A certification program is available in almost every professional field through at least one organization, trade group, institution, or business. You may be asking where and how to put certificates on a resume if you acquired a difficult certification after completing an intense qualification process or earning further formal training in your area.
To get the most of their placement, follow these guidelines.
Make a separate section for certifications
Certifications are best presented in a distinct section—usually after education—for the sake of applicant tracking systems (ATS). Include information about your certification, such as the issuing organization and the date you received it if it was within the last five years.
In the certification area, job applicants should utilize both the acronym and the spelled-out phrase. This design aids in ATS keyword optimization and can also benefit an HR professional who is unfamiliar with the acronym.
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If the certification isn’t well-known, you might additionally give a brief explanation of the credential’s relevance.
Here’s an example of a format you can use for your profession:
- American Bankers Association, Certified Financial Marketing Professional (CFMP), June 2019
Certifications should be prominently displayed on a resume
Certifications are sometimes relegated to “no man’s land” at the bottom of a résumé. If your profession requires or expects you to have a certification, make sure it’s easily accessible.
Important certificates might be listed on a CV many times. List certifications as acronyms next to a person’s name on page one for particular careers, and then detail the certification information in a separate section.
If hiring managers don’t read the second page, placing certifications following your name makes it evident that you have the needed certification within seconds. Remember that having too many credentials after your name can be overkill and may not be appropriate for all industries, so think about what your career expects. Another alternative is to include key certificates in the headline or summary portion of the resume.
Handle certifications that are in progress, have expired, or are no longer valid
Is your certification still in the works? “These can be included alongside a predicted completion date, especially if the credential is essential or highly wanted within the target industry and completion is predicted within a relatively short timeframe.
Considering a career change? Certifications that are irrelevant to the employment aim should be avoided in most situations. It’s understandable that you’re proud of your Certified Fund Specialist (CFS) certification, but if you’re switching from finance to nursing, it’s time to let it go.
Include a date range, like 2014 to 2020, if your certification has expired but you still wish to include it. While including an expired certification isn’t ideal, hiring managers will notice that it’s easily renewed.
If you have a certification from a long time ago, remove it if it is no longer useful.
Highlight desirable certifications
Certifications are often gained after completing an exam or evaluation procedure that requires the demonstration of industry-specific knowledge and skills. Here are several examples:
- SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP)
- Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)
- Certified Six Sigma Black Belt (CSSBB)
- Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
- Certified Pediatric Nurse (CPN)
- Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP)
However, not all qualifications are made equal, so consider how important the certification is to a potential employer.
Examining job ads for positions that interest you is a great approach to determine the worth of your certification. Pay attention to the qualifications that are frequently required in your goal industry and make them a part of your ongoing professional growth.
Go beyond certifications
Your resume should highlight all of the reasons why you’re such a great candidate that a company should go out of its way to recruit you. There are, however, various methods for attracting employers.