How To List Certifications on a Resume (With Examples)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 23 November 2022 | Published 2 August 2021

Updated 23 November 2022

Published 2 August 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.

Depending on your career field and specific goals, earning a certification can showcase your motivation and initiative to develop professionally. There are many industry-specific certifications you can show potential employers when submitting job applications, and it is important to consider including your credentials on your resume. While some roles may not require certifications, it can still be an effective way to show potential employers your unique traits and qualifications. In this article, we explore what certifications are, how to include certifications on a resume and what certifications are common and beneficial to add to your resume.

What Are Certifications?

Certifications are special documents (certificates) that you can receive from accredited institutions or certifying boards. These documents show proof of your competency, certain professional level or proficiency in a specific skill. To earn a certification, most professionals pay application fees and meet certain requirements to take related certification exams. After completion of certifying exams with passing scores, professionals become eligible to receive the related certification. Because many certifications can be challenging and time-consuming to pursue, certified professionals are often more qualified for competitive roles. Possessing a certification can also improve your reputation in your career industry.

Related: Curriculum Vitae (CV) Format Guide (With Examples and Tips)

How To Include Certifications On A Resume

Typically, you can include your certifications in a separate section of your resume to highlight your fit for the job. Use the following steps as a guide when listing your certifications:

1. List the title of the certification

Within a separate section of your resume, include the full title of the certificate first. Use the same font and text size you use throughout your resume so this section coordinates with the entire document. Be sure you type the title of your certificate correctly. It is also important to spell out any abbreviations so hiring managers can understand what the accolade is for if they are unfamiliar with the specific certification.

2. Include the name of the certifying institution

To provide validity to your certification, include the name of the institution or certification board that awarded you the certificate. Just like your certification titles, be sure to spell out any abbreviations so employers have a clear understanding of where you received your credentials. Including the full name of the institution also makes it easy should potential employers want to research your qualifications further.

3. List the date you earned the certification

It is essential to include the date you earned your certification, as it shows employers how long you have held your credentials. It is also important to include your completion dates because hiring managers can confirm the validity of your attendance to any certifying coursework. Stating the date of your certification can also let employers know that your credentials are current. If your certifications require renewal, also list the date you most recently renewed them.

4. Include the prospective completion date

If you are including a certification that you are in the process of earning, you can include the prospective completion date. This date should reflect the date you expect to receive the certificate rather than the date you expect to take any related exams. You can also provide an estimate of how far along you are progressing in your certification process.

5. Provide details about the related skills

While it is not a requirement, it can be beneficial to list any relevant skills that relate directly to your certifications. If you choose to include any associated skills or competencies, be sure to include them under your completion or prospective completion dates. This way, employers can see right away the unique skills that qualify you for the job to which you are applying.

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When To Include Certifications On A Resume

Depending on the job you are applying to, it can be highly effective to showcase your credentials. However, you might consider several instances when it can be crucial to include certifications on your resume. Here are times when it is appropriate to include your certifications:

When the employer requires specific certifications

One of the most important reasons to include your certification on your resume is when it is an employer's requirement. Some employers may require a certain certification for open positions. In these circumstances, candidates must meet the requirements for employers to consider them for employment. Before submitting your job application, be sure to research the company and review the job listing to determine whether the employer requires any certifications.

To showcase industry expertise

Another reason to list your certifications on your resume is to demonstrate your expertise or years of experience in your career industry. Many available certifications require professionals to work a specific number of years in their industries before they are eligible for certifications. Therefore, including your credentials is an effective way to validate your experience level.

To highlight specialised skills

In some instances, your certifications can help show employers the valuable or high-demand skills you have that extend beyond the job requirements. For example, if you are applying for a position as a project manager, listing your Project Management Professional (PMP) certification or a Six Sigma certification can help boost your credibility with potential employers. While in some cases it is unnecessary to list skills-focused certifications, including your certifications in a section of your resume can further highlight your qualifications.

