How to Write a Resume with a Certification Included

Updated 20 June 2023

Earning a certification shows your skills and expertise in a certain field. There are specific certifications for various industries, such as accounting, healthcare, information technology (IT) and marketing. Learning how to include your certifications in your job application demonstrates your qualifications for the position. In this article, we explain what certifications are, share how to write a resume with a certification, answer some frequently asked questions and provide a list of 10 certifications you can consider pursuing.

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

Related: 10 Valuable Cyber Security Certifications (And Requirements)

What are certifications?

Certifications are documents that accredited associations or boards award to individuals. Possessing certifications demonstrates that you have specialised knowledge, a particular skill or a certain level of technical proficiency. When you wish to obtain a certification, it's necessary for you to meet the eligibility criteria and requirements. For example, to sign up for a travel agent certification course, you may require at least five O-level passes or two years of previous work experience in the hospitality and tourism sector. For certain advanced certifications, it might be necessary to pass an assessment exam before gaining entry into the course.

Thereafter, you usually enrol in the course and pay a fee. As certifications can be time-consuming and challenging to acquire, having one is advantageous for your job search and improves your reputation in the industry.

Related: 6 Popular Agile Certifications (Including Benefits)

How to write a resume with a certification

Follow these steps to create a strong resume with a certification or multiple certifications:

1. Include the title of the certification

Create a heading Certifications and start by listing the most recent credential you possess. List the full name of the certification, as it may be unfamiliar to the hiring manager. It's also good to include the acronym, as some certifications are more well-known by their acronyms. Use the same font and size, but you can bold the title of the certification to make it more prominent.

Related: Corporate Certifications: 5 Credentials to Have

2. Add the name of the awarding institution

Include the name of the association, board or professional organisation that awarded you the certification, as this verifies its validity. Check for typos and make sure to spell the name of the institution correctly. This helps the hiring manager to look up the institution online.

Related: What IT Certifications Should I Get?

3. Mention the date

Include the year you earned the certification or the year it's due to expire. If this is a certification that requires renewal, add the year that you last renewed it. This demonstrates that your knowledge and skills are up to date and that you've completed the necessary assessments and courses to maintain the certification. It can also show your commitment and dedication to the field. Listing the date also enables the hiring manager to verify the certification with the issuing organisation.

Related: ​How to Write an Effective Resume Headline in 5 Simple Steps

4. Include the prospective earn date

If you haven't completed the process of earning the certification and are still attending classes or preparing to sit for examinations, you can still add the certification to your resume. When you do so, add the date that you expect the organisation to award you the certification. Including certifications that you're in the process of completing shows the hiring manager that you're working towards earning the necessary qualifications for the role, especially if the employer listed the certification as a requirement in the job advertisement.

Related: 7 Scrum Master Certifications That Can Help You Succeed

5. Give details of skills

List the key skills you've acquired from pursuing the certification in bullet points if there's enough space on your resume. This shows the relevance of your certification and demonstrates that you possess the required skills for the role. This can be especially beneficial if the certification is for another industry, as it shows that you have transferable skills. It's also useful if the certification is new in the industry, as the hiring manager may not be familiar with it.

Related: Microsoft Azure Certifications (With Reasons to Earn One)

FAQs about including certifications on a resume

Here are answers to frequently asked questions about this topic:

When do I include certifications on a resume?

It may be necessary to add certifications, especially if the employer specifically mentioned it as a requirement in the job advertisement. As a result, the employer may only consider you for the position if you list the certification. Another reason is to show that you have substantial industry experience. Some institutions only award certifications to individuals who have a certain number of years of professional experience. Your certifications can also demonstrate that you possess valuable skills that either meet or exceed the expectations of the role.

For example, you may apply for a telemarketing position and list that you have a certificate in customer service management. The hiring manager may recognise your customer service skills and schedule an interview with you. It's also useful if you lack the practical experience to qualify for an interview. Listing your certifications shows that you have the relevant skills and a commitment to the industry.

Related: 6 Project Manager Certifications (With Steps and Salaries)

Where do I add certifications to a resume?

Here are the different sections where you can feature your certifications:

  • Contact information: Place the name of your certification next to your name in the contact information section. Ensure that you use the acronym here, such as CPA.

  • Professional summary: Mentioning your certification in the professional summary immediately highlights your qualifications and encourages the hiring manager to review the rest of your resume.

  • Education: You can include your certifications in the education section if you only have one certification or if it's not critical to the job.

  • Certifications: If the job you're applying for requires specific certifications, create a separate section titled Certifications and list them there.

Related: 8 Wealth Management Specialist Certification Options to Explore

Is it acceptable to include certifications from online courses?

You can include the certifications you've acquired from online courses if they're relevant to the position. It shows that you're passionate about your field and are proactive in keeping up to date with the latest trends and learning new skills. Listing online certifications is especially useful if you're a new graduate with minimal work experience. It helps to strengthen your resume, as you may not have much to include under the experience section.

When adding online certifications, check that the awarding institution is credible and that the employer would recognise it. Mention the sponsoring institution instead of the actual platform on which you took the course.

Related: 8 Google Cloud Certifications for IT Professionals and Tips

10 certifications to consider pursuing

Here are some certifications you can consider earning to improve your employability:

  1. CompTIA A+: Consider pursuing this certification if you're in the IT field, as it demonstrates your problem-solving skills and ability to perform critical IT tasks.

  2. Institute for Human Resource Professionals (IHRP): This certification is locally developed and essential for those in the HR profession who want recognition for their experience, skills and competencies.

  3. Project Management Professional (PMP): The Project Management Institute (PMI) offers this certification to individuals who have proven their commitment to excellence in their industry and project leadership experience.

  4. First Aid: You can equip yourself with life-saving skills and use this certification to boost your employability for various positions, such as a personal trainer or security officer.

  5. Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP): This network security certification is suitable for individuals who possess a few years of experience in the field and want to receive global recognition for their skills.

  6. Postgraduate Certificate in Education (International): Consider pursuing this certification that strengthens individual teaching practices if you aspire to teach at an international school or work as a freelance tutor.

  7. Scrum Master: Scrum is a framework for managing complex projects, and completing this course demonstrates that you understand the methodology.

  8. Certified Public Accountant (CPA): This globally-recognised certification for accountants requires meeting education and work requirements and passing a rigorous examination.

  9. Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA): Consider pursuing this certification if you are seeking career advancement in finance and investment analysis.

  10. Lean Six Sigma: This certification provides participants with knowledge of improving processes through waste elimination, variation reduction and boosting the customer experience.

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