- What types of certifications should you list on a resume?
- How to list certifications on a resume
- What to include in the certifications section
Including relevant certifications on your resume can increase your chances of getting hired by showing interviewers you’re qualified for the job. You should list your certifications prominently on your resume so an employer can read them easily. Here are some tips and examples on how to list certifications on a resume.
What types of certifications should you list on a resume?
A certification shows that you have obtained specialized knowledge and skills to perform a certain task. Different authorities like government bodies, professional associations, universities and large companies grant certifications after assessing your expertise in a given area. However, not all certifications bear the same degree of importance.
Consider listing only certifications that fit these categories:
- Relevant certifications. You should only list certifications pertaining to your job skills and not those related to your personal hobbies. For example, if you are applying for a nursing job, a certification in photography would be irrelevant and should be left out. At best, you might consider adding photography in a separate ‘Hobbies and Interests’ section.
- Recognized certifications. You may have earned a number of certifications by completing various training programs and online courses. However, you should only list those certifications that are granted by accredited organizations and recognized by the industry. For example, you may list a lifeguard certification granted by the American Red Cross, but you should leave out certification obtained from a local training center if it is not an approved course.
How to list certifications on a resume
Depending upon the relevance and importance of certifications, you may list them under any of the following sections of your resume:
1. In the contact information section
The contact information section includes your name, address, phone number and email. You may include your certifications in this section, along with your name. This is especially suitable for listing essential certifications that are required for the job. For example, certifications like Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Project Management Professional (PMP), Accredited Legal Professional (ALP), and Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) may be listed in the contact information section to let the employers know that you have the required certification.
You may list an acronym if it is commonly used and understood in the industry. However, if you feel that the hiring manager may not recognize the certification by acronym, you should list the complete certification.
- Example 1:
- Jess Kurt, CPA
- Phone: 555-555-5555
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Example 2:
- Aaron Vasiliev, Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH)
- Phone: 555-555-5555
- Email: email@example.com
Sometimes, certifications become a part of your professional identity. Including such certifications as part of your email username often helps you get instant visibility. For instance, you may add certifications like CPA, PMP, CNA, etc. toward the end of your email username. However, you should use this as an additional measure to listing your certification.
2. In the resume summary or objective statement
A career objective or resume summary highlights your skills and experience in two or three lines. It tells the hiring manager why you are suitable for the job and what value you can add to the organization. You can include your essential certifications as part of your resume summary or objective statement in order to highlight your eligibility or expertise for a given position.
- Example 1: A Certified Public Account (CPA) with over seven years of experience in corporate accounts and taxation, looking for a career transition to Bank Manager. Excellent team management and communication skills. Reduced non-performing assets by 12 percent while working as a Branch Manager for a leading NBFC.
- Example 2: Highly efficient project management professional with over five years of experience in managing real estate projects. Strong leadership skills. Holds PMP certification.
3. In the work experience section
The work experience section lists your employment history along with associated job responsibilities for each of your previous jobs. If your certification represents your role or job title in the organization, the experience section can be the right place to list your certifications.
- Atlanta General Hospital, Atlanta, GA
- Certified Nursing Assistant, May 2018 – Present
- Conduct initial screening of patients in the casualty ward
- Assist physicians in measuring heartbeats, pulse rates and other vitals of patients
- Provided high-quality medical care to patients
4. In the education section
Most of the certifications go naturally with educational degrees, making the education section the most suitable place to list your certifications. However, you may want to modify the heading of this section in order to let recruiters know that you have included your certifications there. For instance, you may name it something like ‘Education and Certifications’ or ‘Education and Other Credentials’ instead of just ‘Education.’ Just like in case of experience and education, list the certifications beginning with the latest one.
- Example: CPR certification, American Heart Association, 2017
5. In a separate certifications section
If you have multiple certifications, you should consider listing them under a separate section. You may name this section ‘Certifications,’ ‘Certification and Training,’ ‘Professional Development’ or something similar in order to attract the attention of the hiring manager. You may place this section just above or below the education section or at the bottom of your resume. Be sure to list your certifications in reverse-chronological order from most recent to earliest.
What to include in the certifications section
Include the following details for each certification:
- Name of the certification in full, followed by acronym, if any
- Name of the certifying body or authority
- Location for instances of state or country-based certifications
- Date or year when completed
- Certified Addictions Registered Nurse (CARN), Addictions Nursing Certification Board, 2017
- Trauma Nursing Core Course (TNCC) Certification, Emergency Nurses Association, 2015
- Acute/Critical Care Nursing (CCRN), American Association of Critical Care Nurses, 2012