How to add certifications properly on a resume

April 1, 2022

🕐 min read

Just because you have a good resume does not guarantee that you will get a job. In the job competition, you have a few more steps to take.

But to proceed you need to get past from the initial resume screening. That’s why you must understand how to write an effective resume.

Most candidates understand how to create a basic resume in order to apply for jobs. However, if you need to stand out from the crowd, listing certificates and licenses is an excellent way to impress potential employers.

In this article, we will discuss what resume certificates are, how to properly list them in a resume, what are the best certifications to list on a resume, and many other resume certifications related topics.

What do certifications and licenses mean?

Certifications are a type of documentation that confirms an individual’s skill or a competency to perform a specific job or task. Certifications are usually given after a formal assessment by a recognized institution.

A license is verification from an institution that a professional is qualified to perform a specific job role in a specific industry. Most of the technical positions still require a license.

How do online courses differ from certifications?

Online certifications are those that can be obtained online without attending physical classes or lectures. The course may include access to an LMS platform where you can access video materials, articles, infographics, and other types of educational materials.

There are so many online courses available on the internet these days that we can participate and become certified in any industry.

The majority of these courses are free, but some may charge a course fee. Online certificates are great to include on your resume because they can help you stand out too.

Benefits of having certificates on your resume

Reasons to add certificates on your resume

Professional certifications on your resume can help you progress more quickly in your career. Because these days Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are frequently used by hiring managers to streamline the hiring process.

As a result, certifications in resumes could be the top secret to beating ATS systems and making your resume stand out from the crowd.

Obtaining a professional certification also demonstrates your commitment to your chosen field or industry. You need to commit your time and effort to being certified because you desperately need to advance in your career. It also shows your desire to learn. So these points will wow any recruiter.

Certifications and licenses can serve as proof of your skills and expertise. It’s a kind of proof that you’ve the training, theoretical understanding, practical experience, and knowledge to do a task or job with minimum supervision.

Furthermore, if you are certified in certain areas, it will help you lead to a better salary.

When to include certifications on resumes

There are several situations you need to consider adding job-related certifications on your resume.

If the job description specifically requests certification

On some occasions the employer specifically requires that all the candidates should possess a specific certificate to succeed in their job. In these situations if you are unable to mention that you have the required certification, you will drop out from the job competition.

Most of the time, the required certifications are listed in job descriptions. However, if you have the possibility, do some research to see if there are any other certificates that are more valuable to your profession or industry. If you take those certificates and include them in your resume, you will have a better chance of landing a job quickly.

When you need to show your industry experience

You can even showcase your level of experience by including job-related certificates in your resume. This is due to the fact that some certifications are only given to professionals who have extensive experience working in a specific field. So, if you can include such a certificate on your resume, employers will be able to understand your level of experience.

When you need to showcase additional skills

Suppose you’re applying for a job in the human resources sector. Then, by including an IT certificate in addition to the HR-related certificates in your resume, you can show your employer that you have the additional skills required for the job as well. You can easily get an invitation for an interview if you can demonstrate that you have additional skills.

When you do not have much work experience

Do you feel that you do not have enough experience for the job? If you are applying for your first job or if you are switching your careers, you may not have much professional experience. However, if you could follow some related courses and obtain certificates, you might be able to get your dream job without much effort.

Where to insert certifications on resumes

Now the next big question is where to place your certificates on your resume. You have multiple options here as below.

  • Certifications section
  • Contact information section
  • Resume summary
  • Education section

Recruiters don’t spend a lot of time looking at resumes. As a result, it’s critical to figure out where to include certificates on a resume so that the recruiter can easily find them.

You can decide where on your resume to mention all relevant certificates depending on the value of each qualification and the job you’ve applied for.

Certifications section

If you have more than a couple of certificates to display on your resume it’s better to create a dedicated section in your resume to list certifications under a section title like “Certifications,” or “Certifications and Licenses”. You can list all related certificates here.

Contact information

The contact information section, also known as the resume header, is an excellent place to state that you are certified in the field.

Normally, we do not list all of our certificates in this area. You should pick the most valuable credential for the job you’re applying for and write its acronym after your name.

Putting credentials next to your name is one of the resume tips that many candidates use to get noticed.

You can see how to include certificate credentials after your name in the sample resume headers below.

how to mention certificate on your resume header

The above image shows that the applicant is a Certified Professional Resume Writer.

how to specify your certification in resume contact information section

In the above image, the candidate’s job title indicates that he is a Senior Digital Marketing Specialist, and the certificate credentials after his name indicate that he is a Google Analytics Individual Qualification holder which is a great added advantage to get a job in the digital marketing field.

You may think you don’t understand what these abbreviations mean. However, as industry professionals, recruiters and employers are fully aware of these acronyms. As a result, these are some impressive things for them.

