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How to List Courses and Certificates on a CV in 2024 (Guide with examples)

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How to List Courses and Certificates on a CV in 2024 (Guide with examples)

by CVMaker

  • CV
  • · February 08 2024
  • · 9 min read
Courses and certificates

Table of contents

Whether you are a starter or a seasoned professional, courses and certifications can hold immense value, providing tangible evidence of your specific expertise and skills. Although not always mandatory, incorporating them can demonstrate your competence and eagerness to learn, setting you apart from competitors in the eyes of recruiters.

In today's job market, professional training is often required. Tailoring your CV to job requirements is crucial due to applicant tracking systems (ATS) used by recruiters and hiring managers. These systems help recruiters identify and sort candidates based on experience, skills, and qualifications.

What are courses and certificates on a CV

Courses and certificates is an additional section that complements your other CV sections, such as skills or work experience. They refer to official documents awarded by accredited institutions, associations, or boards. Courses are a form of training which help you learn, grow, and develop new skills. On the other hand, a certificate is the authentication and validation of your skills or credentials. Completing courses and receiving certificates verifies your proficiency in a particular industry.

Factors to consider when choosing a CV courses or certifications:

  • Short-term or long-term

  • In-person or online courses

  • Accredited or unaccredited

  • One-on-one tutoring or learning centre (~12+ students)

  • Difficulty level: beginner, intermediate, advanced.

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How to add courses to a CV

To add courses to a CV, make sure to align them with your career goals while keeping in mind potential benefits and drawbacks. While it is generally preferable to have a separate section dedicated to courses on your CV, they can also be listed within the education section. Focus on recent and relevant courses that align with your job description, and exclude short-term courses if possible. Be cautious about including outdated courses that may raise questions from recruiters. Keep course descriptions concise, typically one to two lines, unless there are notable achievements like awards or specific skills acquired. Avoid using long titles or subtitles as it may confuse the reader or can even come across as unprofessional.

Below is an example of how you could list a course in chronological order, starting with your most recent job and working your way backwards.

Structure:

Course name, Issuer, Issued date (date of completion/in progress)

Example:

Agile and Scrum basic training, Agile Scrum Group, 2022

Platform App Builder, TrainHead, 2021

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Pro Tip

Consider removing courses or certificates if it is outdated. This information might become redundant and irrelevant for a recruiter reading your application documents.

Must-have

  • Course name

  • Issued by

  • Issued date (date of completion or in progress).

Example

Fundamentals of Digital Marketing, Google Digital Garage, 2022

Optional

  • Duration

  • Location (online/specific location)

  • Description or modules

  • Types of examination, activities, or projects

  • Results or key learnings or achievements.

Example

Fundamentals of Digital Marketing, Google Digital Garage, 2022

  • Relevant topics: data analytics, business strategy, digital marketing (content display, email, local, social media, video, SEM, SEO), and web optimisation

  • Completed 26 modules (40 hours)

  • Final exam grade of 38/40.

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Pro Tip

When adding relevant courses on a CV, we advise excluding high school certificates/diplomas unless you are starting out your career or only have a secondary education. For universities or research jobs, it is more beneficial to include degrees/diplomas.

Types of qualifications

The main types include degree courses, diploma courses, certification, and professional training. While degree and diploma courses are more relevant for higher education positions, professional training and job-oriented courses are more common for regular job applications.

Remember that our format and must-have sections are not set in stone. The order, length, and content depend on your writing strategy and the free space you have left. Prioritise industry knowledge over academic knowledge for corporate positions. See our examples below to see more training courses in a CV. See four types of courses to include on your CV below.

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Pro Tip

As with everything on a CV, you will most likely be asked questions, so avoid including invalid or untrue credentials and statements that could negatively affect your application.

Degree courses

This refers to any classes taken at a recognised tertiary institution (university, college). Unlike certificates or professional training, it is better to place them under the education section. Degree courses apply to students, recent graduates, or people with little to no experience.

Example

Bachelor of Arts in Business Management, University of Bristol, 2018-2021

  • Relevant courses: Global Business Environment, Markets and Marketing, Accounting and Finance for Managers, Management Consultancy, Social Entrepreneurship.

Diploma courses 

This focuses on practical skills and technical capabilities. An educational institution awards a student with a diploma for passing the course examination. On average, they are short-term and take up to two years to complete.

Example

GCSEs, Westminster School, 2020-2022

  • Relevant courses: Mathematics (8), English (9), Business Studies (8), Design and Technology (9).

