Listing Certifications and Licenses in a Resume

A resume depiction

From an individual’s education, summer internships and publications to his/her technical skills, it is extremely important that a resume prepared (self-prepared or otherwise) for that individual includes anything that would help him/her get the job in which s/he is interested.

Let’s remember that when you prepare a resume you are actually compiling the experiences, acquired skills and relationships formed during your professional life, but somehow many professionals make the mistake of focusing only on experience and education; and as a result, they disregard any additional information that would enhance their ability to stand out from other candidates.

Any professional certifications and licenses that impact your career and the ability to do a job satisfactorily, or even exemplary, should be listed on your resume. This concept is especially relevant for those professionals who cannot actually perform their jobs without having a license to do so; jobs for teachers, real estate agents, medical professionals, and other such licensees.

The professional credentials section

So if you are in a profession that requires a special kind of certification and/or license, your resume should contain a section specific to this type of information. The heading of such a resume section should be “Professional Certifications” or “Professional Licenses” and you should list, in reverse chronological order, any certifications and licenses you have acquired throughout your professional experience.

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That having been said, it is a lot harder to consider this information and include it on your resume if your professional field does not 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 other professional candidates and catch the employer’s attention; and while it is important to consider any courses or training seminars you attended in your professional career, you need not forget to include the courses you may have taken as part of the training at a current or previous job.

Highlighting your strengths

One example is 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 you are seeking. Simply treat the list of licenses and certifications as you do your professional experience; and make a list, in reverse chronological order, while paying special attention to which of those listed items are most relevant to your professional goals and objective.

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Your resume should have no more than five most recent certifications and licenses with the date you obtained the certificate or license listed appropriately. If you took a course over time, for example, indicate the completion date in form of month and year only; and the exact title of the certificate or license should also be listed, along with the issuing organization.

No additional information is necessary for this area of your resume, but make sure to highlight any certification and licenses in the cover letter if they promote your qualifications for the job you are seeking; and if the listing of licenses or certifications is lengthy you can include the related information on a separate sheet of paper.

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Important use of your cover letter

However, make sure to always list a few of the most recent items; and if the listing exceeds five items let the potential employer know that additional information is available upon request. Your resume or cover letter can refer to this information, as well as highlight those elements – and only those elements – that promote you as the candidate best suited for that job.

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