Have you earned professional credentials that are well known, respected in your field, and relevant to the job you want? Resume credentials (what to share and where) confuse many people.
What Are Credentials?
Credentials include certifications, graduate degrees, and professional licenses. (If I skipped any category of credentials, please share it in the comments below.)
Be sure to put your credentials right after your name at the top of your resume (see an example here).
Why? Four reasons:
1. If employers list your credential as a must have, or a nice to have, in the position description, you want the reader to see it right away.
2. When the reader knows you have a credential relevant to the position they are recruiting for, they are more likely to read your entire resume and read it carefully.
3. When the reader knows you have earned a relevant credential, you set up a positive expectancy. They read the rest of your resume expecting to find other qualifications they want. Your credential subtly says, “I’m a player.”
4. If you don’t put the credential at the top of your resume, you will likely put it at the bottom of your resume along with your education. If your reader doesn’t go past the jump, they won’t ever see it.
Here are some examples of how you might present your credential(s) at the top of your resume:
- Joy Garcia, MD, MBA
- Bailing Kee, CPA/MBA
- Anita Gupta, PhD
- Mike Murphy, MSOD
- Edima Adundo, AIA
Three More Thoughts
Two Resume Credentials at the Top — Maximum
You might have noticed that I show, at most, two credentials following a candidate’s name. Don’t make your resume header an alphabet soup.
If you have more than two credentials that are relevant to the position, pick the two most relevant to follow your name.
List the rest in the Education or Credentials section at the bottom of your resume.
Alphabet soup can convey a greater interest in training than in performance. Don’t go there.
(Note: My last comment is culturally specific. I write from a U.S. perspective. If you work in a culture that places a high value on credentials, have at it!)
You might have noticed my
repeated italics gentle emphasis on relevance.
If you have a credential that isn’t relevant to the position at hand, don’t blast it at your reader.
Even better, delete it.
Match Your LinkedIn Profile
Use the same credentials on your resume that you feature on your LinkedIn profile (more here).
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Image: Fotolia/Mikkel Bigandt
Updated October 2018
© 2010 – 2019, Donna Svei. All rights reserved.
Donna Svei, an executive resume writer and former C-level executive, retained search consultant, and CPA, writes all of AvidCareerist’s posts. She has written for and been quoted by leading business, general, and career media outlets, including Forbes, Mashable, Fast Company, Entrepreneur, Lifehacker, Ask.com, Social Media Today, IT World, Smart Brief, Payscale, Business News Daily, and the Muse. Let her background and experience inform your job search strategy and decision making.