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I'm currently looking for a new job and found a very interesting job posting that is in the exact field I want to work in (software development in medicine). I specialised in university in that field and took several courses where I got excellent grades. However in the past two years I worked in a completely different industry and haven't really been in touch with it.

Would it be appropriate to list either these courses in my résumé and/or specifically mention them in the cover letter? At the very last the the hiring managers would see it on my Bachelor's certificate anyway. Or are past activities or courses in university not relevant after a couple years of working experience?

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Being neither a human relations specialist, nor a hiring manager, I'm not an expert. That said, I do recommend including your university coursework on your resume or in a cover letter or both. Partly I say this because two years isn't that long after school. A good part of the knowledge you gained in those classes should still be in your memory. Furthermore, you are showing the prospective employers that your have interest and knowledge in their specialty.

Also, this is based on my own, similar, experiences. I have interests in a particular science and took all the college coursework I could in that subject, in addition to getting a computer science degree. My senior project was a software application related to the science. My first couple jobs after school were in information technology, but were unrelated to science. About three years after I graduated, I learned of a job opening which would support scientists in my preferred field. I mentioned those college courses on my resume and in my cover letter, got interviewed, and got the job. I've now been working in that field for over twenty years.

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It's obviously worth less than actual experience in the field and will become less and less relevant with time but what's the downside?

Anything that shows some special connection with the field and shows that you are genuinely interested in this particular job and not simply a run-of-the-mill generic software developer sending resumes out by the dozen is useful. It also shows that you put some effort into understanding the requirements of the job and tailoring your resume, which is good in itself.

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I would mention your interest in this field in a cover letter and support it with the coursework in your CV. For non-related jobs, leave it out.

Let them know you've been looking for this type of opportunity. It is also a great answer to the question, "Why do you want to leave your current job?"

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I think you should definitely list these courses in your CV or mention this in your cover letter, especially if they are tightly related to the field you want to work on. It doesn't matter if it was 2 or 5 years ago, it's still relevant. Let's say the technologies or tools have changed, the basics and the theory are probably the same, or at least similar.

  • Yes, exactly. All domains evolve and change .... but the basics usually remain the same over the course of many decades ;) – Radu Murzea Nov 6 '15 at 11:01
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I think resumes and cover letters should be catered to the jobs which you are applying to. I also believe your previous experience can be relevant depending on the job which you are applying to. In your case, I would be sure to talk about these courses either on your resume or your cover letter.

I would recommend including these courses on your resume or cover letter since the job posting aligns well with the courses you took in university. If you do get selected for an interview, you can spend some time to refresh your knowledge on these topics so that you can talk about what the projects or tasks which you completed when you were enrolled in these courses.

All the best and good luck on your job search!

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