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How to Showcase Certifications on Your Resume and 3 Reasons Why You Should

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By: Olivia

February 20, 2017

In my recent post, ‘How to get TCP/IP Certified’ I offered some guidance on how you go about obtaining a certification on Cybrary. I first discussed the three general steps and then turned my focus to the TCP/IP Micro Certification specifically.It made logical sense to then consider what to do with your certification once you’ve earned them. Of course, you should add it to LinkedIn and include them on your resume.That got me thinking, though. Is there a best practice for showcasing certifications on your resume? My answer is yes.stand_outAfter reading the recently released State of Cyber Security 2017, which reports the results of the annual ISACA global cyber security survey, my yes became that much more definitive.“This report identifies that the key factors that enterprises consider when hiring individuals for cyber security positions are practical skill competency and certification attainment. Therefore, an appropriate hiring strategy that emphasizes performance-based certifications that require practical applicant cyber security skills is key to successfully filling open positions.”It is becoming clearer and clearer that certifications can be the make it or break it when it comes to hiring manager choosing between you and another candidate.

3 Reasons Why to Add Certifications to your Resume (As if you Needed More Reasons) Are:

  1. They can make for a better interview. Especially if your certification is unique, it invites conversation, but be prepared to answer. Some talking points would be- your motivation for getting certified, key takeaways from the course, what you can do now that would couldn’t before, and how your certification is applicable in your current or potential role.
  2. Certifications display a relevant set of skills. If you haven’t gotten the chance to put your new skills to use, focus on how you could use them in your new role. An outline of those reasons is a good place to start. Review key talking points and give yourself a refresher prior to the interview.
  3. Shows a motivated character and a dedication to learning. Exactly the type of qualities hiring managers are looking for. Skills are key of course, but emphasizing these traits can also go a long way.

Now, the Question Is, 'How do you Best Showcase Certifications on Your Resume?'

Certifications can, and should be included in your resume, on LinkedIn and in your cover letter. LinkedIn makes it especially easy by giving certifications a special section on your profile. But, when it comes to your resume and cover letter, there are a few things to consider.First, when considering location, take into account your experience. Are you still a student or are you a working professional? If you are still in the process of earning your degree, or do not have a formal education, skills may serve a more prominent place.As a practitioner, work experience should be listed before your certifications, although make no mistake, they deserve a mention that is noticeable at even a passing glance.It is in either case that you may want to consider giving certifications their own section on a resume, perhaps labeled ‘Professional Development’ or simply ‘Certifications.’A good rule of thumb is three or more certifications get a standalone area on a resume. In a cover letter, one crucial certification or many skills may warrant their own paragraph.Otherwise, a singular certification may fit well under the ‘Education’ section.The other factor to consider is the relevance of the certification.Are you applying for a Systems Administrator role? Your CompTIA A+ certification would be a highlight in that case, but your certification as a personal trainer may not need to be included at all.Tailor each resume and cover letter specific to the position, and in some cases, the company.If your certification has expired and you are not getting it renewed, do not include it on your CV. Certifications in progress can be labeled as such.resume2

The Way you List Certifications Matters, Too

Many experts say including the certifying body’s logo is unnecessary. Things that should be included are: The certification type, the certifying organization, and date earned. A standard date format would be month/ year or simply the year.If you’re curious whether or not to abbreviate, I say it’s best to list the full certification name and its acronym. For example, Certified Ethical Hacker should be written full form with (CEH) following, but no only listed as (CEH). It looks less impressive. Plus, this could your resume’s chances of being found in a database depending on what the manager searches.

How can my Employer Verify my Certification?

Every certifying body is different, but at Cybrary every Micro Certification comes with a unique number that can be entered and verified against the database. This helps to prevent against forgery of the Micro Certifications.Go to the Verify Cert page on Cybrary and enter in the number provided on the certification.

I Need More Help Formatting My Resume

Your resume should not be a stagnant list. Constantly update it to reflect new projects, experience and of course, certifications. Waiting for years to pass before giving you CV a boost will make for an extremely daunting task.In a competitive job market, it’s the little things that make the biggest difference and a technical career is no excuse for a poorly written resume.If you need help reformatting yours or starting fresh, my blog ‘Here’s How to Get Hired: 7 Resume Must Do’s for the IT Professional.’Upgrade your resume, and then your career.olivia2Olivia Lynch (@Cybrary_Olivia) is the Marketing Manager at Cybrary. Like many of you, she is just getting her toes wet in the field of cyber security. A firm believer that the pen is mightier than the sword, Olivia considers corny puns and an honest voice essential to any worthwhile blog. 
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