It's a given that your résumé should present your basic credentials, such as specific skills and work experience. However, you also can make your résumé stand out and potentially speed up your job search by adding any appropriate “micro-credentials” that show how you've augmented your skills over time, especially if you are an older worker.
What are micro-credentials?
Micro-credentials can include online or in-person educational courses, training programs, licenses and certifications that sometimes can even be added together toward earning an advanced degree.
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The following list of free micro-credential and certification courses might spur some thoughts of what would be appropriate in your current or desired career field.
- Marketing or Social Media Certification
- Supervision or Leadership Accreditation
- Advanced Google Analytics Course
- Google Ads Search Certification
One place you may find free courses that help you develop skills and earn micro-credentials is AARP Skills Builder for Work. This resource lets you to learn new marketable skills online at your own pace. Free courses currently include “Microsoft Office Fundamentals,” “Mastering Today’s Remote Work,” and “Personal Creativity for a Lifetime.” Additionally, AARP members can get valuable discounts on more than 300 other courses available through MindEdge Learning, which has partnered with AARP on the Skills Builder for Work resource.
A quick search of other options on the internet may help you find something that's right for your interests and experience. In addition, see if your company offers its own training and certification courses or if it will help pay for any you take from an outside source.
If you currently are hunting for a new job, pay attention to which credentials or certifications employers are seeking in the job postings that catch your eye. Then look for education providers — online services, community colleges, nonprofit organizations — that may offer free or affordable training for those micro-credentials.
How will micro-credentials help me?
It's possible that certain certifications will be required for specific situations, such as a major career change, a similar job with a new company, or even for a promotion to another position within your current organization.
During a job search, the right certification can help you stand out from other candidates as someone who wants to stay ahead of the curve by learning new skills or preparing for industry changes. What's more, the right certifications can give you an edge during salary negotiations, either in your current job or when fielding an offer for a new position.
In almost every situation, micro-credentials can enhance your personal brand and credibility, and they can often be a catalyst for networking with other professionals in your field.
Where do they belong on my résumé?
The general rule of thumb is to include your micro-credentials near the end of your résumé under the title “Education and Professional Development.” However, if you have a longer list of certifications/licenses/training programs, you can put them in their own section called “Professional Development” just under the “Education” area.
If any of your micro-credentials are pertinent for specific positions in your job search, you can also include them as part of your professional summary at the beginning of your résumé or create a quick bullet list just under the summary.
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