Latin Honors: How to List Cum Laude on a Resume
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Cum laude is a Latin phrase used to describe academic achievement and excellence within coursework.
Known as 'Latin honors', there are three distinctions of cum laude achievement that are given to students in the United States, each signifying a different level of achievement. It is usually dictated by the student's grade point average (GPA).
This is the lowest level of Latin honors available for students, meaning ‘with honor’ or ‘with praise’.
Magna cum laude is the level above cum laude and means ‘with great praise’ or ‘with great honor’.
This is the highest level of Latin honors available to students. Translated, it means ‘with highest honor’ or ‘with highest praise’.
Cum Laude generally refers to an academic honor awarded at universities for achieving a GPA in the range of 3.5 to 3.7 on a 4.0 scale. Still, specific GPA requirements can vary by institution.
To gain Latin honors, students will usually need to achieve a higher than average grade point average.
The exact requirements for each level of cum laude will vary from college to college. Some universities will reserve Latin honors for a small percentage of the graduating class, meaning that only the highest performing students are able to achieve honor status.
Ivy League colleges and highly competitive institutions may further restrict the number of students achieving Latin honors.
These educational establishments will often use a combination of GPAs and faculty committees to consider which students should be recommended for Latin honors.
Students who are able to accomplish Latin honors are usually recognized during graduation ceremonies and will have their achievement designated on their diplomas.
They may also find that their achievement entitles them to wear a specific symbol of their accomplishment during the graduation ceremony.
When compiling a resume, you may be unsure as to whether or not to list your cum laude achievements. You may feel that it is best to leave them out and focus on other aspects of your experience and education.
However, it is a good idea to include your achievement, even if you spend the majority of your resume focusing on other things.
While recruiters will primarily focus on your work experience, there are some situations where your cum laude will be vital for helping you to make it to the next stage of a recruitment process.
For example, if you don’t have a huge amount of experience or are applying for a graduate position, your cum laude will set you apart from other candidates who perhaps haven’t achieved the same level of recognition.
Some roles, such as within investment banking, will expect your GPA and cum laude to be listed as standard.
- You are dedicated to performing to a high standard
- You are able to achieve impressive results
- You have the potential to excel within your future career
- You are committed to striving for excellence
Once you have decided to add your cum laude to your resume, the next step is to decide where it should go.
There are a variety of options when it comes to placing your achievement, depending on the role you are applying for.
It is always a good idea to tailor your resume to the position you want, so you may find that you need to change where your cum laude is listed so that it is more suited for each application.
Places where your cum laude can be listed on your resume include:
- In a dedicated 'awards and recognition' section of your resume
- Underneath the relevant degree
- As part of your covering letter or resume summary statement
As it is a Latin phrase, you should use italics. This will also help your award to stand out. It is also important to only use lower case letters.
Some positions will require you to list both your GPA and awards. Make sure that you know which to include on your resume. A generic resume will only need one or the other to be included, not both.
It is always best to be specific when talking about awards. This will help your potential employer to see exactly what you achieved.
If you gained a magna cum laude, put that rather than simply cum laude.
Alternatively, if your college or university offers an honors system which doesn’t use the Latin terms, make sure that you use the correct terminology. The award you write on your resume should exactly match what is written on your diploma.
You can create a section within your resume that covers the awards you have gained and activities in which you participated while at college.
It is important to only note the most relevant or highest achievements you have gained in order to keep your resume streamlined. On average, four or five awards or activities are enough.
Awards and Honors
- Summa cum laude
- 3.95 GPA
- President of student council
- Debate team representative
When listing details of your college and degree accomplishments, you can also add information relating to your cum laude.
University of Nevada, Reno, May 2012
Bachelor of Arts in Economics, magna cum laude
Sometimes, you will be required to add a summary statement to your resume.
This is your chance to make a good first impression with whoever reads your resume. You can include your cum laude in this section if you choose not to mention it elsewhere.
Bachelor of Arts in Economics at University of Nevada, Reno, in 2024. Achieved magna cum laude, stood as president of the student council and represented the debate team on multiple occasions.
If you are not required to write a summary letter, consider adding a covering letter to your resume.
This is a good way of introducing yourself to a potential employer and offers an opportunity to talk about your achievements without adding them to your resume.
If you have worked hard to gain your qualifications and have been recognized as a result, you should show it off.
Achieving cum laude isn’t something that everyone is entitled to and as such you should be proud of your achievement.
Listing an award such as cum laude on your resume will tell a potential employer that you are a dedicated, hard worker and will be a positive boost to their company. But, it is important to make sure that you list it in the right place so that it is noticeable and relevant.
Knowing how and where to present your cum laude as part of your resume can give you a boost when it comes to attaining interviews and impressing employers.