Earning a certification in any field shows that you are eager to learn and motivated to do better. While acquiring a degree or diploma is a long process, earning a certificate after completing a course can take significantly less time and still allow you to learn valuable skills that you can use later in your career.
There are several industry-specific certifications that employers particularly look for in the case of certain positions. And if you have acquired your certifications apart from those; listing them on the resume will add credentials to it.
Not all certifications may be relevant to the current job role you are applying for. So, listing them accurately and relating them to the position can help you reveal your unique traits to your prospective employers. Read on to find out more about how you can do so.
Why Do You Require Certifications in the First Place?
Certificates are essential documents given by accredited and board-certified societies and institutions for completing any specific course that has helped you gain proficiency in a particular skill. One needs to apply for the course by paying a course fee. Some basic requirements have to be fulfilled to be considered for gaining admission in a particular period.
The course duration can be between a few weeks to a few months. It depends on how rigorous the coursework is. After successfully completing the course, the applicants need to appear for exams. Once they acquire the marks, they are awarded the certificate. Since many certifications are quite challenging, having one can significantly increase your relevance and reputation in the industry.
Including Certifications on the Resume – How Do You Do It?
One of the best ways to include certifications in the resume is to have a dedicated “Certifications” section. This section can come just after your “Educational Qualifications” section on the resume. Here is how you go about it.
#1. Listing the Name of the Certificate
First, start by listing the full name of the certificate. Make sure you type out the title correctly. Even if there are any abbreviations in the certificate title, make sure to type out the entire name so that the hiring manager has no ambiguity in understanding what the certificate title is all about.
#2. Including the Name of the Certifying Body
After providing the title, you should include the name of the certifying body or institution. It would be best if you also were careful about trying out the name accurately and elaborating on any abbreviations. This will also enable your prospective employers to look up the certifying board if they want to conduct further research on your candidacy.
#3. Duration and Date of the Certifications
Listing the duration of the certification course is very important. Usually, the longer the course, the more rigorous the coursework is, similarly, the greater is the credibility of the certification. Sometimes, the certification courses are divided into several categories. It starts from Basic and progresses to the Advanced and Professional levels. So, if you have the certificates for the highest levels the course offers, that would be ideal.
You should also specifically mention the date when you acquired the certificate. The more recent the date, the more credible your certifications will be because it will show that you are aware of the latest tools and technologies. Suppose your certificates are more than five years old. In that case, you might consider undergoing a refresher course and then include the recent dates on the resume. On the other hand, if your courses are still ongoing, mention when you will finish the course and get your certificate.
#4. Details About the Certificate
Suppose the certification you are opting for is a little uncommon. In that case, it might make sense to include a few details about what the certification is all about. This will further help you relate the certificate to the position you are applying for and how it is going to be relevant when you work in the position. While it is not a requirement, it will add more clarity to your resume.
Why Should You Add Certification to the Resume?
At times, many candidates consider skipping the “Certifications” section altogether, assuming only the “Work Experience” and “Educational Qualifications” sections are enough. However, when competition is stiff, you need to have the edge over others, and the certifications will give you that. Here is why you should do it.
#1. Employers Require It
When an employer specifically asks you to include certifications on your resume, it is an essential requirement for them, and you should comply. You have to meet the requirements of the employers to be considered for the position, so make sure you research the listing and include any certifications that need inclusion. For example, your employer might want a certification in SEO and Digital Marketing for the role of a Digital Marketing Consultant. So any certificate to that effect would be of great help.
#2. To Portray Industry-Specific Skills
Having a certification in any field helps you showcase your experience and expertise. Several certifications require professionals to complete a certain period in the industry before qualifying for the course. The eligibility criteria are strict, and your credentials will prove you are an expert in your field.
However, you also need to ensure that you have secured at least the highest two grades if there is a grading system in your certificate. If your grade is too low, then it shows that you have minimal knowledge of the course and its skill, and it could become a disadvantage instead. In such cases, it might be best to leave out the certification entirely and do not mention it.
#3. Highlighting Skills
Your certifications can help you highlight some skills that are highly in demand in a given industry. For example, if you want to apply for a Project Manager position, it would be pay off to list certifications pertaining to Project Management Professionals. A Six Sigma Certification will also strengthen your chances. You can also add a point or two about how the contents of the course can specifically help you do better at the job you are applying for.
The Right Way to List Certifications on Your Resume
One of the best ways to add certifications is to add a dedicated section for it on your resume. You can create a header, “Certifications,” and add all the entries under it, starting with the most recent one and then going down in descending chronological order.
Here is how you should arrange the order
- Certificate Name
- Name of University, Institute, Certifying Body
- Dates of Course Completion and obtaining the Certificates
- Location of the Institute (This would especially be needed if there are multiple branches of the institute you have obtained the certificate from)
- Progress (In case the course is still in progress, add the details about when you will complete the course and get the certificate for it)
- Certificate in CS50’s Introduction to Programming with Python, Harvard University, Course Completion in September 2022
- Certificate in CS50’s Introduction to Game Development, Harvard University, 2021
- Certificate in Digital Marketing Analytics: Tools and Techniques, University of Maryland, 2020
- Certificate in Analytics and Authenticity on Instagram: Crafting Your Digital Presence
Should You Always List All Your Certifications on the Resume?
No matter what kind of certification you have received, if it is relevant to your job or has helped you acquire skills that you will eventually be able to use in the said position, you must list it on your resume. Some certifications might not seem immediately relevant but might have significance in the long run.
For example, you might acquire certification in the French language but knowing a foreign language might not be an immediate requirement for the position you are applying for. And yet, once you put it on the resume, it goes on records.
Some months or a year or so later, your company might have a sudden requirement for people knowing French, either to oversee some French marketing content or to speak with clients based out of France. In that case, they would not have to go looking for people outside. You might be able to use your skill, eventually impressing your boss and getting a promotion.
Hence, listing any certification you have received is a good idea.
Listing your certifications on your resume will give you an edge over other applications. However, considering other applicants might also be doing the same, you need to score higher over the others by making sure that your certifications are visible and your prospective employer won’t skip them while going through the resume. Highlight them correctly, check the spelling and explain their relevance to the job and you will have an increased chance of securing your job.