Qualifications on your CV

Show recruiters you are equipped for the job
CV Template

Listing your qualifications on your CV is as easy as pie for some, and a complicated conundrum for others. It can be difficult to differentiate academic qualifications from other miscellaneous qualifications which should be separated in two different sections; Education and Qualifications.

Separating these qualifications makes it easier for recruiters to see your academic background and your extra curricular/additional courses and qualifications. It’s helpful to divide them accordingly and create two separate components which could contribute to making you a successful candidate. Many jobseekers have the same academic achievements, so demonstrating your additional qualifications to hiring managers proves your commitment and superior industry-specific knowledge.

You can list your additional academic qualifications and certificates under the education section of your CV. However, if you prefer, you can also list them separately in the qualifications section and save your education section for a standard GCSE, A level, college and university structure. It is recommendable to separate the two sections, though there are no set rules for writing a CV and you may choose whichever option suits your CV template best.

For school-leavers and graduate students, it is normal to have more academic qualifications than industry-related ones. Hence, it may be more suitable to list all qualifications under Education. However that said, many leave school or university with a variety of qualifications such as the DofE (Duke of Edinburgh) certificate or perhaps you achieved a high grade certificate in music or dance. In this case, list these qualifications and show hiring managers that you achieved extra-curricular certificates and qualifications while studying. This shows dedication and good time-management.

What is the qualifications section on a CV?

The qualifications section on a CV is a section dedicated to listing extra qualifications which suggest your levels of knowledge and training and can also be used to impress recruiters. This section helps hiring managers understand more about your knowledge and qualifications and is a way of showing them that you are equipped for the job.

This section of the CV format is also a form of demonstrating your interest and motivation to expand your expertise and knowledge in a specific area. This not only shows interest, but commitment as well. Recruiters want to know you are not just willing to do the job, but that you are interested in it and want to learn more.

Qualifications can range from industry-specific courses which boost your employability and prepare you for a specific job, to courses that aren’t relevant to a specific job and instead benefit all kinds of jobs. For example, first aid, customer service, fire safety, equality and diversity courses and conflict management. These qualifications benefit many jobs and are always interesting for hiring managers. Perhaps this saves the company time in training you or means that you are suitable for a different position.

All of these factors enhance employability and make your CV more powerful and unique.

Key qualifications to include on your CV

There are different types of qualifications that you can include on your CV. Qualifications which are linked directly to the industry in which you want to work and qualifications which include relevant qualifications which complement the job specification.

It’s important to orientate your CV around the types of job for which you are applying and to bear in mind that recruiters will be looking for qualifications which show you are prepared for the job.

You may also choose to include achievements and qualifications which you feel make you stand out from the rest. If you possess a qualification such as a foreign language or a noteworthy certification which may single you out, it is a good idea to list it. Recruiters can receive up to hundreds of CVs for just one job position, so standing out and catching their eye with a talent or skill is ideal.

Finally, other work-orientated qualifications which may not be directly relevant to the job specification, but instead, useful for the job in a different way, are worth including in the qualifications section of a CV. E.g. First aid course or fire safety.

Tips for writing a good qualifications section

Follow our top tips and make sure the qualifications section of your CV is perfectly written:

  • Make sure you separate the qualifications section from the education section in a clear manner. Academic background should be listed under Education, whereas other miscellaneous qualifications should be listed under Qualifications.
  • Make sure most of your qualifications are relevant to the job specification. This can mean distinctly relevant to the industry, or relevant in the work environment. For example, a yoga teaching training course is specific to an industry, whereas a first aid course can be applied to many (if not all) jobs, sectors and industries.
  • If you have a qualification that you are immensely proud of, or that you feel may impress hiring managers, include it! You want to grab their attention and this is a good way of doing so.
  • You can opt to use an online CV maker which has an automatic layout and structure pre-formatted. This saves you time and can be a helpful tool for writing other sections of your CV, too.

CV qualification examples

If you are struggling to visualise what kind of course or certificate can be classed as a qualification, here are some CV qualification examples:

  • First aid
  • Fire safety
  • British sign language
  • Conflict management
  • Photography
  • Site management
  • Advanced sales skills
  • Beauty therapy: salon management
  • Yoga teacher training
  • Hospitality & catering
  • Food hygiene

Last modified on 15 October 2020

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