Nowadays it’s almost an expectation for employees to be on a lifelong journey of learning ¬– and taking massive open online courses (MOOCs) is one of the best ways of gaining new skills or improving existing ones. As a matter of fact, enrolling in an online course is a win-win situation; not only is there an incredible selection of courses – which cover virtually all fields of interest – but they are also convenient for those who have neither the time nor the sufficient funds to complete a college or university program.
And if that’s not enough, online courses look just as good on a resume as regular college degrees. Or do they? Because even if MOOCs can indeed be useful to land you the desired job, their inclusion in the resume isn’t as obvious as it might first seem.
Online Courses: Yea or Nay?
Although there are some recruiters who still scratch their heads when they see a list of online courses in a resume, the answer to the question of whether those should be included in a CV or not is a definite ‘yes’.
It’s a cliche as old as time, but a resume is the ticket to a new job – or at least to an interview with a future employer – so it has to be as impressive and professional as possible. And while some people try to impress recruiters by putting the CV together with a clever program or using a different typography, listing online degrees could have just as strong a beneficial effect on the CV as either of these. In fact, MOOCs – especially those taken at the most famous universities or on sites like lynda.com – will help to make your resume stand out from the rest. This is because they not only show your willingness to learn – something that is appreciated at any workplace – but if they are also relevant to the job that you’re applying for, then you will have an even better chance to be on the ideal candidates’ list.
Including Online Courses the Professional Way
As mentioned, online courses can reveal crucial information about you, which could easily make your resume more interesting and valuable. However, unlike regular college or university equivalents, online degrees need to be handled a bit differently with CVs in order to impress recruiters.
Online courses can be considered to be part of your education but, interestingly, they don’t belong in the Education section of the resume since they are deemed as complementary elements. For this reason, it’s best to include MOOCs in an entirely new section titled “Professional Training/Development” or simply “Certifications”.
Just as is the case with education and previous job positions, only those online degrees that are relevant to the job in question should be featured in the resume. Admittedly, it’s tempting to list every degree and valid course, particularly in cases where there is only minimal work experience, however irrelevant MOOCs could have an adverse effect and perhaps even result in your application falling at the start line.
Also, the list shouldn’t include any introductory courses or uncompleted MOOCs. Since job seekers are expected to possess the necessary skills already, beginner level or unfinished classes would only convey the message that the applicant isn’t qualified for the job after all.
It’s All About the Results
It may seem convenient to just simply list all of your online courses, but nowadays it’s not enough. In fact, contemporary resumes are required to be result-oriented – so why not bring in some results? Simply put, if an online course is mentioned in the CV, highlight to the recruiters how it has or will benefit your professional career and, most importantly, what results you earned after studying this new set of skills.
Can You Tell Me More?
One of the most basic rules of the job application process is that if something is mentioned in the resume, then recruiters may end up asking questions about any particular information to verify whether or not you are telling the truth. For this reason, it’s highly recommended to include the name of the institution and the tutor that held the course, as well as a link that directs readers to the course’s page.
Also, even if that page contains a brief description about what that degree offers, it’s best to explain what that course is about in your own words. This way crucial information will be revealed about yourself that was omitted from the resume and, therefore, can convince recruiters that you are indeed the ideal candidate.
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