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How to List Certifications on Resume: Showcase Your Skills

A how to guide on listing qualifications on your resume

May 31, 2024

Crafting a compelling resume requires more than just a laundry list of your qualifications. It’s about strategically showcasing your skills and accomplishments, including all relevant certifications. 

When it comes to certifications on resumes, knowing how to present them effectively can make all the difference in standing out to prospective employers. 

In this guide, we’ll provide step-by-step instructions on how to list certifications on your resume, including a few examples for your inspiration.

Why Certifications on Resumes Matter

Certifications not only demonstrate your commitment to professional development and continuous learning, but they also validate your expertise in specific areas. 

For certain professions, like those in the legal and financial fields, you likely have specific job-critical resume certifications. For these roles, it’s important to list your certifications as high up on your resume as possible, as it’s often the first thing a hiring manager looks for. 

It’s also important to note that you can list all sorts of certifications on a resume—from a CPR certification to online courses. 

Here are a few benefits of including properly formatted certifications on resumes:

  • Increased credibility: certifications showcase your expertise and validate your skills, enhancing your credibility among potential employers.
  • Differentiate yourself from competitors: highlighting your commitment to staying updated in your field can set you apart in an increasingly competitive job market.
  • Increased chances of interview selection: properly formatted certifications on resumes can catch hiring managers’ attention when searching through large volumes of resumes.
  • Industry recognition: displaying recognized certificates demonstrates that you meet industry requirements. 
  • Expanded skill set visibility: certifications provide a concise summary of your specialized knowledge, including any transferable skills suitable for the role. Properly formatting your certificates helps employers quickly see your unique skill set.
  • Make up for limited practical experience: this is particularly relevant for people transitioning into a new career where they don’t have much practical experience. Listing relevant certifications shows that you have some knowledge of the field and an invested interest in learning more.  

How to List Certifications on Your Resume

Here are 4 key tips on how to list certifications on resumes. For the most part, it includes identifying the most relevant certificates to include and ensuring the formatting is correct.

Identify Relevant Certifications

When figuring out how to list certifications on your resume, it’s important to start by only listing the most relevant ones for the role you’re applying for. You must carefully select the certifications that showcase your skills and align with your career goals. For example, you can add your PMP certification if you’re a project management professional. 

Adding irrelevant certifications may end up cluttering your resume, which is something you want to avoid. A cluttered resume puts you at risk of a hiring manager skipping past your application as they may not find the relevant certifications at first glance.

Here are a few resume tips for identifying the best certifications to include:

  • Select certifications that are most relevant to the job you’re applying for: Or opt for certifications that have evident transferable skills. If the transferable skills aren’t as obvious, but you’d still like to include them, add a short note explaining why it’s beneficial for the job description.
  • Opt for certifications that are widely recognized and respected in your industry: Remember, online course certifications by accredited institutions like Google, LinkedIn Learning, and Coursera hold just as much value as other certifications on a resume (industry dependent).
  • Consider certifications that fill any skill gaps or enhance your existing expertise: This is important for showcasing your continuous learning and professional development. 
  • Look out for certifications that employers in your field often ask for: Another tip is to look at the LinkedIn profiles of current employees in the role or team you’re applying for to see if they list any certifications on their profile.
  • List certifications from reputable training providers and educational institutions: These should be listed first to draw the recruiters attention. 
  • List rare achievement certifications in your industry: This is a great way to draw attention to your dedication to the industry. Typically, this only applies to professionals who have been working in the industry for several years.

Remember, it’s not about collecting a long list of certifications but instead being strategically selective on the ones that will have the most impact on your resume.

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Format Your Certifications Like a Pro

Start by creating a dedicated section to list your certifications—you’ll find this to be standard practice in almost all resume builders and templates.

Then you’ll need to ensure that you get your formatting right. Make sure to include the following:

  • Certification name: Start with the name of the certificate.
  • Certifying authority: Add the organization or institution that issued the certificate, e.g.: Google. Always include the institution’s full name and watch out for spelling mistakes.
  • Date of completion: Add in the year that you completed the certificate. If the certificate is older than 5 years and in a highly evolving field, for example, digital marketing, consider doing a refresher certificate to keep your certifications up-to-date. If you’re in the process of obtaining the certification, you can add in the anticipated completion date.
  • List the expiry date: Should the certificate have an expiration date, make sure to include that detail and if you have any plans to renew the certification.
  • Details: Here, you can highlight any skills you demonstrated or gained for the certification relevant to the job description. This shouldn’t be more than one sentence per listing.
  • Group certificates: If you’ve received several certifications from the same organization during a similar period, grouping them together can look more organized and professional. It’ll also save space on your resume. You can also list certifications in order of relevancy and date completed.
  • Spellcheck: Check for any typos and make sure formatting is consistent.

