How And Where To List Certifications On Resume

This tutorial provides clarity on how and where to List Certifications on a Resume including which certifications to list and the format to follow:

The first step in job hunting is putting your resume together. Everyone knows that resumes need to include one’s academic information, employment history, and contact details, but what about certifications?

The conventions on the inclusion of certifications on the resume are somewhat unclear.

How to List Certifications on a Resume

Read this tutorial find out:

  • Which certifications to list on your resume.
  • What format to use for listing certifications.
  • Where on your resume to list certifications.

resume

Let’s understand about certifications first.

What Are Certifications

Certifications are a type of documentation that serves to authenticate an individual’s ability and competence to perform a specified job or task. Certifications are usually awarded after the completion of a formal assessment by a recognized institution.

Why Include Certifications On Your Resume

Professional certifications can help you progress more quickly in your career.

There are three major reasons to include certifications on your resume. These are:

  • First, obtaining a professional certification shows your passion for your chosen field. The fact that you put in the time and effort to get certified speaks volumes about your commitment to continuing professional development.
  • Second, it is a verification of your particular expertise or skill. It is proof that you possess the necessary training, information, and knowledge to undertake a certain job.
  • Third, and this is a benefit you can reap almost instantly, obtaining certifications can lead to an increment in your pay.

Finally, many recruiters manage and track applicants with the help of Application Tracking Systems, which analyze and sort the information on resumes into categories, and then scan this data for keywords to determine whether the application should be selected for the recruiter’s perusal.

Certifications could help you beat the Application Tracking System, and distinguish your resume from that of your peers.

But which certifications are worth including?
And how many certifications are enough?

Let’s find out!

Which Certifications To List

The most important thing to remember about listing certifications is that it must be relevant to the post you are applying to. Certifications may be essential, desired, or optional.

  • Essential certifications include qualifications and licenses that are required of professionals in certain fields, such as accountants or nurses.
  • Desired certifications are ones that a potential employer might recommend as a way to narrow down the contenders for a particular position.
  • Optional certifications are simply a way to enhance your application and help you stand out from the crowd.

Let’s say your list of certifications includes:

  • A course in Japanese
  • A qualification in Digital Marketing
  • A certificate in Reiki

How do you decide which certifications are relevant and worth including?

The logical thing to do is to include only those certifications that serve to strengthen your application to the specific job.

So in the example above, if you were applying for the role of Marketing Executive, a credential in digital marketing would enhance your application. But there would be little value in adding the certificates in Reiki, or even Japanese unless you were applying for the post of Marketing Executive in a Japanese company.

Types Of Certifications

Certifications could be vocational, technical, or academic, such as diplomas or degrees.

They may also include professional licenses and certificated courses, such as a teaching license, or a certification in accountancy–qualifications that are granted by recognized organizations.

Do not confuse certifications with:

  • Awards or honors
  • Certificates from free online courses
  • Trainings

Example 1: Employee of the Quarter at ABC Company

This is an award, not a certification that verifies that you’ve learned a specific skill.

Example 2: Python for Dummies from Coursera

This is a free online course, which won’t add as much credibility to your professional experience as one from the Google or Microsoft certifications list.

Example 3: Trained in Social Media Marketing

The key differences between training programs, as in the example above and certifications are that training programs do not always end with a certificate, and they are not necessarily delivered by a recognized agency or body.

training programmes

Format To Use For Listing Certifications

There are certain conventions that you should keep in mind when listing certifications.

  • Chronology: List your certifications in reverse chronological order, starting with the most recent certification or any that are underway.
  • Validity: Don’t list certifications that have expired or lapsed. Be vigilant about your certification renewals so they’re always current.
  • Acronyms: Write the full forms of any certification acronyms at least once, so that even recruiters, unfamiliar with your area of expertise will not miss them.
  • Format: Here is an efficient format for presenting the details of any certification:
    • Name of Certification
    • Name of Certifying Body (sometimes this may be in the name itself)
    • Date of Certification Obtainment
    • Locational (optional)

Example:

Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP)
Cisco Systems
2008

Where To Put Certifications On Resume

Recruiters don’t spend a lot of time perusing resumes–only a few seconds, in fact. So it’s crucial to find the right place for your certifications on your resume so they are easily noticed.

