With how competitive the job market is today, it can be incredibly difficult to stand out from the crowd when you’re sending out applications. Qualifications simply aren’t enough anymore. Employers are looking for top-tier candidates that can add value to their organisations, and recruiters are quick to move on from resumes that don’t offer anything special.

Taking online courses is one of the best ways to learn new skills and develop yourself professionally. The certificates that you earn from them can also make your resume a more compelling read for HR managers. Investing in your professional development also shows that you’re driven, career-oriented, and self-starting—all qualities that make you a more attractive new hire.

If you’ve taken professional training courses in the past, you should absolutely be putting them in your resume. However, there is a right way to do so. Here are a few tips on how you can use them to create a persuasive narrative and get your foot in the door of your dream company:

Choose Courses from Trusted Organisations

Listing online training courses in your resume can supplement its value. But because the practice has become so prevalent, recruiters tend to be wary of it when they see it. They’ll be critical of its placement and how it’s worded, and will take note of your start and completion dates. They’ll also pay close attention to the organisation that facilitated your training, as well as how it was delivered.

Additionally, while remote or online courses can demonstrate professional growth, it’s worth keeping in mind that some of them may instead have the opposite impression. Some employers may not place the same amount of value on online courses, so it’s important to emphasise that yours are from reputable institutions.

Only Include Relevant Courses

While it may be tempting to list every single training course and professional development program that you’ve attended, doing so may not always work to your advantage. HR managers go through hundreds of applications each day. If they don’t see what they’re looking for at a glance, they’ll move on.

Some recruiters may also be turned off when they see courses listed that aren’t relevant to their organisation or the position that you’re applying for. It’ll only look like you’re padding your resume out, or that you didn’t do any research on the opening or company that you’re applying to.

Instead, focus on highlighting the courses that show you possess the skills and expertise most suited to—or can add value to—the position. It’s a great way to convey what you can actually do for the company and what you’ll bring to the table when they hire you, without saying so in those exact terms. You can also include courses and programs that have enabled you to learn adjacent or unique skill sets that may not be directly related to the position but can still be valuable.

Show Proof That You’re Practicing Your Skills

Anyone can take an online course, which is why recruiters are more interested in whether or not you’ve been putting the skills you’ve learned from them into practice.

How do you demonstrate your acquired expertise through a resume, you ask? Don’t stop at listing the classes you’ve taken and the certifications you’ve earned. Participation in outside projects and doing volunteer work are great ways to show that you’ve been utilising those skills and keeping them fresh. This tells your prospective employer that you didn’t just obtain your certificate and instantly forget the content.

Find the Most Strategic Placement

While online courses and other professional development programs do help provide context as to why you’re the best candidate for the job, most employers likely won’t want it to be the main focus of your resume. You still should put all of the most relevant information up top, and provide as much detail on them as possible without getting too wordy.

A short section that details your continuing education should be enough. Make sure that it’s well fleshed-out but concise. You can also add it to the ‘Education’ section of your resume if you haven’t yet accrued much experience, and then talk about the courses in more detail in your cover letter. To make the most impact, discuss them as though they were selling points that demonstrate your suitability for the position.

After making the effort to complete these online courses, it’s an absolute must to ensure that they count. That’s why you definitely should put them on your resume. After all, they help tell a story about who you are as a person and what you can bring to your new organisation. As a final reminder, keep in mind that if you do list your continuing education in your resume, you may be questioned about them by the hiring manager. Prepare yourself for that, and you shouldn’t have a problem acing your interview. You may even end up landing your dream job, if you play your cards right!

Are you looking for an online course to add in your resume? Then check out Priority Management Australia courses today.