Certifications

These are designated credentials which verify the legitimacy and competence to perform a specific job. An individual or organisation earns them by taking an exam or test. You can think of it as a written assurance or proof that a person meets specific requirements and, thus, is qualified for a job position. Credentials vary in content, length, cost, and type of assessment.

Example

Strategic management, edX, 2019

  • Relevant topics: corporate strategy, strategic alliances, collaborative networks, business ethics, and social responsibility.

Professional training 

This section showcases relevant training courses in a CV, enabling employees to perform job duties optimally. It is usually an employer-provided program that can be obtained in-house or externally. Unlike degree or diploma courses, professional training and certificates are more practical and can be added as a separate section on a CV. Keep in mind that adding a photo to a CV in the UK job market is prohibited. For more details, read the article on how to add a photo to your CV.

Example

Certified HR Advisor professional training, The Knowledge Academy, 2023-Present

  • Two-day on-job training.

  • Enhanced knowledge of HR essentials by studying employment law, recruitment processes, administration, and HR policies.

Benefits of adding CV courses and certifications

Courses and certificates on a CV support your main sections by providing insight into your personality, work ethic, and capabilities. Think about how you want to display your additional achievements and choose the right CV template. Keep in mind that it is only worth adding if they enrich your CV and increase your chances of landing a job interview.

  • Serves as an additional boost or verification, making you an expert in a specific subject or field.

  • Shows your interest or passion for learning a new profession or skill set.

  • Displays your dedication to taking the time to do your research while showcasing why you are the right person for the job.

  • Provides more insight into your personality and motivation. As such, it will mention potential talking points that might come up in an interview.

  • Advantageous for candidates with little-to-no work experience or if you’re changing careers, it showcases your willingness to learn.

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Examples of CV courses and certifications

We realise that adding courses and certificates to a CV can be a tedious process. That's why our experts at CVMaker have designed CV examples to guide you. This section features multiple examples while taking into consideration the different naming conventions and ways of displaying this information.

Student CV

Master of Arts in Strategic Communications, King’s College London, 2021-2022

  • Relevant courses: Strategic Communications (SC): Theory and Concepts, Applied SC, Audience and Population Behaviour and Influence, Introduction to Macroeconomics, Management Accounting, Statistics for Economists, Organisational Behaviour. Dissertation:  Brand Awareness and Integral Communications.

Bachelor of Science in Marketing, Bristol University, 2018-2021

  • Relevant courses: Markets and Marketing, Communications,  Issues in Consumer Marketing and Innovation, Project Management, Digital Marketing, Brands and Cultural Strategy, Consumption and Consumer Behaviour.

For more information, please see the student CV article.

Human Resources CV courses and certificates 

  • Behavioural Interviewing Certification, KeenAllignment, 2020

  • General Industry Safety and Health Training, Occupational Safety and Health Center, 2019

See the HR CV article for more inspiration.

Support Worker CV courses and certificates

  • First Aid (Level 2), Pro training Certificate, 2020

  • Care certificate, NHS, 2020

To find out more, please refer to the support worker CV article.

Waiter/Waitress CV courses and certificates

  • Food safety credential, Certified Professional-Food Safety, 2022

  • Restaurant Waiter Training, Udemy, 2021

For further details, please see the waiter/waitress CV article.

Administrative Assistant CV

  • MBA Essentials, London School Of Economics (CPD-certified), 2021

  • CPD: Executive PA, 2019

To learn more, please see the administrator article.

Sales Manager CV courses and certificates

  • Sales Management Training, Hubspot Academy, 2020

  • Sales Management Online Course, Great Learning, 2019

For further guidance, refer to the sales article.

Nurse Support Worker CV courses and certificates

  • Trauma-Informed Care CEU course, Nurse.com, 2021

  • Nursing Professional Development Certification (NPDC-BC), ANCC, 2022

For more guidance, visit the nurse CV article

Developer CV courses and certificates

  • Data Analytics, Google Academy, 2021

  • Data Structures and Algorithms: Deep Dive Using Java, Udemy, August 1, 2021

For more information, read the developer CV article.

Project Manager CV courses and certificates

  • Agile PM 301, Agile Project Management Academy, 2022

  • Scrum: the Basics, LinkedIn Learning, 2021

To learn more, please check out the project manager CV article.

Marketing CV courses and certificates

  • Google Analytics certificate, Google Academy, 2021

  • Email marketing certificate. Hubspot Academy, 2020

To find out more, please see the marketing article.

French and English CV courses and certificates

  • English B2 (score 8/9), IELTS, 2022

  • French B1 (score 93/100), DALF, 2021

  • German C1 (score 80/100), DSH, 2020

To learn more, read the articles on how to add languages on a CV and how to write French CV.

