certifications

I Studied for a Professional Certification But Haven't Passed Yet... Should I Include It On My Resume?

iStockphoto.com |  Olivier Le Moal

iStockphoto.com | Olivier Le Moal

Certifications can be a big deal. There are certifications for technical folks, the bar exam for attorneys, boards for doctors, even the PHR (Professional in Human Resources) for HR professionals.

If you've studied for a test, and haven't yet passed, should you include the classes you took to study for the exam on your resume?

I consulted with an individual who recruits human resources professionals for global firms. Here’s what he had to say on the matter:

"People that show they went to an HR certification class on their resume but don't have a PHR…It tells me that in almost all cases they took the test and failed. Not so impressive and maybe not even worth listing if you analyze things the way I do."

It’s a judgment call, but it can make sense to include these classes on your resume. Let’s say you studied for a certification and are scheduled to take the exam in two months. Listing the course on your resume shows forward progress.

If, on the other hand, you studied for the exam years ago, and either did not take or pass the certification test, then it’s probably a good idea to leave it off.

Of course, there are exceptions. Let's say there's a job for a procurement specialist who reviews contracts. A law school graduate who didn’t take or pass the bar examination might still be a highly qualified fit for such a role. And the accountant who never attained the CPA may be able to perform many of the duties within an accounting department while continuing to prepare for the test.


Scott Singer is the President and Founder of Insider Career Strategies Resume Writing & Career Coaching, a firm dedicated to guiding job seekers and companies through the job search and hiring process. Insider Career Strategies provides resume writing, LinkedIn profile development, and career coaching services, including a free resume review. You can email Scott Singer at scott.singer@insidercs.com, or via the website, www.insidercareerstrategies.com.

Jump Start Your Career With A Professional Certification

iStockphoto.com (  SvetaZi )

iStockphoto.com ( SvetaZi )

 

If you're looking to move forward in your career, a certification can be a quick and cost effective way to sharpen your skills, improve your market value, and get some additional letters to place after your name on your LinkedIn profile and business card.

According to the U.S. Department of labor's CareerOneStop, "A certification is a credential that you earn to show that you have specific skills or knowledge. They are usually tied to an occupation, technology, or industry. Certifications are usually offered by a professional organization or a company that specializes in a particular field or technology."

Depending on the credential, the certification process can range anywhere from detailed and tedious, to a brief online course and test. It's faster than pursuing an additional college degree, and can often be done online per your own schedule. So, if you're looking to elevate your game, consider pursuing a certification to round out or solidify your credentials. Depending upon your specific field, here some certifications from which to choose. This list is by no means exhaustive.

PROJECT MANAGEMENT
Project Management Professional (PMP): The leading certification for project managers. It's not easy to get, but it's highly valued.
Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM): Not as in-depth as the PMP, but also quite good.

HUMAN RESOURCES
Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) and Certified Professional (SHRM–CP): Designations denoting different levels of expertise as evaluated by the leading body in HR.
Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) and Professional in Human Resources (PHR): Different certifying body (HRCI), similar credentials to SHRM-SCP and SHRM-CP.

MARKETING
American Marketing Association Professional Certified Marketer (PCM): Specializations in Digital Marketing, Content Marketing, and Marketing Management.

ENGINEERING
Professional Engineer (PE): The National Society of Professional Engineers offers this designation to demonstrate a higher level of competency in the field.

QUALITY
Six Sigma: There's a ton of certifying bodies for Yellow Belt, Green Belt, and Black Belt certifications. Supply chain, logistics, engineering, and business professionals can leverage a Six Sigma qualification to demonstrate an ability to use a methodical approach to solve problems and improve quality.
ASQ Certification: More of quality discipline oriented credential granted by a governing body.

WRITING & EDITING
Poynter ACES Certificate in Editing: If you have any interest in working in writing or publishing, this can help you elevate your game. Editing and proofreading have their own language and best practices.

This list is just a sampling. The information technology field, for example, has certifications for tons of technologies, security protocols, and systems. Even we resume writers and career coaches have our own credentials. Go online and do some research. Chances are your chosen field has credentials which can help you more forward in your career!


Scott Singer is the President and Founder of Insider Career Strategies Resume Writing & Career Coaching, a firm dedicated to guiding job seekers and companies through the job search and hiring process. Insider Career Strategies provides resume writing, LinkedIn profile development, and career coaching services, including a free resume review. You can email Scott Singer at scott.singer@insidercs.com, or via the website, www.insidercs.com.

I Studied for a Professional Certification But Haven't Passed Yet... Should I Include It On My Résumé?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Certifications are a big deal. There are certifications for technical folks, the bar exam for attorneys, boards for doctors, even the PHR (Professional in Human Resources) for HR folks.

If you've studied for the tests, and haven't yet passed, should you include the classes you took on your résumé?

Like so much in life, it depends.

I'd like to quote here an individual who recruits folks in the HR arena:

"People that show they went to an HR certification class on their resume but don't have a PHR…It tells me that in almost all cases they took the test and failed. Not so impressive and maybe not even worth listing if you analyze things the way I do."

Recruiters and hiring managers often "read between the lines" on a résumé. And this is a perfect example.

In other words, if you don't tell something, people will assume.

If you have studied for a certification, and you're scheduled to take the exam in two months, make sure to include that on your résumé. It shows that the studies are a work in process.

If, on the other hand, you studied for the exam years ago, and either never took the test or didn't pass, then it might be a good idea to leave it off altogether.

Of course, there are exceptions to most rules. For example, let's say there's a job for a procurement specialist who reviews contracts. If you studied for the bar but opted not to become an attorney, this might still be a valuable skill set for such a role.

And sometimes, an individual can possess excellent accounting skills without having passed the CPA exam. They may be able to fill the requirements of a less demanding position while they try again to pass.

Know your job market, and then decide whether to include it on your résumé.

Scott Singer is the President and Founder of Insider Career Strategies Resume Writing & Career Coaching, a firm dedicated to guiding job seekers and companies through the job search and hiring process. He is a Human Resources professional and staffing expert with almost two decades of in-house corporate HR and staffing firm experience, and is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Certified Professional Career Coach (CPCC).

Insider Career Strategies provides resume writing, LinkedIn profile development, and career coaching services, including a free resume review. You can email Scott Singer at scott.singer@insidercs.com, or via the website, www.insidercs.com.