Listing Certifications on a Resume (With 5+ Examples)

a picture of business person and certifications on resume

Should you put certifications on a resume? Deciding which certifications to put on your resume and whether they are assistive to the hiring manager can be a difficult decision. We'll show you how to make that decision. Which certifications to list. And where they should go.

certifications on resume

Certifications can be a very powerful tool in the job search. Here's what to know about them.

Should you list certifications on resume?

Here's how to decide whether to list certifications on your resume.

Is it related to your job

Are certifications related to your job? For example, a project manager job title. In this role, having Project Management Institute certifications, or a certified Project Management Professional (PMP)—is strong.

Though, if you're applying for a retail sales position. And you decide to list project management certifications, is it important? No.

certifications on resume

The first step in determining whether to include this as part of your resume is to consider how assistive it is in helping the hiring manager make a hiring decision.

In a retail sales position, would CPR certification be useful? Yes.

certifications on resume

Does it align with the job description

Inside the job description or job listing can be a number of helpful queues when developing/writing a resume.

One of those queue's is the requirements section. Inside the requirements portion of the job ad, certain certifications could be listed.

For example:

Candidates with PMP certification will be preferred.

This tells us that certain certifications are required of this position. And listing the correct resume certifications is a key part of writing your resume for this job application.

Choose the right certifications

certifications on resume

Unlike soft skills, many certifications are listed directly on the job requirements list.

This can make it far easier to choose the right certifications for jobs that require them.

For entry-level positions, choosing the right certifications be more challenging.

Try to choose certifications that fit with the job. For example, sales certifications if you're applying for a retail sales associate position.

certifications on resume

If you're unsure, it's sometimes useful to email the HR representative that has listed the job online and ask if any professional certifications are required for the role.

Is it only to stand out?

Listing certifications on a resume that are irrelevant to the job application, only to make your resume stand out—is not suggested.

certifications on resume

Hiring mangers, who aren't specifically asking to see job-specific certifications, would much prefer to see work history.

And replacing valuable work history real estate with certifications isn't going to assist the manager. Or help applicant tracking systems who are looking to scan for useful details in your work section.

Online courses vs. certifications

Is online course work applicable to list? Or only certifications?

certifications on resume

This is a great question.

Some online certifications or online courses are very useful to list. Once again, they are determined on the type of job you're applying for. And how helpful it can be.

Pro tip: Seek career advice of a mentor, friend, or industry professional. Ask them to review your resume for gaps, missing certifications, or education requirements for the career path you aim to go down.

Free online certifications on a resume

Yes, listing free online certifications on a resume can be useful.

For example, if you're in a marketing role, then the HubSpot inbound marketing certification course can be useful to list.

While this course is free. And easy to take online, it still shows a desire to advance yourself.

Because it is an online certification, does not mean that is loses its capacity to impress hiring managers.

certifications on resume

Pro tip: Research and review which certifications could be required for your job title before applying for the position.

Why consider taking certifications online?

In some cases, college students may receive college credit for completing these courses.

Additionally, managers see this as a way of advancing yourself. And it shows that you're genuinely interested/passionate about joining the industry.

This could be a great technique for an entry-level candidate or recent graduate to display that they're a valuable hire.

certifications on resume

How to list certifications on a resume

Here's how to list certifications on your resume.

certifications on resume

Where to put certifications

Depending on your resume format, certifications could be listed in varying places. The most common resume format is the chronological resume, rather than the functional resume.

The chronological resume lists your sections in the following order:

  • Contact information.
  • Resume summary.
  • Work experience.
  • Education.
  • Skills.
  • Certifications.

You don't just have to list your certifications in their own section.

There are many other places you can reference your certifications and certification courses that have gotten completed.

certifications on resume

You have the option to list your resume certifications in the following sections:

  • In your cover letter.
  • Within your resume summary.
  • As part of your education section.
  • In its own section.

Listing certifications in progress

Sometimes, certifications are still in progress. Job seekers will still want to show them, especially if they are "job critical" resume certifications (required by the manager).

When listing your professional certification, simply add "Anticipated completion" to the date portion of the certification.

certifications on resume

In-progress certification example:

PMP Certification

Project Management Institute

Anticipated completion October 2021

In this example, we listed the anticipated finishing date to inform prospective employers that this is a certification in progress.

certifications on resume

Resume certification examples

Here is what adding a certifications section to your resume will look like:

Steve Smith, PMP

663-938-4873

[email protected]

Summary

PMP certified professional with more than 12 years in the software field. Comfortable managing a team of 20 software engineers, designers, and other industry professionals. Worked closely with executive leadership to transform more than 10 businesses. Increased sales by more than 4X.

