Tips on listing certifications and licenses in your resume
Your resume is a compilation of your professional life; from your
education to summer internships, from publications to technical skills,
it is critical that your resume includes anything that would help you get
the job that you are interested in. Most professionals make a mistake of
focusing on experience and education only. As a result, they disregard
any additional information, such as certifications they have in their
field, that would enhance their qualifications and assure that they stand
out from the competition.
Any professional certifications and licenses that impact your career and
your ability to do your job should be listed on your resume. This concept
is straight forward for those professionals who cannot actually perform
their jobs without having a license to do so. This is the case for
teachers, real estate agents, medical professionals, etc. If you are in a
profession that requires specific certifications and/or licenses, your
resume should contain a section specific to this information. The heading
should state “Professional Certifications” or “Professional Licenses”.
You should list, in reverse chronological order, any certifications and
licenses that you have acquired in your professional experience.
However, it is a lot harder to consider this information and include it
on your resume if your professional field doesn’t require any
certifications or licenses. For example, having a certificate from a
seminar on managing multiple projects may not be required in order for
you to do your job effectively. However, such a certificate can be very
helpful in virtually any field, and if included on your resume, it can
help you stand out from the crowd of available professionals and catch
the employer’s attention.
Consider any courses or training seminars you attended in your
professional career. Don’t forget to include any courses you may have
taken as part of the training at a current or at a previous job. For
example, if you have completed a course on using Microsoft Access
Database as part of the training on your current job, and you know that
you will be required to work with this program in a new position that you
are seeking, make a note of this on your resume.
Treat the list of licenses and certifications as you do your professional
experience; make a list, in reverse chronological order, and consider
which of the items you listed are relevant to your professional goals.
Your resume should have no more than five most recent certifications and
licenses. List the date when the certificate or license was obtained; if
you took a course over time, for example, indicate the completion date in
form of month and year only. The exact name of the certificate or the
license should be listed, along with an issuing organization. No
additional information is necessary for this area of your resume.
Additionally, make sure to highlight any certification and licenses in
the cover letter if they promote your qualifications for the job you are
If the listing of licenses or certifications is lengthy, you can include
this information on a separate sheet of paper. You should always list a
few most recent items; however if the listing exceeds five items, let the
potential employer know that additional information is available upon
request. Your resume or your cover letter can point out this
information, as well as highlight only those elements that promote you as
the best candidate for the job.