Listing your qualifications on your CV.

If you decide to include a qualifications section on your CV, you’ll notice areas of overlap with the education section. The question might be: Which one should I include? Or, are both relevant? The answer really depends on your background and level of experience. Read on to find out more.

Where you can include your qualifications.

Qualifications section.

A dedicated section on your CV for qualifications can be useful. This will allow you to include qualifications gained in non-academic settings, such as:

  • Certifications awarded by previous employers for hard or soft skills: for example, company leadership programmes or fraud awareness.
  • Employer-sponsored training programmes and workshops are certified by external bodies, such as Emergency First Aid or Hygiene for Food Handlers.
  • Certifications for online programmes, whether employer-sponsored or undertaken on your own initiative.
  • Professional licences.
  • Memberships of industry associations and professional bodies, especially beyond entry-level.

The golden rule is to tailor your CV, so it relates directly to the position you’re applying for. Regardless of the impressive list of qualifications you may have amassed, only include them if they strengthen your case.

In your personal profile.

As this is near the top of your CV, mentioning your qualifications in your personal profile will let the reader know immediately how qualified you are for the position.

As your statement will typically be 50-80 words, it’s essential to weave the information into the narrative: 

  • “MBA in International Finance with seven years experience in...”
  • “Cornell University graduate in Hospitality Management...”
  • “With A-levels in Politics and Economics...”

In a sidebar.

If your qualifications are directly related to the position you’re applying for, you might want to highlight them in a sidebar on the first page. This way, they’ll be more likely to capture the attention of the recruiter, who will see that you have the hard skills required by the position you’re applying for.

Formatting your qualifications.

When formatting your qualifications on your CV, keep it clean and simple and ensure the following information is included.

  • Name of the qualification.
  • Level of the qualification.
  • Name of the issuing body.
  • The date on the certificate.

A word of caution.

Although your studies or attendance at institutes may have given you the knowledge and skills required for the position you’re applying for, you should only include them under ‘Qualifications’  if you are in possession of a certificate stating precisely what you are qualified in, with the date of issue. 

This may sound obvious, but if you are asked to provide evidence of your claims and can’t produce the certificate, this is, at best, unimpressive. Before listing anything as a qualification, make sure you have the credentials to hand.

Imagine getting close to receiving an offer, and when the recruiter asks to see your certificate copies, you don’t have them! If necessary, as part of your application process, contact the relevant providers to obtain copies.

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