En Route: A Career Blog

The Professional Touch: Making the Most of Your Certifications & Licensures

AUTHOR: Darlene Zambruski
POSTED: July 8, 2008 at 6:06 am

by Darlene Zambruski, CPRW, SME

Every professional designation that is germane to your career goal should be listed and showcased at the very beginning of your resume. Providing hiring managers with visual cues as to your professional level quickly and effectively captures their attention.

Methods to Showcase Your Certifications and Licensure:

1. Include the licensure after your name in the resume heading (eg: CPA, MD, RN, JD, etc.)

2. Provide a separate section directly beneath the Qualifications Summary with details as to where you are licensed to practice law, medicine, sell real estate, etc.

3. Use company logos to indicate certification (eg: Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator, Oracle Certified Professional, etc.)

A Word About Providing Details of Your Certifications & Licensure

Because hiring managers expect specifics in applicant resumes, you should:

1. Include ending dates of certification, when applicable.

2. States or countries where the certification or licensure is in effect.

3. Whether continuing education is being met or has been met in order to retain certification.

A Word About Data Security

If you are planning to email your resume or post it to a website, it is advisable not to include any certification or license numbers. In the past, individuals have taken these numbers and sold them on the open market. Your best bet is to list the licensing agency and date on your resume with the note that your license or certification number will be provided during the interview process.

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

· Although I am an attorney, I don’t practice and am currently looking for work in the HR field. Should I still include those states where I’m licensed to practice law?

Yes. All industries have legal issues that must be addressed. In HR these might be employment law, union negotiations, and contracts (just to name a few). By indicating on your resume that you’re an attorney and licensed to practice in the states where your resume will be distributed could give you an advantage over less-qualified applicants.

· Since I’m targeting a job as an Oracle Database Administrator, should I exclude my Microsoft Certifications?

Certifications within a certain industry (in your case IT) indicate that you’re willing to remain current in your field and to excel. With new IT companies and products continually entering the market, your past history of certification (Oracle and Microsoft) will indicate to a hiring manager that you will be receptive to future certification, no matter the company. However, because Oracle Database Administration is your current goal, it should be showcased first.

· I’ve only passed two parts of the CPA exam so far, how do I include this on my resume?

You may include it in your Qualifications Summary, writing something like this:

“Seeking CPA certification; successfully passed two parts of the examination in January 2003.”
By adding the date the examination was passed or the date you expect to be certified indicates to a hiring manager that you are serious about obtaining this designation.

Darlene Z.

Darlene Zambruski is a resume writing expert and CPRW (Certified Professional Resume Writer) with more than 13 years of industry experience. She has authored 10,000+ resumes in every industry and at every career level.

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