Work experience

Pro Marketing

2014-2018

  • Managed a team of 20 software engineers and designers.
  • Assisted in project planning, strategy, and more.

Certifications

  • PMP Certification by Project Management Institute
  • HubSpot Inbound Marketing Certification Course

certifications on resume

Pro tip: Always mention an important certification more than once. Is this your dream job? Then be sure to customize multiple portions of your resume to ensure that the manager recognizes your qualifications for the role.

certifications on resume

Certifications formatting

It's not necessary to only reference your certifications in their own section.

This is especially true for job-critical certifications (those referenced in the job requirements list of the job advertisement).

certifications on resume

Inside your name

Certain positions and relevant certifications should be listed in your name. This is especially true for medical professionals. Especially, nursing positions.

For example:

John Smith, CNA

CNA standing for Certified Nursing Assistant.

This refers to John Smith having completed his job-specific certifications for the role, which is a Certified Nursing Assistant program.

This applies to those who require professional licenses, as well. Such as:

  • Registered Nurse
  • Personal Trainer (NASN)

certifications on resume

In a resume objective

Within your resume objective, you can mention any prestigious certifications that you hold. You can include the certification name or include the abbreviation that's part of your name, too.

Here is an example resume summary:

PMP certified professional with experience in marketing. Completed the HubSpot inbound marketing course, creating the opportunity for me to collaborate with product marketers and other engineers who are focused on sales/inbound lead gen. 12 years of experience in the software industry. And looking to join a growing company who prioritizes innovation in the workplace.

certifications on resume

Your education section

You can include certifications in your education section, too. For professionals who could require certain important certifications to be considered for the position, like a Registered Nurse, this is how it should look:

Education

New York State Medical School, New York, NY

2009 to 2021

Certified Nursing Assistant

Ohio State University, Columbus, OH

2005 to 2007

Bachelor's of Communications

This is suitable for reverse chronological order resumes.

Pro tip: It's best to use the certification name of the certifying agency in the information contained in the resume section. The certifying agency is the name of the business that has given the certification. This is generally used for professional certifications that are issued outside of a traditional institution or university.

certifications on resume

In a certifications section

Add a dedicated section to your resume in order to show which professional certifications and professional associations you're part of.

Here is what that should look like:

Certifications:

  • Bartending Certification, New York Bartending School
  • CPR Training, New York YMCA

Add certifications to this section that are relevant to the job descriptions you're seeing on each job listing.

Pro tip: Don't forget to choose the right resume format for your job application. The correct format is more commonly the reverse chronological order resume. This format prioritizes work history higher. And lists the most recent work experience first.

When to skip listing certifications

Here's when it's best to leave certifications off your resume.

When you're trying to fill your resume

If your resume seems "light," in terms of work experience. And you want to make your resume shine, this isn't the right time to list certifications.

Spend more time on your career objective or resume objective rather than trying to list irrelevant certifications that the HR representative could find useless.

If it's not fitting to the job

When the job description isn't asking for these certifications. And they don't seem like a great way to stand out from other candidates, it's best to leave it off your resume.

Choose another path, like listing valuable soft skills and technical skills in order to stand out.

certifications on resume

When you haven't completed multiple certifications

If you're currently completing a certification, it's okay to list that on your resume.

Though, when the certification hasn't begun yet, then it becomes a white lie on your resume.

It's best to leave this section to the side.

Lying on your resume is never a great idea. Since many employers will want to validate your certifications. Especially in circumstances where the certification is a requirement of the position. Like a registered nurse (RN) of a certified public accountant (CPA).

Easy certifications to get

Below is a list of certifications that are applicable for certain jobs.

Taking online courses and completing certifications can be assistive to your job hunt. As well as your own personal expertise.

Consider taking these courses to continue your education and career advancement opportunities.

IT Certifications

Data Analyst Certifications

Google Certifications

Other certifications

Favorite Resources

Our favorite resources are included below.

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Resume and cover letter resources

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author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), NCDA Certified Career Counselor (CCC), and general career expert. Patrick has completed the NACE Coaching Certification Program (CCP). And has been published as a career expert on Forbes, Glassdoor, American Express, Reader's Digest, LiveCareer, Zety, Yahoo, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, SHRM.org, Process.st, FairyGodBoss, HRCI.org, St. Edwards University, NC State University, IBTimes.com, Thrive Global, TMCnet.com, Work It Daily, Workology, Career Guide, MyPerfectResume, College Career Life, The HR Digest, WorkWise, Career Cast, Elite Staffing, Women in HR, All About Careers, Upstart HR, The Street, Monster, The Ladders, Introvert Whisperer, and many more. Find him on LinkedIn.

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