How to List Certifications on Your Resume: Guide + Examples

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Achieve your career goals with the help of certifications. Find out how to include them on your resume today.

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A Professional Certificate on your resume emphasizes to potential employers the work you have done to acquire in-demand skills. Highlighting your certifications on your resume can be an excellent way to demonstrate how prepared you are for your next job. 

In this article, you’ll learn how to put certifications on your resume, where they should go on your application materials, and why you might consider getting certifications or professional certificates to meet your career goals. 

Resume certifications: Impact and when to use them

Your certifications can significantly impact your job search. This section will show you the tangible benefits of having a certification on your resume and when to highlight them.


Impact of certifications on your resume

Certification can potentially increase your pay and improve your employment chances. It documents your proficiency in a specified field, and employers are aware of the time commitment and challenges involved in completing a certification program.

According to Global Knowledge, a professional holding a certification can earn approximately 7 per cent more than their non-certified counterparts [1]. For IT professionals, certification can increase their salary by as much as USD 13,000 [2]. 

When to highlight certifications on your resume  

You have many good reasons to include a certification on your resume. However, depending on the job, not all certifications should be on the resume you send a potential employer. 

Some of the most common reasons to include a certification on your resume are:   

1. The job requires it. 

If the job you’re applying for requires a specific certification, you should include it on your resume if you have earned it. To find out if an employer only wants applicants with a specific certification carefully read the job description for any requirements. 

2. It’s relevant to the job. 

If you possess a certification that a job doesn’t require but that’s relevant to the position, you should include it on your resume. 

That said, only include certifications and licenses that relate to the job. Including irrelevant qualifications could obscure those related to the position and unnecessarily clutter your resume. 

3. You lack relevant work experience. 

If you’re applying for a job or within an industry without prior experience, then a relevant certification can help emphasize your preparedness for the role. This strategy benefits career switchers and those just entering the job market. 

4. It’s an achievement.

If the certification is a rare achievement in your industry, putting it on your resume can draw attention to your dedication to the field and any special training you have completed. Typically, this scenario only applies to those with many years of industry experience.

How to list certifications on your resume

The format of listing a certification on your resume is relatively straightforward. Generally, there are five essential parts to listing a certification on your resume. They are:

1. Title: The official name of the certification

2. Awarding institution: The name of the professional or educational organization through which you acquired your certification or license 

3. The date it was awarded: The date you completed the requirements to achieve the certification. If the certification is in progress, simply put “In progress.”

4. The certification’s expiration date: The date the certification is no longer recognized. Many awarding institutions offer the opportunity to extend your certification through additional training. 

5. Relevant skills: The skills you honed and acquired through the certification program. The skills you emphasize should be those relevant to the position you are applying to.

Example and template

The five parts are laid out in the template and example below. When listing relevant certifications or licenses, order them in reverse chronological order, with the most recent ahead of the oldest. 

Certification nameCPR certification
Awarding institution, DateCanadian Red Cross, February 2024
Expires: DateExpires: February 2026
Relevant skills: Skills listRelevant skills: AED, CPR

Where to put certifications on resume

You can put your certifications in several places on your resume. In this section, you’ll learn the most common—and strategic—places on your resume and job application to put your certifications. 

1. In a “Certifications and Licenses” section

First, you should highlight your certificates in a dedicated certification section on your resume. 

Depending on how it is formatted, you can add this section under the “education” or “skills” section of your resume. A common name for this section is “certifications and licenses,” but you can also simply call it “certifications” or “licenses,” depending on the qualifications you possess. 

In this section, only add certifications and licenses relevant to the position so hiring managers can easily find them. While you might possess numerous qualifications from various fields, the most important certifications are those relevant to the job. This may require tailoring your resume for each job application.

2. Alongside your name

Some certifications and licenses include a common abbreviation well-accepted and understood in a professional community, such as CCRN for “Critical Care Registered Nurse” in the health care profession. If your certification falls under this category, it’s wise to add the abbreviation next to your name in the contact information section of your resume. This allows hiring managers to see the relevant certifications you possess quickly. 


Jane Doe, CCRN, RN

m: (555) 555-5555

E: j.doe@nurses.doe

3. In your resume summary

In the professional summary section of your resume, it’s helpful to include relevant certifications to re-emphasize your credentials. This not only helps hiring managers to see you possess the required training for the job, but it also helps automated systems that scan your resume to identify you as someone with the required qualifications.


“CCRN certified nurse with 6+ years of professional experience supporting hospital administration and critically ill patients in ICU and critical care transport.”

4. In your cover letter 

The final place in your job application where you should reference your certifications and licenses is on your cover letter. This can be an excellent way to flag your credentials immediately and expand on how you have employed those skills professionally. At the same time, it can help your resume more easily match with automated systems that scan resumes for specific keywords. 


“As a CCRN certified nurse, I have over six years experience working alongside administrators and other health care providers in intensive care units to ensure critically ill patients get the help they need…” 

Add Coursera Professional Certificates to your resume. 

A relevant certification can improve your job prospects. Consider taking a Coursera course to help you prepare for specific certification exams, such as Preparing for Google Cloud Certification: Cloud Architect Professional Certificate or Preparing for Google Cloud Certification: Machine Learning Engineer Professional Certificate.

As you consider your next big career shift, consider obtaining a Professional Certificate on Coursera. Offered by world-class partners like Google, IBM, and Meta, Coursera’s flexible, online Professional Certificates can help you get job-ready for such in-demand careers as project manager or data analyst.

Article sources


Global Knowledge. "It's No Longer Good Enough for IT Professionals to Just "Know Computers,"” Accessed May 8, 2024.

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