Learn how and why to include certifications on your resume. Use these tips to impress the hiring manager and stand out from the competition during your job search for any job in any industry.
Use Certifications to Make Your Resume Stand Out
Certifications on Resume Why You Need Certifications on Your Resume
A strong resume will include one thing many job seekers overlook: a certifications section. While all jobs require work experience, skills and education, some jobs require proof of additional skills or training in the form of a certification. Including a certification section on your resume is a great way to make your resume stand out to the hiring manager or recruiter.
Three Ways Certifications Can Improve Your Resume
They make you a stronger candidate.
When putting together the sections in your resume, a certifications section can help support your case for a role if you are lacking in work experience or skills. If your education is still in progress, a certification can give you a credential that might put you ahead of other job applicants.
They prove your skill level.
A certification can provide proof to the hiring manager of your skillset and boost your credibility.
They help you pass the ATS.
Check the job description and note if there are any certifications requested for the position. Including requirements listed in the job posting will help your resume pass applicant tracking systems (ATS) that employer use to scan resumes based on key elements from the job description.
Types of Certifications Hiring Managers Are Looking For
Certifications are more important in some industries than others. Certifications can be used to prove professional development, completion of required training, or technical proficiency. Some certifications must be renewed at intervals to be valid.
Examples of common certifications:
- Certified public accountant (CPA) certification
- Udemy certifications or other online certifications
- CPR certification or First Aid certification
- IT certification
- Marketing certification
- Project management professional (PMP) certification
- Registered nurse certification
- Microsoft Excel certification
How to List Certifications on a Resume
Where you place certifications on your resume depends on what resume format you choose. If you do not have any certifications that are relevant to the job, it is not necessary to include a certifications section. You may choose to include only a skills section. If you do include certifications, you can add them to your skills section or education section. If you have enough of them, you can create a separate section for them. Where this section sits in your resume will depend on your resume format:
- Chronological resume
Certifications are listed at the bottom of this resume format. This format presents work experience first, in reverse chronological order. Then, skills and certifications are listed further down the page.
- Functional resume
Certifications may be near at the top of your resume beneath your contact information and the header. A functional resume focuses on skills, certifications, and special training.
- Combination resume
As skills are usually listed first in this format, certifications may be listed right under your skills.
You may also choose to reference an important certification in your resume summary or resume objective. For example, a resume summary for a group fitness instructor may say:
CPR certified group fitness instructor with 15 years of experience seeking full-time position at XYZ gym. Increased membership sign up rate by 30% at [former job] by introducing new class format.
Listing certifications on your resume can be made easy by using a resume template or resume builder. The certification section of your resume should feature:
- The name of the certification or certification course
- The awarding organization
- The date the certification was awarded, or the expected completion date
- If applicable, also include the date of expiration or renewal
- A summary of the skills or techniques the certificate is given for
Example of a certification listing on a resume:
CPR Certification, American Red Cross New York
Issued May 2021, Expires May 2024
- Rescue breathing
- Two person CPR Techniques
- AED and ventilation devices
When using an abbreviation or acronyms, write out the full description if the meaning of the acronym is not common knowledge. For example, PMP certification should be written as “Project Management Professional (PMP) certification”.
FAQ: Certifications on Resume
This depends on the job. Some positions don’t certifications for you to be considered for the job. However, some jobs require them even if you are entry-level employee. For example, a job in the medical field, personal training, or public education may require a CPR certification. Certifications are also a good way to make your job application stand out from other job seekers.
Even if you are short on time and money, you can apply for an online certification in your industry. Some can be achieved in one day or less, while others may take months or years. Some online courses are offered for free, but you may need to pay to obtain the final certification for the course. If relevant certifications are difficult to obtain, you could apply for an internship or take on volunteer work to enhance your resume instead.
Often the job description will list the specific certifications needed for the position you are applying for. You can also look at resume examples for the industry you are in, or use LinkedIn to research people who hold similar roles at the company you are applying to.