrepreneurial Club. I’m graduating Magna Cum Laude with a 3.8 GPA.”

Your goal will be to implement your personal story and recent background into a targeted reason for why you want the job. But you can see how you can casually bring up your Latin honors in your cover letter.

Where To Put Your Honors On Your Resume (How To Do It)

Whether it’s Magna Cum Laude or Summa Cum Laude, the place where you put your GPA and honors is at the last line beneath your education history.

For example, if you attended two universities for your education, one for your bachelor’s degree and another for your master's degree, you would list both under education. But after you list your university name, your major and years attendance, you’ll list your honors.

Here is an example of what that should look like:

Stanford University
Business Management
2004 - 2008
Summa Cum Laude (3.8 GPA)

It’s as simple as that.

Is There Any Special Formatting I Should Use?

Instead of thinking about what’s formal for your resume to have, think about what’s easier to read. Try to bold the title of the university and then leave the rest clean and easy to scan. Remember that your resume reader is most likely going to scan your resume instead of reading it thoroughly. Due to that, focus on readability for them.

Is It Valuable To Put Your Magna and Summa Cum Laude Honors On The Resume?

It is absolutely valuable, it will add additional credibility to your resume. But remember, this is dependent on your resume reader actually seeing these honors. This is why I recommend placing your honors both in your cover letter, professional summary, and your education history.

That way you can bring up your honors in three places and increase the chances of your reader seeing that.

Where You Should NOT Put These Honors

If you bring up your honors a little too much, it might seem as though you are braggadocios about the latin honor. Keep your mentioned to the three places we mentioned (cover letter, professional summary, education history) and avoid placing your honors in previous work history.

For example, you wouldn’t want one of the bullet points in your work history to be something like, “I was able to excel at this position because I was Magna Cum Laude at Stanford University.”

That would be an incorrect way of bringing up your honors.

How Should I Bring It Up In My Professional Summary?

If you’re going to bring up your honors in your professional summary, all you have to do is make this a new line as part of your bullet points. Your professional summary should be 3-5 bullet points of your life’s best accomplishments.

If you can, use this as your last bullet point for one of your life’s accomplishments. Focus on your professional summary containing targeted metrics that pertain to the job you’re applying for. And listing your honor as one of those is absolutely applicable.

As an example, it should look like this:

Graduated Magna Cum Laude at Stanford University with top 5% GPA.

This example includes grade point average as well.

Resume Writing FAQ's

Below are questions job seekers have when writing their resume.

What if I graduated with honors? Can I say that?

Yes, you can simply say "Graduated With Honors at Stanford University"

Do I need to include my graduating class or graduation year in this line on my resume?

If you'd like to, you certainly can. Simply start a new line and then include the year you graduated only. You do not need to include the month.

What if I attended a fraternity or sorority should I include that?

Let's say you graduated from phi beta kappa, how much is that really going to help your resume? It probably won't. You may want to leave it off as it doesn't necessarily speak to your high honors and experience you gained during your college years earning your degree.

What if graduated valedictorian, should I reference that?

You certainly can. You would say, "Graduated Valedictorian at Stanford University"

Do hiring managers often look at your GPA or Latin honors?

It can certainly help to make your resume appear more well rounded. And can show that you took school very seriously when earning your degree. But it may not mean that your hiring manager or hiring managers offer you a position because of it.

Why would I include this on my resume?

Including your academic achievements can help to show distinction and commitment to taking your education and college years seriously. It can show a work ethic that makes you more appealing to a prospective employer. Honors and awards can be a great way to support the hard work you put into your education.

Are Latin Honors better than work experience?

Absolutely not. Work experience will always be more impactful and helpful in obtaining employment than Latin Honors will be.

Does a Curriculum Vitae require Latin Honors?

It certainly can. Just include it in your education section on your resume.

If I graduated summa cum laude is it just as impactful as manga cum laude?

Any Latin Honors are great to include on your resume. These are achievements you should be proud of and listing them is easy.

Resume Resources

author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is an experienced executive who has spent a number of years in Silicon Valley hiring and coaching some of the world’s most valuable technology teams. Patrick has been a source for Human Resources and career related insights for Forbes, Glassdoor, Entrepreneur,, SparkHire, and many more.


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