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.

Method of Listing Publications on a Resume


Relevance of publications to career

There are many industries in which publication of an individual’s work is a critical part of his/her career development; and as professionals in industries that require us to actively publish research studies, essays, articles, textbooks, and other literary work, we have to find ways to account for such publications on our resumes. There are a number of things to consider with respect to publications as a resume is being developed.

First, if you are the subject of particular resume, ask yourself how relevant the publications are to your career objective. If you have recent publications that support your career objective, make sure to create a separate heading on your resume and list the publications in reverse chronological order. Follow the AP style when listing a given publication, omitting your name from the listing if you were the only author of the text, as that is implied.

Publications that do not support your career objective should not be listed on your resume; and while such works may be helpful to mention to your potential employer via a cover letter, it is not necessary to take up space on your resume with information that does not directly impact your career. Also, if you have a submission in progress, or you are working on texts which support your qualifications – for a particular job – that you know will be published at a later date, include them on the resume under a sub-heading of “submitted to,” or “to be published in,” (publication name).”

A literary resume section

However, if you decide to include works in progress, you must make sure that they will get published at some point in the future. This is mostly critical for freelance magazine, newspaper or creative writers; but do not list every article you have submitted for publication, unless you are certain that it will get published; and if your list of publications is fairly extensive, do not dismiss it completely from your resume, because you do want your employer to know that you have either published, or are in the process of publishing, your work.

To accomplish this you could simply create a section within your resume dedicated to publications, while taking care not to go overboard with the number of publications you list on your resume. It is acceptable form to list three to five publications in reverse chronological order in the section you’ve created. This will give your potential employer an idea of your work, the publications, audiences you have reached, as well as your qualifications. At the end of your publication listing, including a statement that tells the employer a complete listing of publications can be provided upon request.

Include publications that support career objective

In your professional summary, or cover letter, you can indicate the total number of publications you’ve had in your career; and you can always create a separate document that includes a complete listing of your publications (if the list is extensive), following the ASP style. Also make sure that your list of publications credits other authors properly. You should have a print-out of this list, along with your resume that you can bring to any job interview, or forward to the hiring manager at their request.

In addition, if asked about your publications, offer your potential employer a copy of any of articles you’ve written for their review. Overall, you should disclose any information about publications, if such publications supports your career objective and highlights your qualifications for the job. Review the information you list carefully and make sure that names and dates of publications are correct. Keep in mind that –even minor mistakes can raise questions about your credibility.