How To List Certifications on a Resume (With Examples)
Updated August 25, 2023
Hands are typing in front of a large computer screen with a list titled "Types of Certifications" and the bullets:
• National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX)
• Lean Six Sigma Green Belt (LSS)
• Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA A+)
• Chartered Professional in Human Resources (CPHR)
• Payroll Compliance Practitioner (PCP)
• Society for Human Resource Management Certified Professional (SHRM-CP)
• Project Management Professional (PMP)
• Project Management Professionals Certification (PMPs)
Earning a certification demonstrates your passion and provides evidence of your specific expertise and skills. Including your earned certifications on your resume can make your job application stand out to potential employers and set you apart from your peers. If you have earned one or more certifications, you will need to know when and how to include them on a job application.
In this article, we discuss certifications, explain how to list the credentials on a resume and look at some successful resume-plus-certification examples.
What are certifications?
Certifications are documents or certificates that are awarded by accredited associations or boards. Having one of these documents proves that you possess a certain level of professional experience or are proficient in a particular skill.
To obtain certification, most professionals must pay a fee, meet specific qualifications and pass some sort of exam or assessment. Because certifications are often difficult and time-consuming to earn, certified individuals are considered more qualified for competitive jobs and usually have an improved reputation in their industry.
There are many types of professional certifications. Some well-known examples include:
CompTIA A+: This certification is awarded to accomplished information technology professionals.
PHR: Offered by the HR Certification Institute, this credential certifies that the recipient is a master of both the technical and personal sides of human resource management
When to include certifications on your resume
There are several factors to consider when deciding whether or not to include your certifications in your job application. Here are some reasons why you might want to include certifications on your resume:
If the employer specifically requires certification
This is perhaps the most important reason you might choose to include your certification on your resume. If an employer lists a certain certification under the requirements for employees, you may not be considered for employment unless the employer knows you are sufficiently qualified. Before applying for a job, be sure to consult the company website and the job listing to find out if any certifications are necessary.
To demonstrate industry experience
Another good reason to feature your certifications on your resume is if they prove you have acquired years of experience in the industry. Many certifications are only awarded to individuals who have worked a certain number of years as a professional. Listing your certifications can be an efficient way to verify your experience level.
To demonstrate additional skills
In some cases, your certifications might prove that you possess certain valuable skills beyond those that the job listing requires. For instance, if you apply for an administrative assistant position and list your A+ IT certification on your resume, the potential employer will know that you are highly skilled with computers, which may increase your chances of landing an interview.
If you have limited practical experience
You might have the skills you need to do a job well but not enough experience to qualify for an interview. In this case, listing a certification that verifies your relevant skillset and commitment to the industry may make up for what you lack in practical experience. Many employers are happy to hire employees who have already invested in their own professional development by pursuing certification.
How to list certifications on a resume
Every resume is different but there is a regularly accepted format for listing certifications on your resume. Here are the steps you can follow to list your certifications efficiently:
1. List the certification’s title
Using a font and font size that you included previously in the resume, list the full title of the certification as a bullet under the heading “Certifications.” Be sure to type the name correctly and to spell out any abbreviations. If the potential employer or hiring manager is unfamiliar with the certification, they will need to be able to conduct an internet search using the full title.
2. Include the name of the host organization
In order to verify the validity of your certification, you will need to list the name of the association who awarded it to you. Be sure to spell this out as well and proofread for any typos. If you are submitting your resume digitally, you may be able to insert a link to the organization’s website directly into your resume to make your readers’ research easier.
3. List the date earned
There are a couple of reasons to include the certification’s date. First, it informs your reader of how long it has been since you completed the necessary tasks to earn the certification. Second, it provides your reader with information they need to call the issuing organization and confirm that you did indeed earn the certification in question. If the certification requires renewal, be sure to also list the date it was most recently renewed.
4. List the prospective earn date
If you are in the process of earning a certification, you can still list it on your resume if you include the date you expect the certification to be awarded. Be sure to include an estimate of how far along you are in the certification process.
5. Provide details on the associated skills
If you have room on your resume and if the skills are directly relevant, you may want to include a shortlist of the particular skills associated with the certification. Doing so can help explain the certification’s relevance and answer any questions your reader may have.
To upload the template into Google Docs, go to File > Open > and select the correct downloaded file.
Current certification example
Here are some examples of how to successfully list a certification that you currently hold on your resume:
First Aid Certification
American Red Cross, May 2018
Expires: May 2020
Relevant skills: CPR
Notary Public, New York
New York State Department of State. Issued Sept. 2017
Renewal date: Sept. 2021
In progress certification example
You can include certifications that are still in progress by adding the phrase “in progress” to the description and including the expected date of completion. Here are a couple of examples of how to list in progress certifications on a resume:
First Aid Training (in progress)
American Health Care Academy
Expected date of completion: May 2020
Notary Public Training, New York (in progress)
The National Notary Association (NNA)
Expected date of completion: Sept. 2020
Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.
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