Resume summary

If a certification is included in the job description as a requirement, you can mention it in your resume summary if you actually have it. 

See the example below to see how Jason lists his certification on the resume summary.

how to mention your credentials in resume summary

Education section

Only have one certification. Then it is better to mention your certificate under the education section of your resume. If you have done the certification in your university time or if you don’t want to emphasize your certification over your other education, feel free to add your certificates in the education section.

For example:

Bachelor of Science in Software Engineering
The University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson, TX (Jan 2017 – Feb 2021)

  • GPA: 3.7 / 5.0
  • Certified Web Professional – Application Developer (CWP)
    International Webmasters Association (June 2020)

How to list certifications on resumes properly

Every resume is unique in its own way. However, there is a universal format for writing a resume. Similarly, your resume’s certification section has a standard format. To get the most out of your certifications, follow these simple steps.

Write your certification or license name

List the full title of the certification. If the employer is unfamiliar with the certification, they will search the details about certification online. So you have to name the certification name accurately. Therefore, don’t use the certification’s acronym as the certification title. Instead you can write the full name of the certificate or license you gained.

Mention the name of issuing organization

Specify the name of the organization who offers the certification. Make sure to spell this out and double-check for any typo errors. If you’re submitting your resume online, you can include a link to the organization’s website directly in your resume, making it easy for your readers to find the exact company website.

List the date earned and date of expiry

When including certifications on your resume, make sure to include the date you received the certificate and, if applicable, the certificate’s expiration date. You can use the mm/yyyy date format. Some certifications can be renewed after it expires. In those cases you can write the date it was most recently renewed. As a result of this, employers will be able to see that you’re up to date.

If you are still working on obtaining the certification, you can include the date when you expect to receive your certification.

Provide a verification link to your certification

If your certification has a credential ID or credential URL, make sure to include it in the certification part of your resume. If recruiters or employers need to verify your certification, these small details are crucial to be on your resume.

Resume certification examples

Fundamentals of Digital Marketing
Google Digital Garage – Jan 2020
Credential ID – XMX QH# 99X

Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW)
Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches
Issued: Dec 2019
Renewal date: Dec 2021

Project Management Professional Certification (In Progress)
Project Management Institute (PMI)
Expected date of completion – Apr 2023

Most in demand certification examples to list on your resume

It is a wise thing to choose the most relevant certifications for your job industry before attending a course or certification program. Because not every certification is worth your time.

So here’s a little guide for you to choose the best certificates depending on the nature of your job.

For Health, Safety, and Emergency Jobs

  • Federal Emergency Management Agency Certification (FEMA)
  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
  • CPR
  • First Aid


  • Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP)
  • Six Sigma Belts

Marketing Industry

  • Certified Marketing Executive (CME)
  • Hubspot Inbound Marketing Certification Course (Marketing)
  • Hubspot Email marketing certification
  • AMA’s digital marketing certification
  • Bing Ads accredited professional certification
  • Pragmatic Marketing certification
  • Fundamentals to Digital Marketing by Google Digital Garage
  • Google Adwords Certifications
  • Google Analytics Individual Qualification (GAIQ)

Accounting Jobs

  • Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
  • Certified Internal Auditor
  • Chartered Global Management Accountant
  • Certified Management Accountant
  • Certified Financial Services Auditor
  • Chartered Financial Analyst
  • Certified Fraud Examiner
  • Certified Government Auditing Professional

Project Management

  • Project Management Professional (PMP)
  • PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)

Human Resources (HR)

  • Associate Professional in Human Resources (APHR)
  • Professional in Human Resources (PHR)
  • Associate Professional in Talent Development Credential (APTD)
  • Certified Professional in Learning and Performance (CPLP)
  • Global Professional in Human Resources (GPHR)

Information Technology

  • Certified Scrum Master (CSM)
  • A+ Certification
  • Certified Computer Network Associate (CCNA)
  • Certified Computer Network Professional (CCNP)

Engineering Jobs

  • Safety and Chemical Engineering Education (SAChE)
  • Professional Engineering Manager Certification (PEM)

Food Service industry

  • ServSafe
  • Food Handler Certificate

Personal Training

  • ISSA Personal Trainer Certification


  • Registered Nurse (RN)
  • Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)


  • Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)
  • Public Notary
  • English as a Second Language (ESL)

Tips for listing certifications on resumes

  • Include the full name of certification. Not just the abbreviation.
  • Only official certifications and industry recognized certifications should be listed.
  • Use the correct certification name.
  • List them separately in bullet points to catch the recruiter’s attention.
  • Certifications should not be confused with training programs.
  • Always insert the certificate issuing organization, date, and location.
  • Use the reverse-chronological order.
  • Do not add expired or outdated certificates.
  • Add only accredited certifications.
  • Don’t list certificates that are irrelevant to the job you’re applying for.