Examples of online courses to boost your CV

Select those that would boost your CV with relevant skills and knowledge. Examples of platforms with online free courses to boost your CV:

Examples of IT courses and certifications

Key takeaways

Whether you’re on the lookout to acquire new skills or boost your chances of landing your dream job, upskilling is a must. See additional tips on how to make your certificates and courses stand out and what to avoid.

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DOs

  • Keep it brief, persuasive, and concise.

  • Place them in descending chronological order, starting from the most recent.

  • Include core information (see the must-have and optional sections above).

  • Use certified courses from recognised and established institutions.

  • Include keywords from the job post to identify and match key ATS criteria.

  • Craft your job-specific CV first and then include appropriate certificates.

Close

DON'Ts

  • Write lengthy course descriptions.

  • Use outdated courses and certificates.

  • Include irrelevant or generic courses.

  • Use unrecognised or unofficial courses.

  • Place courses in random order.

  • Exaggerate or lie about your certifications.

  • Include a long list of courses and certificates that are irrelevant.

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FAQ

How to include short courses in a CV?

When including short courses in your CV, place them within ‘Relevant courses’ in education or in a separate section called ‘Courses and certificates’ or ‘Professional training’. Use a reverse chronological order,  listing the most recent ones first. List the course name, name of the institution, and dates. If the course is too short, consider removing the duration and include a year of completion.

Can you insert courses you're currently attending?

Yes, you can include the courses you’re currently attending. It can go either under the ‘Additional experience’ or ‘Professional training’ section. If it is an academic course, place it in the education section and relevant courses in the bullet list. For the date, just say ‘In progress’ or indicate the expected date of completion. Remember to add an official course name and provider as stated on the website.

Focus on courses that matter and could have a lasting impact on your application. That would showcase that you’re a swift learner and have relevant expertise.

Should you put in complete university courses in a CV?

There is no harm in mentioning an incomplete degree or courses on your CV. If you’re still a student, include the expected date of graduation instead so employers know when you are able to start working full-time. Avoid saying ‘incomplete’ at the end of your degree, as it can backfire on your chances of success. When deciding whether to include them, rather think of the following questions:

  • Do the university courses align with the job description?

  • Would excluding an unfinished course leave an employment gap on your CV?

  • Would your academic degree or course be useful in the industry or job you’re applying for?

What are the easy certifications to add to your CV?

Adding certifications to a CV can give you a competitive advantage, help you gain credibility, and increase your chances of landing a job interview. When deciding on a certificate, ensure to research specific job requirements and opt for recognised and reputable providers. See examples of easy certifications to add to a CV below:

For more training options, check out the National Careers Service course finder in the UK.

What are the different naming conventions for courses and certifications on a CV?

In the UK job market, there are various naming conventions for courses and certifications on a CV. Note that these section headings can be combined in different variations. Using these headings can help you organise your CV in a more clear fashion, making it easier for recruiters to navigate through your CV. Below are the commonly used naming conventions:

  • Licence

  • Credentials

  • Courses

  • Certificates

  • Certification

  • Professional training

  • Professional development

How to put training courses on a CV?

To add training courses to a CV, you need to include the essential information and choose the right placement for it. See the following steps to help you guide yourself through the process:

  • Select courses relevant to your job description.

  • Add them within education or create a section called ‘Courses and certificates’.

  • List the course name(s).

  • Include the institution or course provider.

  • Specify the duration or (expected) date of completion.

  • Additionally, include key learnings or achievements in bullet points.

Should you include academic courses on a CV?

Contrary to a common misconception, diplomas or university degrees are not the only forms of education you can include on your CV. In fact, relevant courses often serve as stronger selling points than general education. These courses offer in-depth and focused training, providing specialisation in a specific field.

How to include online courses on a CV

Depending on your career goals and job target, you can incorporate online courses either within the education section of your CV or create a separate section called ‘courses and certificates’. List course name, provider, and completion date.

Below are a few tips on how to list online courses on your CV

  1. Look up the job description of your target job

  2. Add relevant courses

  3. List the courses as they appear on the website

  4. Add the dates and course length

  5. Mention key learnings in bullet points (optional)

How to get a certificate?

To obtain a certification, you typically need to meet specific job criteria, pay a fee, or pass an assessment test. The more challenging certification is to acquire, the more advantageous it can be in setting you apart from other candidates for a job.

Certifications demonstrate your possession of specific skills or a certain level of technical proficiency. They showcase initiative and willingness to stay up to date. Including them will make you recognised for what you do and can help advance your career.

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Updated February 08 2024

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