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How To List Certifications On Resumes: Best Practices For 2023

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Are you unsure if you must add certifications to your resume? You’re not the only one.

It is not always obvious whether you should include certificates on a resume. Certifications can boost your resume, but they can also add unnecessary length.

Should you always add your certificates? Are there times when listing certifications could do more harm than good?

Keep reading to know more about the best practices for listing certificates on your resume. Also, learn the proper format for listing certifications on a resume for best results.

Do You Have to List Certifications on a Resume?

You do not have to list certifications on a resume. While it is advisable to list certifications on your resume, it is not a requirement.

You can choose not to list any certifications. You do not have to include certificates if you notice your resume is getting long or you simply don’t find the use of doing so. The choice is usually up to you.

However, some jobs require particular certifications.

Hiring managers will not even get to consider your resume because it won’t bypass the ATS. You must consult the job description and look at the requirements before you send your resume.

If certifications are required, you must list them on your resume. If they are not, you can choose not to list any certifications or only list one or two.

Should You Put Certification in Progress on Resume?

Yes, you should put any certificates in progress on your resume. Some recruiters and hiring managers consider them an asset.

However, always indicate the expected completion or certification date. Always include any job-relevant certification you are currently pursuing in your resume.

You can choose not to put certifications in progress on your resume. Some hiring managers do not consider certificates in progress an advantage, so listing them will not offer you an edge over other applicants.

Use your discretion on whether or not to include certifications in progress. It is advisable to list the certificates and let the hiring manager decide whether it is significant.

Don’t lose an opportunity to get your dream job because you chose to be modest and not include relevant certifications you were actively pursuing.

Why Mention Certifications on Resume?

The choice to list or not to list resumes on your resume is up to you. However, there are many advantages to mentioning certifications on your resume.

Certifications add a lot to your resume and can prove advantageous if well-listed. You should highlight certificates on your resume because:

1. They Prove Your Skills

The work experience or skills sections of your resume highlight your relevant competencies in a given field.

Certificates amplify these competencies by proving that you are trained and certified in that field. Most certificate programs are intensive, and passing the examination proves that you mastered the principles and intricacies of the industry.

For example, project management, social media management, or network administration skills are always advantageous as they prove you are trained to work in these fields.

2. They Set You Apart from the Competition

Certifications are an excellent way to set yourself apart from the competition.

Hundreds, even thousands, of people apply for the same job at a given time. Your resume is likely similar to those of at least ten other people. Listing relevant certifications can set your resume apart.

While accomplishments are also noteworthy, certifications provide an official seal of approval that you know what you are doing. They can be the difference between getting an interview and receiving an email that they’re gone with another candidate.

3. They May Be Required for the Position

Not all jobs require extra certifications. However, for those that do, you must list the relevant certificates. If you do not list the certifications on your resume, it will not bypass an ATS. You will not even get to the interview stage.

For example, some analyst, project management, pharmacy, and consultancy roles require certificates.

Listing relevant certifications can also boost lacking education requirements like a missing Bachelor’s or Master’s degree.

Work experience plus certifications can often replace a degree requirement. Listing the right certificates allows you to compete with those with degrees in the field for the same job.

4. They May Be a Reason to Request Extra Pay

Negotiating your compensation during the offer stage can be challenging. Showing your extra qualifications is an excellent way to prove you are worth more to the company.

Certifications give you a bargaining chip when negotiating your pay or a pay increase. They can also provide you room to request better benefits.

What Types of Certifications Should You Mention on Your Resume?

You may accumulate a lot of certifications throughout your career. You don’t always need to list them on your resume.

Adding all certificates can make your resume seem unprofessional, depending on its length and the types of credentials.

To avoid crowding your resume and  having irrelevant information, here are the types of certifications you should mention on your resume:  

Licenses You Need to Do the Job

You should always list any licenses you need for a particular job. These include Network Security licenses, Electrical licenses, and teaching licenses. However, you must have earned these licenses or be in the process of earning them.

Remember it is unethical to lie, especially on a resume. If a job requires licenses and certifications and you don’t have them, don’t just list them. Potential employers will ask for proof when they interview you or hire you.

Certifications Relevant to Your Work

Consider listing any certifications that are relevant to your field or industry, even if they aren’t required.

For example, if you’re a mobile application developer, list your certifications in Android or iOS development, even if it wasn’t part of the application requirement.

You should consider also listing awards you have received in your line of work. Awards can help showcase your soft skills or prove the excellence of your technical ones.

How to List Certifications on A Resume

Now that you know why certifications on a resume are encouraged and which ones to include, here is how you should list certifications on your resume:

Create a Header for Certifications and Awards

Start by adding a clearly marked section for certifications and awards. Use header or title formatting consistent with the work experience, skills, and education sections of a resume.

The certifications and awards section should come after your education or skills section, depending on how you structure your resume.

List the Name of the Certification

Under the certifications and awards header, list the official name of the certification you received or are currently pursuing.

Do not use words that are considered buzzwords just to fill the certification section. Stick to using an authorized certificate name to make it easy to verify your certification.

Mention the Name of the Certifying Agency

Parallel to the certification name, highlight the certifying agency. It is important to prove you are not making up certifications. Mentioning the name of the certifying agency adds credibility and ensures the hiring team takes your certifications seriously.

Put the Date You Became

Start with the most recent certification and list the dates in reverse chronological order, with the most recent first and oldest one last. Do not include any obsolete certifications.

If you need to re-sit an examination to get certified again, do not include that certification. Only include those that are up-to-date and valid. Also, list the expiration dates of certifications if they are applicable.

How to Put Online Certificate in Resume

You can list online certificates in a resume the same way you list others. Add them to your other certificates and awards, following the same chronological order.

However, the certificates must be from a reputable site and you must have a digital copy.

How to List CPR Certification on Resume

CPR certification is listed among other certificates on a resume. Follow the same format outlined above and include it in reverse chronological order with the rest of your certifications. Highlight the certifying agency, the certification, and the expiry dates.

If your job requires CPR certification, you can highlight your certification using a sub-bullet point under a bullet point showcasing your relevant experience.

Wrapping Up

Listing certifications on your resume can help set you apart from the competition, ensuring you get an interview request.

Certificate names include keywords that can help your resume get through Applicant Tracking Systems. You should also include job-relevant certifications to prove your experience and skills and allow you to negotiate higher pay or better benefits.

Comment below any questions you have on listing certifications on resumes and share this with anyone trying to get a new job.

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