How to List Certifications on Resume to Get a Job Offer?

How to List Certifications on Resume to Get a Job Offer?

Each of us has ever been seeking employment and knows how challenging and time-consuming this process is. Of course, everything depends on us and requires a serious approach. Well, if you have professional experience, that’s one thing. And what to do if you cannot boast of a long list of companies you worked with? Then it is only education and certifications that may help you land a job offer. But what are the ways to cover your education in a CV? How to list certifications on resume? In this article, we will explain to you how to present your certification data in your CV so that it works best for you as a candidate.

If you have no idea how to list inactive/expired certifications on resume and do not want to risk your professional development or career, then we suggest you use professional resume writing services. We will not only provide you with the sample of how to list certifications on resume but can also help develop a winning CV for you.

How to correctly write the certification section in a resume?

It is critically important to briefly and clearly describe both the main and additional education in the resume. Thus, the recruiter will understand your professional background, achievements, and interests. When reviewing your CV, a human resource manager needs to know only two things about you:

  • at least some education connected with the position you are applying for;
  • an educational establishment where you got it.

Further, it’s important for a perfect job search that you include your certifications on your resume in the correct manner. When you go for the first ir the second interview, employers will want to know the correct way to list certifications. The following is an example:

Red Hat Certified Engineer, 2020  ------------ Correct

RHCE   --------------------------------------------   Incorrect

When listing certifications, remember to include the complete name and year of the certifications, along with the certifying institute. This helps to lend authenticity to your accomplishments.

However, the educational establishment you have studied at is not always important for the employer. But it is better to be on the safe side and provide this information.

Wondering how long a resume should be? We have a detailed answer.

Where should you place the certification section?

According to the CV writing standards, the Education section should go after a section that defines your goal and working experience. However, if you are a graduate and do not have any working experience, you are free to skip this section and move further to the education and certifications you have obtained.

Education, of course, is important for a recruiter, but it is even more important for the one to know what exactly you can do and in what way a company can benefit from hiring you. That’s why your mission is to demonstrate your strong sides and do the following.

  • Do not force an HR manager to seek out the necessary information in the CV - it should be easy to see.
  • If you have not yet acquired any working experience but just graduated from a college/ university, then the education section should be placed immediately after the goal section in the resume.
  • If you are a qualified specialist in your field and have solid working experience, place the information about education/ certifications after the experience section.
  • Remember, you must first write about the certification that is of the greatest importance.

The certification section should be placed right after your academic qualifications. Just follow the examples below.

The Right Way


List educational qualifications in reverse chronological order


List certifications here in reverse chronological order

Based on the above recommendations, it would be more correct to create a different CV for each different vacancy highlighting the most relevant skills, certifications, and experience.

It is highly recommended to send a cover letter (letter of interest) together with a resume. Find here how to write a persuasive cover letter that will impress any employer.

What certification information to add to a resume?

The chronological order of certifications must be followed in the education section. If you have several diplomas or certificates, there is no need to indicate all of them. Instead, list only the certificates that are related to the position you are applying for. 

Some useful tips on arranging a certification section:

  • Avoid using abbreviations. The full name of the educational institution must be indicated;
  • Specify when you started training and the year of your graduation;
  • Do not forget to indicate your specialty/ course name;
  • No need to be modest: if you have a Degree Certificate with Distinction, you should highlight this point;
  • Sometimes, it is not superfluous to indicate the average score;
  • Write briefly - the section should not take up much space.

Keeping the above points in mind, here are some examples of writing correct certification information.

The Right Way

CPR & First Aid Provider, 2019 (Expires June 2020)

ISSA Personal Trainer, 2019 (No Expiration Date)

In case there is any extra information about the certification that the employer should know, add it to your CV as well.

Want an employer to notice and remember you? Learn how to send a professional email.

What to write in case of incomplete education?

Is there any way to indicate incomplete higher education in the resume and still be considered as a worthy candidate? Yes, it is more complicated than the question of how to list certifications on a resume. Students who are continuing their studies at the university at the time of submitting a CV should specify the end date of the studies according to the curriculum. When hiring a student, the manager has the right to know how many years or months left for the candidate to graduate. Therefore, be as specific as possible when indicating your graduating information in a resume.

The following is an example of how you can list incomplete education:

University of Education, Business Management (2015-2017), Completed 70 credits towards a Bachelor’s Degree in Business.

When and how to write about online certifications?

Online certifications that are related to your field of work must be included in your resume. In the current business landscape, employers look for candidates who are always ready to improve their skills and learn new trends in their professional fields. Therefore, you should always include any online certifications that pertain to the position you are applying for.

Certifications should always be listed in reverse-chronological order, i.e. the latest first. The name of the institute from where you gained the certificate must be included as well. Also, with every certification, be sure to include a summary of the licenses and knowledge that you gained during the course of the certification.

When writing about the certifications on your resume, you have to know the difference between online courses and certifications. Online courses may offer college credit and are good for learning purposes. But they don’t always result in certifications.

Professional certification courses, however, require you to pass a test administered by a third party. Once you pass the test, this is considered proof that you are skilled in the particular domain that the certification caters to.

So the crux of the matter is this: training gives knowledge, but may or may not end in certifications. Certifications, on the other hand, are proof that you are skilled in a particular domain.

Landing a job offer is easy

Even if you do not know how to list certifications on resume example and cannot boast of impressive credentials, you can still land a job offer from a top company. Our professional resume writers will do all the magic for you and will help you effectively describe your online certifications on a resume.

Just let us know what university/ college you have graduated from and what courses you have taken, and we will present this information in the most efficient way for you.