Certifications and Licenses on a Resume: Tips & Samples

Help employers gain a greater picture of your qualifications May 21, 2020 · 5 min read

Adding the certifications you’ve achieved on your resume is a great way to grab the attention of a hiring manager.

Having a certificate to prove your skills shows that your application is relevant and you’ll definitely add value to the company.

Consider this…

  • Earning additional certifications and qualifications proves that you’re committed and passionate about the role you want; you’ve used your own time to study. You’re also giving solid evidence of the capabilities you’re showing in your work experience. Even if they are not required, they show that you’re more suitable for the job than someone without.
  • For some roles, having professional licenses are mandatory. If the job description mentions licenses that you have, be sure you include them.

There are times that an employer will demand that any potential candidate must have certain certifications to be able to apply.

It’s still very much worthwhile to include your certifications even if they’re not specifically mentioned in the job requirements.

They’re valuable to show exactly how much knowledge and commitment you have to your industry, and they’re really useful if you’ve not got direct work experience in your field yet.

Another plus point of having certificates in your field is that your future employer can see the time and money you’ve already invested in your development.

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It’s important to clarify, what are certifications and licenses on a resume?

A certification is a credential that you earn to show that you have specific skills or knowledge. It is usually offered by a professional organization or a company that specializes in a particular field or technology.

A license is an official document that gives you permission to do, use or own something.

As a taster of the type of certifications & licenses you can include on your resume, check these out:

  • Skills-based, vocational, academic, or technical certificates like a Master’s degree or additional courses you’ve attended
  • Licenses and certifications from recognized and authorized societies, organizations, and universities, etc
  • Jobs like teaching, nursing, driving, project management, food preparation, accounting, and languages usually expect you to have particular certifications

Pretty much every industry you want to work in will have certifications that you can earn to add to your resume.

How to create licenses and certification section on SweetCV resume builderHere is a little tip for creating licenses and certification section on SweetCV resume builder.

No matter if you’re applying for a fast-food restaurant or to be a CEO of a multinational, having certifications on your resume will prove the knowledge and skills that you have.

There are some certifications that most people will have heard of, for their industry at least. Some examples are:

  • CompTIA A+ is a certification that’s hard-earned by those in the information technology sector.
  • NCLEX-RN is offered to registered nurses and nurse practitioners by each state’s Board of Nursing
  • PHR is awarded to people who have mastered the personal and technical aspects of human resources management and comes from the HR Certification Institute
  • PMP stands for Project Management Certification and is to recognize people who have provided excellent work and demonstrated commitment to the industry

There are loads of things that can go into your certifications and licenses details, or that you can work towards.

The next thing you’re probably asking is, where to mention certification in a resume and how do I present my licenses?

It’s perfectly fine to collect all your certifications and licenses in one section.

The information you need to include is:

  • The full name of the certification and the official abbreviation in parentheses, if there is one
  • The awarding organization
  • When you earned the certification
  • For certifications you’re working on at the moment include the date you expect to qualify
  • Details about the skill the certification recognizes
  • An expiry date if your certification or license will need to be renewed

For state-level certifications, like bar associations or nursing boards, be sure that you add the state or location that certified you.

A general rule of thumb is to list your certifications in reverse chronological order.

Some examples for you:

Bookkeeper Certification, New York
American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers (AIPB)
Issued: Sept. 2017, Expires: May 2019
Relevant Skills: AIPB, NACPB, Quickbooks
First Aid Certification, Chicago
American Red Cross
Issued: May 2016, Expires: May 2020
Relevant Skills: CPR
Digital Media Journalism Certificate, Seattle
University of Seattle
Issued: March 2019, Expires: Sept. 2021
Relevant Skills: Google Ads, WordPress, Social Media Monitoring
HTML Web Developer Certificate, Boston
Web Development Online Academy
Issued: Apr. 2017, Expires: Apr. 2019
Relevant Skills: HTML/CSS

Take note…

Attending a course or a training session isn’t the same as being certified.

A lot of training programs can result in an actual certification, but it’s not a given.

The key is to ensure the program isn’t just a class, but you walk away from your training or classes with a certificate from an industry-recognized body or authority.

To keep your resume on track, check through the job listing again and check what they expect in terms of certifications and licenses.

Keep things relevant and don’t miss anything that’s necessary or recommended in the job description.