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Today’s job market is fiercer than ever before. Consequently, job seekers are doing everything they can to gain the extra edge – from getting advanced degrees to gaining certifications to developing multiple soft skills. 

In the last two decades, the wide adoption of the internet has made obtaining certifications easier. But a pivotal question persists: What values do these certifications add to applicants? Does including them on your resume improve your chances of getting a job? In this post, we’re going to explore the subtleties of these issues. 

What are Certifications?

Certifications are designated credentials you earn to verify your legitimacy and competence to perform a job. Certifications are simply documents showing that you’ve been trained or educated in a particular niche and verifying you’re well-suited to meet a specific set of criteria for the role. 

  • Certifications vs. Licensure

Professional organizations or educational institutions administer professional certifications. If a specific credentialing is required before you can legally practice your job, then it’s referred to as licensure. Without licenses for specific roles, you cannot do the job. 

  • Necessary vs. unnecessary certifications

As we’ve examined, licenses are, by definition, necessary. If you’re applying to become a truck driver, you must have your Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). Similarly, an entry-level nurse must pass the NCLEX exam, just as an accountant must obtain a CPA certification. Without this, you won’t be able to work in that job. 

On the other hand, some certifications are not necessary but may help make your application more attractive. For example, if you’re a web designer applying for a senior design role at a top firm, you may try to obtain your HTML Developer Certificate. Although it’s not necessary, it can make you a more viable candidate. 

Certifications are Not Created Equal

Before we delve into how certifications can make a difference in your resume, it’s important to note that all certifications are not created equal. For instance, certifications with little or no relevance to the role you’re applying for bear lesser weight than ones with greater relevance. 

Similarly, the effort you put into obtaining the certificate, as well as its source affects its value. For instance, a certificate that you obtain by paying and doing a few days of lectures will weigh less than one with a more rigorous process. Similarly, a certificate from a well-known establishment – like a top university – will be held in higher esteem than one from a lesser-known community college. 

Certifications on Resume

So, if you have certifications that are necessary, relevant, or highly valued, then do well to include them on your resume. These kinds of certificates can be the difference between getting called for an interview or getting rejected on the spot. In this section, we’re going to examine how including your certifications on your resume can make a difference. 

Favorable for Applicant Tracking System (ATS)

More and more employers are adopting ATS because it enables them to electronically handle recruitment and hiring needs. ATS systems are particularly used to filter out applications based on keywords. Consequently, about 75% of resumes are rejected by ATS systems. 

Including relevant certifications is a great way to include more keywords related to the role. Moreover, certifications speak to hard skills. As an ATS scans your resume, it can easily pick up on relevant info on your resume. This, in turn, increases the likelihood of your resume passing an ATS scan.  

Competitive Advantage

When you pursue certifications in your field, it gives you a nudge over those that may not have it. This, in turn, can make you stand out either for employment or promotion. Every industry has certifications that are relevant to them. Let’s quickly explore just some of them:

Human Resources Certifications

  • PHR
  • SPHR
  • SHRM

Sales Certifications

  • Challenger Sales
  • Sandler training
  • Spin Selling

Help Desk/Desktop Analyst Certifications 

  • A+ 
  • Network+

Network Certifications

  • CCNA
  • CCNO
  • CCIE

Software Certifications

  • Salesforce
  • Hubspot’s Inbound Certification
  • Google Certifications – Analytics, Publisher, AdWords, etc. 

When HR professionals see these kinds of relevant certifications on your resume, they’re more inclined to move you to the next stage of the recruiting process. 


By starting your career with professional certifications under your belt, it shows employers that you’re already ahead. The exclusive training, extra training, and advanced knowledge gained indicate to employers that you will require less training and even be more trainable than other recruits. From the employer’s perspective, hiring you becomes more efficient as it saves them money and valuable resources. 

By stating your relevant certifications on your resume, you are indicating to recruiters that you have the potential to maximize their efficiency and effectiveness. 


Demonstrating Character

Employers want to hire people that are naturally driven to succeed. What better way to prove that than obtaining optional relevant certifications. Obtaining many of such certifications takes time, effort, and money. By following through, it demonstrates discipline, curiosity, intellectual maturity, and a strong willingness to learn to prospective employers. 

But note that while employers might be impressed with your certifications on paper, it’ll do you no good if you cannot talk about what you learned and how it’s relevant to the position during the interview phase.

Increased Earning Potentials

One of the most immediate benefits of certifications is increased earning potential. Here are some concrete examples:

  • Quality assurance/control inspectors that are a Certified Welding Inspector (CWI) gain a 39% increase in earnings.
  • Health and safety coordinators that are Certified Construction Health and Safety Technicians (CHST) enjoy a typical pay raise of 35%.
  • Logistics coordinators that are certified in International maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) earn about 35% more. 
  • As an optical manager (eye care), it would be an advantage to get certified as a National Contact Lens Examiner. Doing so comes with a typical pay increase of 31%.
  • Laboratory supervisor certified as Clinical Laboratory Scientist (CLS) makes 25% more. 

Aside from this increase in earnings, it also opens up opportunities for more bonuses. Having well-treasured certifications on your resume increasing your bargaining power and earning potential.

Modern Top Certifications for 2020


Agile and Scrum 

AWS Certified Solutions Architect

CISSP – Certified Information Systems Security Professional

Cisco Certifications

– CCNA Security – It deals in troubleshooting and monitoring network devices.

  • CCNA Voice – It deals with VoIP, handset, voiceover mail, etc.
  • CCNA Wireless – It deals with using Cisco equipment in configuring, implementing, and  supporting wireless LANs

PMP – Project Management Professional

CompTIA A+


Global Information Assurance Certification (GIAC)

MCSE – Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert

CEH – Certified Ethical Hacker

If you have questions about certifications or how to get them feel free to contact Stafford Technology at 614-973-6027.