You can also run your resume through a resume scanner to make sure all relevant information is included, further improving your chances of getting hired!

Verify Your Certifications

Verifying the certifications you plan to list on your resume is of utmost importance. Doing so ensures the information you present is accurate and credible, further strengthening your professional image. 

You wouldn’t want your potential employer to discover that your certificates aren’t legit before you do!

Here are a few tips for verifying that your certifications are from reputable sources:

  • Validate & verify: Visit the website of the credentialing body and look for a dedicated verification portal or contact information to confirm the validity of the certificate directly.
  • Industry-recognized: Ensure the credentialing body is recognized by relevant industry associations.
  • Details: Provide all necessary verification details, including certification ID, for potential employers to do their own verification process.

Use Your Certifications to Stand Out

Effectively showcasing your certifications on your resume is a great way to highlight your skills and expertise. When formatted correctly, with the right information, they can help you make a strong case for your candidacy.

If you want to use your certifications to stand out, you can format them into a separate box on your resume, or perhaps list them higher up in your summary section. It all depends on your resume format.

In the end, the best way to stand out with your resume certifications is by carefully selecting the ones most relevant to the job, ensuring they’re all up-to-date.

5 Examples of Certifications on Resumes

There are a few different ways to list certifications on your resume. Typically, you would list your certifications as follows:

Certification name
Awarding institution, [date awarded] 
Expires: [date] (if relevant) 
Relevant skills: [skills list] (optional)

Here are five examples of where and how to list your certification on your resume.

1. Include a Dedicated Certifications Section

If you have both formal education and professional certifications, you can split them into separate sections. Typically, you can provide more detail on the skills gained by completing the certificate than you would with formal education listings—but not more than a sentence for each.

2. List Certifications Under “Education”

If you don’t have any relevant formal education to list on your resume, you can list certifications under the education section on your resume. If you have both, you can list them alongside each other.

3. List Certifications under “Professional Training”

Certifications can also be listed under “Professional Training,” where you can provide more details on the relevant skills learned.

The below format saves space by listing all certification information on one line, leaving room to list more points on what the training entailed. 

4. Group Certifications by Certifying Institutions

To keep your resume looking organized and professional, group all relevant certificates by their institution and list them according to the date completed.

5. Quick List of Certifications

When your work experience is more relevant, a quick list of your certifications may suffice. As in the example below, the certifications listed are well-known industry accreditations that hiring managers for this particular type of role would immediately know about. 

This example works well as the awarding institution is listed in the certification name. If it’s not, make sure to include it. You can also add the year completed in brackets after each one to show currency. For example, Workday Benefits (2021).

Making the Most of Your Certifications on Your Resume

Highlighting your certifications and completed online courses on your resume is a great way to showcase your skills and expertise while proving that you have an invested interest in professional learning and development. Listing certifications is particularly beneficial for people looking to change careers who may have less professional experience.

Remember, not all certifications need to be listed. First, identify the most relevant ones that highlight your knowledge and technical skills required for the job. Then, make sure to get the formatting right. Doing so will make you stand out and improve your chances of interview selection.

If you’re struggling with how to write a resume in general, try using resumA.I.’s resume builder. You’re guided step-by-step through each section, including listing your experience, skills, education, and each professional certification. Create your resume now!


How do you list certificates on a resume?

There are multiple ways to list certifications on your resume. These include: 

  • A dedicated certification section 
  • Listing certificates under ‘education’
  • Grouping certifications by institution 
  • Listing certifications under ‘professional’ training 

Need some help with formatting and getting your certification section right? Check out resumA.I.’s resume builder

Should you list certifications on your resume?

Yes, you should absolutely list certifications on your resume. Certifications demonstrate your commitment to professional development and set you apart from other candidates. Certifications increase your credibility and can make up for a lack of experience—all of which increases your chances of landing an interview. 

How many certifications should I put on my resume?

It’s important to list the most relevant and impressive certifications rather than every certificate you have ever received. A cluttered resume can be off-putting for hiring managers. While there is no magic number, stick to only listing the most important certifications for the job you’re applying for. Quality over quantity every time. 

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