Degrees and diplomas are great, but they’re hardly the only education you’ll ever get that you can apply to your job. How can you show off that forklift certification, employment law seminar, online marketing course or other microlearning without cluttering up your résumé? And how can you be sure you’re including the right information that will showcase your extra effort and give you an edge over other candidates?
To find out how to properly showcase these microlearning courses and certificates on your résumé, we reached out to Dawn Roberts, a career and efficiency coach in Houston. Here are her tips for showing off your additional skills.
Your résumé should already have a section where you include formal education that earned you a diploma or degree. Depending on your level of education and work experience, this may include graduate degrees, bachelor’s or associate degrees, or possibly your high-school information. This is not the place to include your microlearning courses and certificates; those will just clutter up your résumé and distract from your formal education if they’re all bundled together. Instead, Roberts recommends a “Certifications and Training” section.
Keep this section brief, highlighting the most relevant items. “Unless you don’t have any work experience for the bigger portion of your résumé, do not make this section lengthy,” Roberts says. She recommends a quarter of the page or less, while keeping the meat of your résumé focused on career experience.
For each certification, include the certifying authority, the state and the license number, if applicable. There’s no need to list every course you took to obtain the certification, Roberts says. For training courses, Roberts recommends combining similar courses into one line, and only including the course title.
Make sure you’re listing classes that are connected to the job you’re seeking, Roberts says. CPR training, while worthwhile and valuable, is not going to impress anyone hiring an accountant, but someone hiring a paramedic will be much more concerned with your lifesaving and CPR skills than your proficiency with QuickBooks.
“Some may think it makes them look well-rounded, but it actually makes you look unprofessional,” she says. It may seem like you’re trying to pad your résumé because you don’t have enough training. An exception to this that Roberts recommends is “if you are just starting out fresh from high school, and you have zero experience to highlight elsewhere.”
Your résumé is valuable real estate, and there’s no room for information that’s out of date. Keep any certifications and courses you list within a reasonable time frame — which can mean different periods for different industries or circumstances.
Don’t include expired certifications or those for technology, tools or processes that are obsolete.
Similarly, it’s a waste of space and outdated to include several courses of the same type, Roberts says. “If you’ve completed several levels of courses to get a certain title, only list the title,” she says. There’s no need to list your beginning, intermediate and advanced project management classes if you completed them all and became a certified project manager. Just include the title or most recent course if you’re still in the process of becoming certified.
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