Listing Courses and Certificates on Your Résumé



Listing work experience is not the only way to create a résumé that speaks to your strengths and abilities! Sometimes, the academic courses you have taken build skills that you are able to use in a professional setting.

For instance, consider the scenario in which you might be applying for a research role in a social science setting. The job description lists the requirement to “possess some research experience.” How are you supposed to gain experience if every entry-level role requires some experience?

Fortunately, the skills you learn in your classes count in proving your candidacy. Below is a refresher on how to list your classwork on your résumé.

In principle, as with all items you list on a résumé, your writing should reflect the skills you learned and used while being specific on how you used them. Take a look at the résumé excerpt below:

These listed courses demonstrate that this student has experience working in academic group projects and has experience creating research projects and presenting them. If an employer listed these skills and qualities on their résumé, they would be thrilled to see these course listings. Furthermore, the employer is made aware of this student’s research skills as well as in which settings these skills were used. If this student just listed “Conducted research” not only would that description be unconvincing, it does not highlight this student’s field of expertise nor the public speaking experience they have gained as well.

Generally speaking, you could name a specific skill you used in a specific role as well as the context in which you used it. Below is a little formula that may help:

  • [Skill used] + [How did I use this skill?]

Extra tip: Make sure that each of your bullet points highlight only one skill at a time.

  • I led meetings at this job

    Can be expanded to highlight all the various skills used in this task like so:

  • Identified the organization’s need of regular meetings and created a proposal to incorporate weekly meetings
  • Maintained effective communication methods to capture department needs to create detailed meeting agendas
  • Captured proposed solutions to meeting items to create reports of actionable steps for the week

Lastly, you are not limited to listing courses you have taken at Grinnell College. You may also choose to list online courses you have taken at other organizations and institutions—as well as any certifications you have amassed. You might take such a course if you are seeking a specialized skill that is not taught in an accessible course. Read more about online courses and certificates HERE. Using the same principles I mentioned above, we might choose to create a listing as follows:

Courses attended

Getting Started with Python                                                                                                                 Winter 2022

LinkedIN Learning                                                                                                                                  Online course

  • Learned how to code in Python for building an application
  • Learned basic Python data types and functions
  • Constructed a Python program that collects data from .xslx documents

Coding for Everyone: C and C++ Specialization                                                                                 Winter 2022

Coursera                                                                                                                                                 Online course

  • Learned how to write and debug code in C and C++ through applied learning projects
  • Learned how to understand algorithms
  • Gained a strong familiarity with the standard template library

Usually, online certifications and courses will list learning outcomes in their descriptions. It is entirely appropriate to use the language of the course listing to describe your learning experience.

Use this guide to represent your academic experiences and achievements in your job applications. The work you put in to learning academic skills is commendable and valuable. List specific details and skills that make this case to your potential employers.

Do you have questions or comments? Could I have done something better? Please email me at grigorovs@grinnell.edu with any feedback.

By Sasha Grigorovich
Sasha Grigorovich Exploratory Adviser