The Role of Continuing Education: Showcasing Lifelong Learning in Your Resume


In 2023, lifelong learning is no longer a luxury. To stay competitive in today’s labor market, it is essential to stay on top of industry trends, master new approaches and technologies, and continuously gain new knowledge. 

If you have completed a certification program, online training or attended workshops, this can go a long way in getting you noticed by employers. In this article, we will explain how listing continuing education on your resume can benefit your career and where to put it in a document. 

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What is continuing education? 

The term “continuing education” stands for non-credit courses that help professionals gain skills related to their industry to advance in their careers. In some industries, continuing education is needed to maintain your license. 

Continuing education means any form of training that help you acquire new knowledge and learn new methods of work: 

  • Certification programs; 
  • Online and in-person training; 
  • Seminars; 
  • Workshops, and more. 

The most popular courses across many industries include those related to mastering new technology. You can learn the specific programs needed for your job (FreshBooks and Xero for accountants, HubSpot CMS and WordPress for content managers), or master popular software such as Google Suite or Adobe Creative Suite. 

Why is it essential to list lifelong learning on a resume? 

Including training, certifications, and workshops on your resume is beneficial for several reasons: 

  • It shows professional development. Employers prefer candidates who do not sit still and continuously develop their skills. A candidate with multiple certifications, online and offline courses taken is considered more knowledgeable and advanced, hence they’ll want to see you on the team. 
  • It helps you stand out from the crowd. Other things being equal, a hiring manager is likely to interview someone who demonstrates ongoing professional development. If you have a credible certification in your industry, this can be a huge plus. 
  • It covers employment gaps and helps career switchers. If your resume has gaps, taking courses during your time off work helps demonstrate that you used this time to update your knowledge and skills. And if you are changing industries (for instance, from retail sales to tech), including multiple training courses and certifications will prove that you have the needed knowledge. 

How to list continuing education on a resume: 3 strategies 

When it comes to listing your lifelong learning, there are three most common approaches – choose the best one for your situation: 

Add continuing learning to your Education section 

If you completed a few certification programs and training courses so far, the best strategy is to incorporate them in your Education section. List your college or university degrees first, and then include training courses in reverse chronological order. 

Fundamentals of Digital Marketing
Google Digital Garage, 2023

Create a separate Professional Development section 

If you have taken many courses, seminars and workshops, consider creating a dedicated section for them. You can title it “Training and Certification” or “Professional Development”. 

List all courses in a reverse chronological order, starting with the most recent one. Alternatively, you might want to put the most important certification programs at the top, and list short-term training and seminars at the bottom. 

Include it in your career summary 

When you have obtained an especially important license or certification in your field, it makes sense to boast it in your Summary section. This way, you’ll instantly tell the hiring managers that you are perfectly qualified and deserve an interview. Example: 

A CPA certified accountant with 4+ years of experience in the banking sector. 

Tips for describing lifelong learning on your resume 

To make sure that your resume benefits from continuous education classes, follow these tips when listing additional education: 

Keep it relevant 

If you are committed to continuous learning and have completed dozens of courses and training programs, no need to list them all. Make sure to include only relevant training in your resume. Thus, you will not take up much space on a resume and keep the document focused, as it will emphasize qualifications relevant to your industry. 

Choose the location wisely 

The top third of the resume’s first page should include the most important information. So, you need to be strategic about where to place your professional development section. 

If you are changing careers, it makes sense to put the Education section and training at the top, as these are your biggest assets so far. Do the same if you have recently graduated and have limited work experience. If you have a relevant college degree and work experience, put training at the bottom, as in this case, your courses are supplemental information.  

List all essential details 

When listing certifications, licenses, training, and seminars, include the following details: 

  • Full name of the training or certification 
  • Organization’s name 
  • Year and month of completion 
  • Location, expiration date, and grade (if applicable). 

Keep the number of courses reasonable

If you have completed lots of courses as part of your corporate training, it makes no sense to include all of them. Choose the course titles which are most relevant to your target position, and exclude similar programs (i.e. if you have completed three courses in digital marketing, keep only one of them). Unless you have completed many highly specialized courses which are essential for getting you hired, keep the number of educational programs on your resume under 10. 

Proofread carefully 

49% of hiring managers are turned off by typos, mistakes, and poor grammar. Check if you have written the names of your certifications and courses correctly, and proofread the entire document before sending it. You may use one of the AI spell checkers to streamline the process, but after that, check the document manually at least once to exclude awkward typos and misspellings. 

Continuing education can give your resume a quality boost, especially if you are a recent graduate or changing careers. With the tips listed above, you’ll manage to complete this section in a way that draws the attention of hiring managers. If you need help with other aspects of your resume, do not hesitate to consult a professional resume writer. A resume expert can recommend how to strengthen your application and get you noticed faster. 

By Ephatech

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