You've completed that extra training — don't be afraid to show it off!
Job hunting can be a challenge. If you want to land that all-important interview, the key is creating an application that turns recruiters' heads. Luckily, one way to do that is to list certifications on your CV. If you've spent time getting additional training, don't let your blood, sweat, and tears go to waste! You need to let hiring managers know about it.
Ready to get started? Showing off the training that you have under your belt doesn't have to be complicated. There is a straightforward way to list and describe these certificates on your CV. Within this guide, we'll take you through certifications on your CV: how to list them and why, with plenty of examples.
Why it's important to include certifications on your CV
First, let's discuss why you must put your certifications on your CV. Over your working life, you may have had many chances to gain extra training. That's good news for both you and a potential employer. It shows that you're dedicated to your professional advancement. Including these on an application serves multiple purposes.
Before discussing how you should list certifications on your CV, let's look at why you're doing so. Aside from strengthening your application, this move does the following:
Sets you apart from other candidates
You need to stand out from the crowd. You're up against many people with skills, experiences, and education similar to yours. Therefore, you must do everything possible to set yourself apart from the competition.
One of the ways that you can do just that is to list your certifications on your CV. When a hiring manager casts their eyes over your application, they'll look for little gems that make you an ideal candidate. If you have work-related training that another candidate lacks, it may be the difference between landing that interview and getting rejected.
Supports your industry-related skill set
You'll learn industry-specific skills for many careers when you're on the job. While your formal education prepares you for the leap to the working world, some talents can only be honed when you enter the workplace. While you know that you're a dab hand at your job - and all of the tasks it includes – you need to prove that.
Undergoing extra training and gaining certificates will put you in a great position. It shows that you're a hard worker and someone willing to invest in your career. Hiring managers are sure to be impressed by what you have to bring to the table here.
Let's say you're working in marketing and have slowly climbed the ranks within an agency. Congratulations! Your team already knows you're a marketing whizz. But you must prove it if you're looking for a role elsewhere. The fact that you've earned a Google Career Certificate in digital marketing and e-commerce may seal the deal.
Bolsters an otherwise lacking CV
Are you looking to break into a new sector? You're likely not alone. Two in five UK employees are considering a job change in 2024. If it's time to switch things up, there are doubtless obstacles you will face. The biggest is your lack of industry experience – especially when you're up against seasoned workers.
What you lack in experience can be made up for with additional training and professional development. Before you start applying, look at online courses that will give you a base level of knowledge. This move allows you to gain a foundational understanding of the sector.
Once you've completed these certificates, they should take centre stage on your CV. When a hiring manager looks at your application, they'll see you've undertaken field-related training off your own back. That's positive, as it shows that you are 100% serious about this newfound career path – it's not just a fleeting fancy.
Gives interviewers a talking point
You can expect the same old interview questions when you attend a job interview. That's normal, and you can easily prepare for them. However, you also want to give the interviewer more topics to cover. If you've undertaken extra certificates and qualifications, that will be a talking point when you make it to the interview stage of the process.
The interviewer may ask you to expand on the modules you studied or what you learned during the training. If you list certifications on your CV, you should prepare your interview answers accordingly. You won't need to go into minute details about the training on the CV; however, you can expand on it.
How to list certifications and training courses on your CV
Now that you understand the importance of certifications on your CV, let's get practical about it. You must give a full qualification breakdown when listing your certificates in your Education section or a dedicated Professional Development section. Be sure to include the following elements:
Organisation name / awarding body
The year you achieved the certificate
The year that the qualification expires (if applicable)
Summary of the certification (optional)
The last part of the listing allows you to expand on the certification ins and outs. What modules did you cover in the qualification? What essays did you complete? Was the qualification completely online, or did you do on-site training?
Be as specific as you can here. Most CVs should be compact to one or two pages. If you're stuck for space, you can always remove the summary. Just figure out what works best for you.
Examples of how to list certifications on your CV
First, you need to know where to place the certifications. Typically, you should include your certifications as part of your Education section or within a dedicated Professional Development section. You could also include it in your Profile or Employment sections.
Mentioning your certificates in your CV profile is a swift way to catch a recruiter's eye. Since this is the first thing that a hiring manager will read, it's a good chance for you to set yourself apart from the crowd. This works particularly well if you're looking to change careers. Take a look at our example here:
AMA Professional Certified Marketer with 10+ years of experience in a mid-size agency. Previously worked on advertising campaigns for a national sportswear company, leading to a 31% increase in sales in the last quarter. Additional industry training in both Google Analytics and HubSpot.
Education or professional development example – complete certification
Should you choose to list your certificates in your Education or Professional Development sections, you can afford to go into more detail if necessary. You can use the same format for both in-person and online certifications. As mentioned, add a few lines about the course and what you learned. See our example for help:
Advanced Google Analytics, Google Analytics Academy, 2019
Building upon the standard Google Analytics qualification, this advanced course included data segmentation, custom reporting, dynamic remarketing, event tracking, and how to analyse data by audience or channel.
Education or professional development example – certification in progress
Don't think you can't include a certification just because you're in the middle of completing it. In fact, if you're in the process of gaining a certificate, you're more likely to give yourself a competitive edge, especially as a student. The format for listing your certificate is exactly the same, except for minor adaptations to show the skills you're working on:
IBM Full Stack Software Developer Professional Certificate (in progress)
Expected date of completion: June 2024
Actively refining both technical and practical skills through real-world projects, this certification reflects my commitment to excellence and adaptability to evolving industry standards. The anticipated completion in June 2024 signifies my dedication to becoming a proficient and skilled Software Developer as soon as possible, ready to meet industry demands.
Certification from a different industry
If you're changing careers, you may have certificates which seem irrelevant to your new career path. While you can leave these out, adding them can also be advantageous, showing prospective employers that you have a broad skill base. Here's an example of how to list a certificate from a different industry on your CV. We've written the summary in bullet points to demonstrate an alternative way to add an explainer:
PRINCE2 Foundation and Practitioner Certification, PRINCE2 Institute, May 2020
- Developed project planning, risk management, and team collaboration skills
- Demonstrated success in executing complex projects through PRINCE2's structured approach
- Proved meticulous attention to detail, emphasising precision in project management
- Acquired proficient decision-making skills and the ability to thrive in high-pressure environments
- Transferable skills showcase adaptability, making me well-suited for diverse professional settings
Employment section example
Did you complete your certificate while working for an employer? If your training was part of an existing role, you can choose to include it in your Employment section. Remember that you won't have the space to detail this qualification – you merely mention it. See our example for inspiration:
Marketing Executive, Agency Number Five
Sep 2017 – Mar 2020
- Completed Advanced Google Analytics training
- Delivered five campaigns from start to finish
- Oversaw the creation of content for new campaigns
- Managed a significant new product launch
There are other valuable certificates which you might find useful to mention, such as first aid or fire safety. If you're qualified to deal with medical emergencies in the workplace, this could be an extra selling point for prospective employers. Here's what it might look like on your CV:
First Aid at Work, St John's Ambulance, November 2023
Expiry date: November 2026
You must use everything in your arsenal to get hired when searching for a new job. This guide on “certifications on your CV: how to list them” should have given you the right starting point for this journey. Adding these qualifications to your application will give you a better chance of landing an interview. Get started now!
Ready to take your career to the next level? If you're looking for a new job, give yourself a competitive edge by having your CV reviewed by a professional. At TopCV, we take the hassle out of creating interview-winning CVs. This step could help you to get noticed by hiring managers, land interviews, and get hired.
This article was originally written by Charlotte Grainger and has been updated by Laura Slingo.