Resumes & Cover Letters

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

October 18, 2021

Certifications are valuable additions to a resume that demonstrate competence in a specific area. If you have valuable certifications, it can be helpful to highlight them to impress potential employers. Understanding where to list certifications on your resume can help you create more impressive applications and improve your chances of success in your job search. In this article, we discuss where to put certifications on your resume, explore how to create a certification section, and provide an example you can use as a reference.

Where to put certifications on resumes

Here are some tips on where to put certifications on resumes:

Next to your name

If you have a certification that allows you to use a professional designation, you can include it next to your name in the resume header. Professional designations are a sign of competence due to their qualification requirements. Including one next to your name can make your resume more noticeable. To include your certification near your name, add the short form of your designation next to it in a bracket.

Example:

Steve Burrow (CPA)
Whitehorse, Yukon
224-544-3455
steveburrow@email.com

Related: How To List your Certifications On A Resume

On your resume summary

If you want your certification to impress the hiring manager, another great location is your resume summary. Your resume summary is a brief section after your resume header, which highlights your most impressive qualifications. As the purpose of this section is to showcase what makes you an impressive candidate, it's an appropriate place to highlight certifications you want the hiring manager to see. You can indicate your certifications by simply adding the word "certified" at the summary's beginning. Similarly, you can list them in your other summary sentences.

Example:

  • Certified CFA with over seven years of experience advising individuals and organizations on viable investment options.
  • Possess additional financial certifications, including Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA).

In a certification section near the top

If you're applying for a role where your certifications are vital to your performance, you can move your certification section to the top. Including them at the top ensures the hiring manager sees them, which can aid your application. You can include the certification section immediately after your resume summary and before your work experience section. Remember to list the certifications in order of their recency, relevance, and prestige. Note that this location is only appropriate for essential certifications that directly relate to your role.

Example:

Certifications

  • Project Management Professional (PMP)—Professional Management Institute (2020)
  • Certified ScrumMaster (CSM)—The Scrum Team (2018)
  • CompTIA Project+ Certification (2016)

Related: 8 Best Accounting Certifications To Improve Your Career

In your work experience section

Consider including it in your work description if your certification also doubles as a designation or job title. This approach allows you to demonstrate how the certification relates to your work duties and achievements. To include your certification in the work experience section, include it in place of the job title. Next, ensure you provide specific details about your work duties in your description section.

Example:

Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)
Arkinson Financial Services Ltd, Toronto, Ontario, 2018—2020

  • Held consultation sessions with clients to understand their investment needs and suggest viable situations.
  • Assessed market and financial data to identify trends and patterns and translate them into investment advice.
  • Managed and supervised the performance of client accounts and prepared periodic reports for them.
  • Trained and supervised five interns looking to start their careers as investment bankers.

After your education

You may have certifications that don't directly relate to the role but taught you essential skills. In such cases, you may still include such certifications if you still have space on your resume. For example, you may create a certification section after your education section and list the certifications. It may also help to state the skills you learned with the certification if it's not already clear.

Example:

Certification

  • Briggs Leadership Certification Program—Briggs Leadership Institute (2019) - associated skills include leadership, effective communication, collaboration, and delegation.
  • Hulo Certification for Microsoft Suite—Hulo Training Institute (2016) - associated skills include Microsoft Excel, Word, Powerpoint, Teams.

In your education section

You may have a certification that you obtained while in school and isn't directly related to the role. If the certification confers a useful or transferrable skill, you may include it in the education section. You can do this by creating a bulleted list after the name of your institution and including the name of the certification. Remember to include the name of the issuing authority and the date you received it.

Example:

  • Hugo Leadership Fitness Certificate
    Huge Leadership Training Institute (HTI), Toronto, Ontario (2021)
  • Certified Python Programmer
    SkillUP Training Insitute, Toronto, Ontario (2017)

How to create a certification section in your resume

Here are some tips you can follow to create a certification section on your resume:

1. Understand what certifications are

Knowing the definition of certifications ensures you pick the right one to include in your resume. A certification is a document that attests to your skills or knowledge in a specific area. Usually, professional accreditation organizations develop the guidelines to administer these certifications. Typically, getting a certification requires you to pay an enrollment fee and apply. Some certifications require candidates to fulfil some education or experience requirements. For example, CPA candidates require a degree covering specific subject areas and thirty months of relevant experience.

While they both demonstrate skills, certifications are different from training certificates. Training certificates are documents you receive from the training institute to certify that you completed a training program. Certifications are to certify proficiency or competence in a particular skill or field. Because of this, many employers often favour candidates with certifications when selecting recruits. Your certifications may grant you access to a better salary and more opportunities.

Related: The 10 Most Valuable Certifications Today

2. List the certification

To include your certification in your resume, create a separate section and name it "certifications." Ensure it's in the same font style and size as other relevant sections in your resume. Next, create a bullet list and include the name of the certification.

Always opt for the full meaning of the certification rather than the abbreviation. If the abbreviation is very popular, you may include it in a bracket next to its full form. Doing this makes your resume easier for the hiring manager to understand, and may be a keyword applicant tracking systems (ATS) look for, which can help you resume make the shortlist.

3. Include the issuing authority's name

The next step is to include the name of the issuing authority. You may separate it from the certification's name with a dash or include it in the next line. The purpose of listing the issuing authority's name is to make it easy for the hiring manager to research or verify your certification. It's also relevant, as the issuing body determines the prestige of the certification.

4. State the date you received the certification

Including the date you received your certification makes it easier for the hiring manager to verify it. Similarly, it helps the hiring manager determine how long ago you earned the certification to make some deductions. For example, earning your certification early may be proof of your ambition. To write the date, you can include it in a bracket near the certification's name or after the name of the issuing authority. Remember to include the expiry date of the certification, if applicable. Similarly, you may include the dates of renewal if you've renewed your certifications.

5. Include a prospective earning date

If you're yet to obtain your certification, you can still include it in your resume. Hiring managers accept this, especially for certifications that require candidates to have multiple years of experience. Remember to indicate that you're in the process of earning the certification and specify the date you expect to complete it. It's important you include an accurate date. You may reach out to the issuing authority to confirm when you expect to complete the program or application process.

6. Consider adding details on related skills

You can consider including associated skills to make them more impressive. While the manager may know of your certification, listing the skills you learned while obtaining it can make your resume more convincing. It helps the hiring manager determine how you can add value to their organization. In addition, you may review the job description to know what skills to prioritize in this list. Include the associated skills after the name of the issuing authority.

Related: 11 Great Certifications for Managers for Career Growth

Sample of certification section

Here is a sample of a certification section in a resume:

Certifications

  • Project Management Professional (PMP) - Project Management Institute (2020)
    Relevant skills include project life cycle management, leadership, and effective communication.
  • Certified Scrum Master - The Scrum Institute (2018)
    Relevant skills include scrum and agile methodologies, lean methodology, and project management.

If your certifications are in progress, you may include them like this:

  • First Aid and CPR Certification (in progress) - Canadian Red Cross - Regina, Saskatchewan
    Expected date of completion - June 2021
  • Chartered Financial Analyst (in progress) - CFA Institute
    Completed two levels of three. Expected date of completion: November 2021.

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

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