How To List Your Certifications On A Resume

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated November 24, 2022 | Published June 21, 2021

Updated November 24, 2022

Published June 21, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Employers look for specific certifications when hiring to ensure candidates. This is to ensure they have the specialized knowledge and skills required to perform the duties of the job. Adding professional certifications to your resume can positively affect the impression your resume makes on recruiters and hiring managers. In this article, we discuss the definition and types of certifications, as well as identifying when and how to include them on your resume with specific examples for listing current and in-progress credentials to help you get noticed.

What are certifications?

Certifications are documents provided by accredited associations or professional boards to prove that you are proficient in a specific skill or competency or have recognized professional expertise in a particular area. Typically, you must meet specific qualifications, pay a fee, and pass some type of exam or assessment to receive certification. Obtaining a professional certification is often a time-consuming and challenging process, and, as a result, many companies consider certified candidates more qualified for competitive positions. Accredited professionals also have an improved reputation within their related industries.

A training certificate differs significantly from professional certification. For example, you may take a college program to receive a health care aide certificate or professional administrative certificate. When you take a certificate program, the training could lead to professional certification, but not necessarily. Third-party companies and associations manage professional certifications and typically exist outside the educational system.

Related:

  • 16 Examples of the Best Certifications for Your Career

  • 5 Training and Development Certifications You Can Pursue

  • Certificate vs. Degree (With Differences and Benefits)

Types of certifications

Professional certifications vary within each industry. In some cases, a government body, such as a provincial government, may manage a certification process. Typically, an industry association, governing body, or institute manages the process, providing a professional designation, shown by an abbreviation to include after your name. Here are several standard professional designations recognized across the country within various industries:

  • Adult training and development: Certified Training and Development Professional (CTDP)

  • Business process: Lean Six Sigma Green Belt (LSS)

  • Construction management: Construction Estimator Certified (CEC)

  • Human resources management: Chartered Professional in Human Resources (CPHR)

  • Payroll management: Payroll Compliance Practitioner (PCP)

  • Occupational health and safety: Canadian Registered Safety Professional (CRSP)

  • Project management: Project Management Professional (PMP)

  • Risk management: Canadian Risk Management (CRM)

So while the above examples are all professional designations, you may want to add other types of certificates to your resume. A third-party company or manufacturer may offer training in a specific area to certify you as an operator, user, or specialist. The following certifications are valuable to include on your resume to show the proficiency of a specific skill set or ability:

Basic skills that are useful to add to your resume, if appropriate to the position:

  • Standard first aid and CPR certificate

  • Counterbalance forklift operator's certificate

  • ProServe, SmartServe, or another provincial certification for the sale of alcohol

  • Class 1 or G driver's license (terminology dependent on the province or territory)

A manufacturer or product-specific certificates that are valuable to add to your resume, as required:

  • Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) certificate

  • SAP Certified Associate

  • Adobe Certified Associate (ACA)

When to include certifications on your resume

Adding certifications to your resume is an impactful way to show the hiring manager that you have the proven skills and qualifications for the position. There are several factors to consider when deciding to include your certifications on your resume:

If the employer or position specifically requires certification

This is the most important reason for adding certifications to your resume. If the job description clearly states that they require a specific certification to be considered for the position, this is your opportunity to highlight your qualifications. Review the company website and job posting to identify the required certifications to highlight on your resume.

Some positions are government regulated, and you require certification to practice your profession legally, such as medical doctors, registered nurses, or mutual fund professionals. In these cases, you also want to highlight the certifications that allow you to perform the position's required duties.

To show industry experience

Some certifications require a specific amount of experience, usually in terms of years of expertise. If you want to show your tenure within an industry, then listing your professional certifications is ideal. For example, to become a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA), after receiving your bachelor's degree, you must complete an additional one to two years of on-the-job training.

Related: A Review of the Top Financial Certifications in Canada

To show additional skills

Depending on the position, you may include certifications that aren't listed in the job description but would benefit the role. These certifications show that you are capable of doing more than the job requires and demonstrates initiative and the desire to take part in professional development. For example, if you are applying for an administrative assistant position, you can include computer software or customer management certificates you've earned to highlight your additional skills. Several examples of these certifications include being a Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS), a Dynamics 365 Certified Associate, or having a computer software CompTIA A+ certificate.

Related: An Overview of Web Development Certifications with Examples

If you have limited practical experience

If you have limited hands-on work experience, highlighting your certifications and your education can vastly improve your chance of being noticed by a hiring manager or recruiter. Some employers are willing to overlook a lack of practical experience for candidates who have the required knowledge to perform the job's duties. And by showing that you're dedicated to improving and investing in professional development, you are also showing potential employers that you're ready for the job.

Related: Where to Put Certifications on a Resume (With an Example)

How to list certifications on a resume

While there are various resume formats, there is a basic template to follow when listing your professional certifications. Here are the steps to list your certificates on your resume efficiently:

1. List the certification's title

Begin listing your certifications on your resume, using the headline "Certifications." Ensure you use the same font and font size as the rest of the resume and add your first certification title as a bullet point under the heading. Always spell out any abbreviations instead of using the short form. For example, if you have a PMP, write out Project Management Professional. This will help the recruiter or hiring manager easily understand your certifications instead of searching for unfamiliar abbreviations.

2. Include the name of the host organization

Next, list the name of the association or governing body that awarded your certification. This will allow the hiring manager to verify your accreditation if necessary. If you are submitting your resume digitally, you can provide a link directly to the organization's website to make confirmation easier for the reader. Be sure to check for typos and spelling errors and ensure you use the full and proper name of the organization.

3. List the date you earned the certification

Listing the date you earned the certification is essential for two reasons. First, if the employer wishes to verify your certificate, they can use the date to confirm your file. Second, the date allows the company to know how long it's been since you completed the certification process to earn recognition. If your certification requires renewal, also list the date you most recently renewed it. For example, a first aid and CPR certificate is only valid for a certain number of years before you need to re-certify.

4. List the prospective earn date

If you are working on a specific certification program in progress, you can still list it under your certification section. Be sure to include the date you expect to be certified and how far along in the process you are currently. This is common for more extended certification programs that may take several years to earn.

5. Provide details on the associated skills

Suppose the skills related to the certification are relevant to the position, and you have room on your resume. In that case, you can include a list of specific skills associated with the designation. This can help to explain the relevance of the certification to the position you're applying for and answer any questions the hiring manager may have.

Related: 12 Programming Certifications To Boost Your Career

Current certification example

Here are two examples of how to list out a current and completed certification on your resume:

Standard First Aid and CPR Certification Canadian Red Cross, October 2020
Expires: October 2022
Relevant skills: Workplace first responder, AED usage

Chartered Professional Accountant, Canada
Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada
Issued October 2020

In progress certification example

Here are two examples of how to list out in progress certifications on your resume:

Standard First Aid and CPR (in progress) Canadian Red Cross, Toronto, Ontario
Expected date of completion: June 2021

Chartered Professional Accountant Professional Education Program (in progress)
Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada
Expected date of completion: October 2021

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

The model shown is for illustration purposes only, and may require additional formatting to meet accepted standards.

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