Depending on the importance of each qualification, and the job you’ve applied for, you can decide where on your resume you’d like to list all relevant certifications.

#1) Contact Information Section

This is the ideal place for highlighting an essential certification. Including a required certification in the contact information section after one’s name is a common practice for professionals such as nurses, doctors, lawyers, and accountants.

In the example below, Certified Public Accountant Jane Doe’s certification is listed by their name.

Certified Public Accountant Jane Doe’s certification

#2) Resume Summary Section

The resume summary or objective section is a good place to highlight an essential or desired certification. It is uncommon to find more than one certification listed in the resume summary or objective.

In the example below, Certified Public Accountant Jane Doe’s certification is listed in the Resume Summary section.

Resume Summary section

#3) Education Section

The education section is the place to include your optional certifications. They must still be relevant to the job you have applied to, but they may not be critical to it.

In the example below, the CCNP certification is not an essential requirement for the position this candidate intends to apply for, and so it is listed under education section, in reverse chronological order.

Education section

#4) Certifications Section

If you want to include more than a couple of certifications, it is a good idea to have a dedicated certification section on your resume. You can include all your relevant certifications here – essential, desired, and optional, as shown in the example below.

Certifications section

Certification Placement On Resume: Examples

If the certifications are very important to the job, you can highlight it in the Summary section, the Experience section, or in a dedicated Certifications section on your resume.

Refer to the example below:

Examples of Certification

If the certifications are extra certifications that are relevant to the role, but not crucial to it, you can list them in a separate section, as in the example below:

Examples_ Separate section

Frequently Asked Questions

Q #1) How do you list online certifications on a resume?

Answer: An online certification should be included on your resume only if it is relevant to the position you’re applying to and has been obtained from a recognized institution. If it meets these two criteria, you can put it in your resume using the formats discussed in this tutorial.

Q #2) Enlist some examples of certifications on a resume.

Answer: Here are some examples of popular certifications across various industries:

  • Project Management Professional (PMP) (Project Management)
  • Google Certified Professional (GCP) Cloud Architect (IT certification)
  • Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) (Supply Chain)
  • Certified Food Quality Auditor (FQA) (Food Safety)
  • Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS) (Nursing)

Q #3) Does CPR certification look good on a resume?

Answer: CPR certification will look good only if you’re applying for a medical position, or if your role requires you to deal directly with children, or the public in general – if not, don’t waste the space in your resume on this.

Q #4) How do you list CPR certification on a resume?

Answer: If it is a job-critical certification, include it in your Resume Summary section, by starting the section with the term ‘CPR-certified’. If it is an optional certification, but still relevant to your job, put it in the certifications section.

For example:

CPR Certified, American Red Cross, Valid until July, 2021

Q #5) How do you list ongoing certifications on a resume?

Answer: When listing ongoing certifications on your resume, add the words “in progress” after the name of the certification, and include an expected date of completion.

Here’s an example of how to list a certification-in-progress on a resume:

Six Sigma Black Belt (in progress)
American Society for Quality
Expected date of completion: Dec 2020

Q #6) Which certifications should you exclude from a resume?

Answer: Leave out certifications that have lapsed, or are irrelevant to the position you’ve applied to. And definitely don’t include any certifications that are unimpressive.

Q #7) Should you list Udemy certificates on a resume?

Answer: If the certification is relevant to your job, recognized professionally, and issued by an accredited institution, then yes – go ahead and include it on your resume. If it is not recognized professionally, or if the awarding body isn’t accredited, then you must consider its relevance, and weigh the benefits of its inclusion against the space available on your resume.

Conclusion

Listing certifications on your resume can be an excellent way to get noticed by a potential employer. When you’re deciding which certifications to list, or where on your resume to include them, follow the steps mentioned below:

  1. Read the job description carefully to identify which certifications are relevant.
  2. Determine which of your certifications are essential, desired, and optional in relation to the job.
  3. Choose the appropriate section on your resume to list your relevant certification/s.

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