When applying for jobs, it is necessary to know that, apart from you, there are lots of candidates out there applying for the same job, which simply means you have a lot of competitors, and more competitors means more resumes for employers to review.
How then do you ensure your resume doesn’t get toasted to one side by the employer?
This is where certification comes in especially for an entry-level graduate with no job experience.
Basically, you’re required to only add your work experience and educational background but if it is relevant to the job you can list your certification. There are lots of certifications out there from the tech industry to the medical field.
You might have already acquired your certification but don’t know how to properly list the certifications on your resume.
Don’t be discouraged. In this article, we will tell you how to properly list certifications on resumes.
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What Are Certifications?
According to Wikipedia, certifications are formal attestations or confirmations of certain characteristics of a person, organization, or object. Some kind of external audit, assessment, or education sometimes provides it.
They designate certification credentials earned by people as evidence of their skills and competency in performing a job. It is proof of your knowledge in expertly performing certain jobs.
They usually earn these certifications through writing assessments, and examinations administered by accredited educational platforms.
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Why Are Certifications Important?
There are so many reasons why certifications are important. Certifications serve as proof of your competency and skills in performing jobs assigned to you beyond expectations.
Basically, certifications improve your self-worth, it shows your achievements. Certifications increase your chances of securing a job or getting promotions.
It establishes your professional credentials and improves your earning potentials.
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What Are Some Examples Of Certifications?
Some examples of certifications include:
- 1. CompTIA Security+ Certification
- 2. Certified Information Security Manager(CISM)
- 3. Project Management Certification(PMP)
- 4. Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
- 5. Certified Ethical Hackers (CEH)
- 6. Certified Nursing Assistant (CAN)
- 7. Automotive Service Excellence Certification (ASE)
- 8. First Aid Certification
- 9. Microsoft Certified Professional
- 10. Cisco Certification
What Types Of Certifications Should Be Listed On Your Resume?
Before listing a certification on your resume, the first thing you should do is carefully review the job description and its requirements.
Here are some types of certifications you will probably see on job description pages:
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Required Certifications on a resume
If you’re someone who studied a professional course, it is very necessary to have a certification as most professions require it. Professions like medicine, law, and accountancy require a certification.
Some professions even require more than one certification. Some job description clearly states that an applicant must list one or two certifications and when submitting your resume it is very important you list the certification there.
Accountants for example are required to have a certification showing they’re Certified Public Accountants.
Recommended Certifications on a Resume
Another type of certification to list in your resume is those recommended by your potential employer. Most times employers use certifications to pick out the best candidates for a job.
Most employers judge a candidate’s credibility and skills through certification. Having great certifications on your resume can make you shine among other candidates.
Optional Certifications on a Resume
Most employers do not state any certification as part of a job description but then if you have any credible certifications that are relevant to the job application you can list the certifications out as this will increase your chances of getting called for an interview.
Most times employers just quickly scan your resume and if your certification catches their fancy you might likely be invited to an interview. This is also good for graduates or interns who do not have a lot of previous job experience.
Should Online Certifications Be Listed On Resumes?
If you’ve acquired certifications from credible and accredited educational platforms online then you can also list the certifications on your resume.
The online certifications are also evidence of your expertise in performing jobs assigned to you beyond expectations.
You can list online certifications on your resume if the certifications are important to the job you’re applying for if the certifications are from reputable educational platforms.
Online Certifications do not take up lots of space on the resume, most times instead of listing the online educational platform “like Alison” where you took the program it is better to list the institutional body “like Havard University” in charge of the program.
Sometimes if it is not necessary, you can give a brief discussion about the courses if time permits with your potential employer during an interview especially if you worked on several projects.
They’re more attractive than certifications since some online programs might not give you official certifications.
How Should Certifications Be Listed On Resumes?
This is some important information about how to list certifications on your resume that will attract the employer’s attention to your resume:
1. Name of certifying body or organization. An example is:
- Incorrect: Certification in Algorithms & Data Structures by a Random YouTube Channel
- Correct: Certification in Algorithms & Data Structures by Standford University.
2. Full name of certifications and not their abbreviations
- Incorrect: “CMA, 2022”.
- Correct: “Certified Management Accountant (CMA) – 2022”
3. Use the actual name of the certification
- Incorrect: “Certified in Hacking”
- Correct: “Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)
- Incorrect: “Passed the Bar, 2022”
- Correct: “New York State Bar, 2022”
5. The date you were awarded the certification and its expiration date.
- Correct: “First Aid Certification, America Red Cross. Issued Jan. 2022
- Expires: Jan. 2024
6. List the prospective date you’ll earn the certification for certifications in progress
- Correct: Notary Public Training, Ohio (In Progress)
- The National Notary Association (NNA)
- Expected date of completion: Sept. 2022.
When adding certifications in progress it is important to add “in progress” in the description as well as the expected date of completion.
Where Should Certifications Be Listed On Your Resume?
After knowing how to list certifications in your resume, the next thing to know is how to properly place them on your resume.
Depending on the description of the job and the importance of your certification, there are normally four sections where you can place your certifications and they include:
Certifications in the Resume Objectives
A cool place where you can list certifications on your resume is in the objective section of your resume.
It is recommended you list only one or two certifications in this field while the majority of the space left should be used to describe your resume objective. Here’s a sample of a Tax Accountant’s resume
Certification in Contact Info on your Resume
One of the best places to include your resume is the contact info field of your resume. It is also the best place to include your official credentials and personal information like your email, phone number, etc.
Normally, accountants, lawyers, doctors, and other professionals include their credentials next to their names. Here’s a sample of a Certified Nurse’s resume
Certification in a Minor Section in your Resume
If you want to reserve more space on your resume for more important information and credentials, you can dedicate a small section on your resume to list your certification. This option is always best for resumes that have two columns.
You can always list the certifications in the smaller side section. Here’s a sample of a Data Analyst resume.
Certifications in Dedicated section on your Resume
If you have more than two certifications then you should create a dedicated section on your resume.
Resume formats with dedicated sections are useful for listing important certifications.
This option is best for certified lawyers, accountants, or entry-level graduates.
Always list the certifications in its section, it is best to list the certifications immediately after your work experience.
Here’s a sample of an IT expert’s resume, take note of how he listed his certifications in an easily noticed dedicated section.
Mistakes to avoid when Listing Certifications on your Resume
- Avoid listing outdated or expired certifications instead you can talk about it with your potential employer during an interview.
- Never list a certification acronym, it is best to fully spell out the certification.
- Don’t list irrelevant certifications in your resume.
Yes, you can list online certifications on your resume as long as they’re from recognized and accredited educational platforms, and the certifications are relevant to the job you’re applying for.
Yes, do not list irrelevant certifications on your resume. If you’re applying for IT-related jobs, list certifications that are important to the job.
Sometimes certifications might not be relevant especially if you have lots of work experience but for entry-level graduates, doctors, lawyers, or other professionals, it is important to list certifications on your resume.
Besides listing your certifications, you can include your completed projects, awards, accomplishments, languages, etc.
The best way to make your resume outstanding and interesting to potential employers is by including certifications on your resume. Only add relevant certifications that are important to the job.
Before listing certifications on your resume, ensure you thoroughly go through the job description, find out what the job requires and list out the recommended certifications. Avoid listing outdated or irrelevant certifications on your resume.
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