The following is a guest post written by Jane Hurst, writer and freelance HR. If you would like to submit a guest post, please contact us.
These days, it is not uncommon for people to get their educations online. There are numerous online courses available, both from private sources and from accredited colleges and universities. If you have taken online courses, how do you list these on your resume? While they are something that can help you get the job (another candidate may not have taken these extra courses), they are not the only thing employers are looking for, nor should they be the highlight of your resume. Today we are going to talk about how to properly list online courses on your resume so they get the right kind of attention.
- Don’t Mention Intro Classes – You don’t usually learn much in an introductory class, so don’t mention these on your resume. If this is all you have, leave out the online classes all together, because this type of class shows that you are learning about the subject, and not actually an expert on it. It will show you as being less experienced and unqualified, even if you have taken other courses as well. Also, don’t waste your time and energy on online courses that are not related to the type of work that you want to do.
- List Online Classes Properly – No matter what type of online classes you have taken, and how much they relate to the job you want, it is not a good idea to list them first. Prospective employers want to see your work history and level of experience before they see your education. In many cases, the person with the most experience is going to be hired, even if other candidates have higher levels of education. Put online classes in their own section, such as “professional training” or something similar. This will get it noticed after they have seen your experience.
- List the Right Courses – While it is a good idea to list hobbies on your resume, this doesn’t mean that you should list every online course that you take. For instance, if you are into knitting and you have taken an online crafting course, it isn’t going to do much good on your resume if you are applying for an IT job. Only list the online courses you have taken that are directly related to the type of jobs you are applying for. For instance, if you have taken a marketing MOOC (Massive Open Online Course), or aced Coding Bootcamp, these are things to list.
- Show Practical Experience – After taking an online course, it is a good idea to work on a project that involves what you have learned. It may be that a local organization needs someone to volunteer for this type of work. While you may not be getting paid, you will be gaining a lot of experience, and when you can show that you have been able to put what you have learned to good use, it is going to impress a potential employer. Just be sure to keep the resume length to a minimum, and don’t turn this section into a book.
- Be Prepared to Answer Questions – If you have taken online courses, potential employers may want to test you on the skills you have learned. They may ask a lot of questions about the actual courses, or they may want to ask questions based on what you have told them you learned from the classes, especially if you are applying for a position that requires you to have a certain amount of technical expertise. While practicing for the interview, in addition to listing common interview questions, think of what the employer may ask in relation to the online courses you have taken.
Jane Hurst is an editor from San Francisco. She works as a freelance HR and has written for various major publications. Find Jane on Twitter!
Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise, does not constitute or imply an endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by Touro College.