How to put certifications on your CV this Year

Certifications can help set you apart from your peers. How can you showcase your certifications to catch a hiring manager’s eye?

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Table of Contents

  1. Why should you list certifications on a CV?
  2. Where to list certifications
  3. Which certifications should you list
  4. FAQ: Certifications on a CV

Why should you list certifications on a CV?

When undertaking a job search, your CV and cover letter are incredibly important. Making sure they contain all the most relevant information about you, your work experience and your skills are crucial. While most people know to list their work experience and educational achievements, not everyone thinks to list their professionally relevant certifications. This is a mistake.

Listing any relevant credentials you might have on your CV is good career advice if you want to stand out from the crowd in the job market. Not only do certifications show that you are suitable for the role you are applying for but they can also help prove your skill set to any recruiter who might read your CV. This is why companies like Udemy have become so popular; they offer job seekers an accessible way to gain recognized and specific certifications for software like Microsoft office or excel and skills like digital marketing.


Where to list certifications

Generally speaking, you should list your certifications at the bottom of your professional CV, unless you are using a skills-based CV format that prioritizes your skills section. In this case, your certifications section should be next to your skills section, though not a part of it.

It is important to ensure your CV is well-formatted and organized if you want to make the right first impression. This means your header and professional summary or objective statement should be at the top of your CV, and the rest of your CV sections should be ordered by importance, depending on if you want to emphasize your skills or work history.

If specific certifications are required for a job, place your certifications section higher up the page. If certifications are not required for the job or you lack relevant certifications, it may be best to do away with a certifications section altogether and instead focus on your skills, work history or education section.

A tidy, well-formatted CV with all the right details in the right places will have a better chance of passing through the applicant tracking system and impressing recruiters. If you need inspiration, consider the CVHelp CV builder. We have dozens of CV templates designed for all kinds of job seekers to choose from, and you can easily add certifications to your CV using the builder.

Which certifications should you list

You should be just as careful in choosing which specific certifications to list on your resume as you are in choosing the hard and soft skills you want to list. Consider the job description and the requirements of the role before choosing which certifications to include on your resume. Remember, CV writing should be a tailored process. There's no point in listing a marketing certification on a resume for a position as a sous chef, after all. Of course, some certification programs are widely relevant. For example, the First certification in project management is considered to be highly transferable, whether you are a project management professional or a customer service assistant. In order to create the best CVpossible, you should list certification courses that are:

  • Required for the job role
  • Relevant to the nature of the job
  • Commonly requested but not required
  • Required as a part of the onboarding process in many companies (for example, Microsoft certifications are commonly required in IT)
  • Widely transferable (e.g., human resources or language certifications)

Once you have identified the best options, here’s how to properly list them on your CV:

  • Give the proper name of the certification, including any abbreviation. 

For example, a project management certification would be listed as a PMP certification. 

  • List the date the certification was earned. 

If the certification is still in progress, you can list the anticipated completion date. Your certifications should be arranged in reverse-chronological order like your work history section. 

  • Provide a short overview of the associated skills. 

If you are running low on CV space, this is not a necessity. However, it can be helpful to add indented bullet points under the certification with the top two or three skills associated with it. If you list your certifications correctly, they will act as solid evidence of your commitment to the professional development process you have been undertaking. This alone can be incredibly beneficial as it shows hiring managers that you are a dedicated and passionate individual.

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FAQ: Certifications on a CV

Q: Do I need to list my certifications on a CV?

It is not necessary to have a certifications section on your CV but it can be incredibly helpful in adding depth to your CV. If you include certifications on your CV, you will be more likely to catch and hold the attention of hiring managers.

Q: Can I get an online certification to add to my CV?

Yes. Taking the time to get a professional certification can be a useful addition to your CV, but only if it is a recognized certification. Simply taking an online course with no official certification may improve your skills but it won’t count as certification on your CV.

Q: Which certifications are important for my industry?

Knowing which certifications or credentials are essential for your industry is a matter of research. You can undertake this research either by looking at resume examples in ResumeHelp’s resume directory or by considering the LinkedIn profiles of people in your industry. What certifications do you see listed there? Are they relevant to what you do or want to do?

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