If you have limited experience

If you have the skills and knowledge to qualify for your chosen job but not enough practical experience, certifications can help boost your credibility. In situations where you are unable to demonstrate proven work experience, listing a certificate can show employers your motivation to learn, take on challenges and advance in your profession. Consider including relevant certifications if you have limited experience to highlight your ability to self-evaluate and achieve your career goals.

Related: 6 Universal Rules for Resume Writing

What Are Some Certifications To Put On A Resume?

Depending on your career field and specific credentials, there are many certifications that are beneficial to include on your resume. For example, in the medical fields, nursing certifications, medical assistant credentials and other health care certifications can be advantageous to include. Technology certifications are also effective indicators of professional experience in the technology sector, and there are also business-focused credentials you can list to showcase your skills and qualifications. Here are several common certifications that can be beneficial to include:

  • First aid and CPR certifications

  • Human resources certifications

  • Customer service certifications

  • Language certifications

  • Management and leadership certifications

  • Sales and marketing certifications

There are many more credentials you can earn, depending on your career goals and level of experience. While some certifications are available to almost all professionals, some are job-specific and industry-specific and require proficiency in the field to qualify for related credentials.

Related: How To Include Accomplishments on Your Resume

What Are The Best Certifications To Have?

While it ultimately depends on your career field, the most in-demand certifications that employers often look for include job-specific credentials. For instance, credentials in information technology, computer science, health care, education, administration, marketing and business can comprise job-critical certifications that many organisations require for employment. Here are some certifications that are often in high demand across different career sectors:

Certifications in the medical field

The following credentials include some available certifications in the medical industry:

  • Certified patient care technician (CPCT) certification

  • Certified nursing assistant (CNA) certification

  • Certified coding specialist, physician-based (CCS-P)

  • Specialty Certified Medical Assistant (SCMA) certification

Certifications in technology

If you are considering careers in technology, the following examples include some well-known certifications in this industry:

  • Cisco certified network associate (CCNA) certification

  • Microsoft certified systems engineer (MCSE) certification

  • Certified information system security professional (CISSP) certification

  • CompTIA (A+, IT Fundamentals+, Cloud+ and Security+) certifications

Business certifications

Consider the following common business certifications, including credentials in management, analysis and development:

  • Certified business analysis professional (CBAP) certification

  • Certified associate in project management (CAPM) certification

  • Certified supply chain professional (CSCP) certification

  • Salesforce administration certification

Finance and accounting certifications

Finance professionals like bookkeepers and accountants often pursue professional certifications to showcase their expertise. Here are several of the common certifications in the finance sector:

  • Certified public accountant (CPA) certification

  • Certified public bookkeeper (CPB) certification

  • Chartered financial analyst (CFA) certification

  • Chartered certified accountant (ACCA) certification

Example Of Certifications On A Resume

Use the following examples for more insight into how to format your certifications when listing them on your resume:

Example 1: completed certifications

The following example shows how to format certifications that you have earned:

First Aid, CPR and basic life support (BLS) certifications First Aid and CPR Training Institute, Delhi NCR. Issued October 2019

Specialty Certified Medical Assistant (SCMA) New Delhi Institute of Health and Science, Dehli NCR. Issued September 2020 Renewal date: September 2022

Example 2: prospective completion date

Here is an example illustrating how to format certifications while you are in progress completing them:

First Aid, CPR and BLS Training (in progress)
First Aid and CPR Training Institute, Delhi NCR.
Expected date of completion: December 2021

Specialty Certified Medical Assistant (SCMA) New Delhi Institute of Health and Science, Delhi NCR.
Expected date of completion: April 2022

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

Related:

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  • What Are Professional Certificates? (With 10 Certificates)

  • List Of Online Professional Courses And Certifications

  • List Of 11 Cyber Security Certifications For Beginners

  • How To Get A CCNA Certification: A Step-By-Step Guide


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