How can I include certifications that I have prepared and studied for but not yet earned on my resume?

I am currently preparing to obtain certifications for AZ-104 (Microsoft Azure Administrator) and AWS Solution Architect Associate. I have covered the course materials of both certifications, and I am confident that I will pass these two certifications in the upcoming month. I'd take them now, but I'm still saving up for the associated fees.

As I'm currently applying for jobs I want to ask how can I include these preparations in my resume.

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    This is the kind of thing you should put in a cover letter. It shouldn't be part of your resume until you earn the certification. – Roger Jun 4 at 15:56
  • Welcome to The Workplace @Daraz Pk.While I appreciate your acceptance of my answer, I want to point out that we generally encourage you not to accept an answer too quickly. You may want to give other people a chance to submit an answer as well and accepting early tends to discourage other people from replying. You are free to change or remove the mark-as-answered tick at any time and you may want to do so and wait one or two days before evaluating the answers you received and accepting the one that you found the most helpful. – Lilienthal Jun 4 at 18:33
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    @gnat Good find. Somehow that didn't show up for me when I looked before answering... Tempted to remove the duplicate link on that one (certificate != MOOC) and then migrate this question as a duplicate... – Lilienthal Jun 4 at 19:04

How can I include certifications that I have prepared and studied for but not yet earned

For the most part, I would say you can't. Or rather you shouldn't. While you can treat these as an upcoming graduation by listing an "Expected [Month, Year]" after them, it's not typical to do this. Most everyone accepts a claim that you'll be graduating at the end of the year. Few will think the same of a certification. The whole point of those is that you pass the requirements in order to call yourself certified.

When it comes to your resume, I would not list these as Certifications. Instead you can list the relevant skills in a Skills section. If the preparation is substantial or involves classroom trainings you can also list it in your Education section. That's especially true if these are well-known certification tracks that take a few months or years to complete. But listing a certification you currently only expect to get would put a lot of people off.

But you absolutely can and should mention this in your cover letter! You can point to your preparation as proof of motivation to work in a certain field. Do avoid talking about financials as a reason you haven't taken the exam yet. Rightly or wrongly that could impact people's assessment of you. It likely will come up in an interview but you can be honest there and simply say you're saving up for the exam. Good and/or interested employers might tell you that they'll cover those costs if you were to start with them.

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  • Thanks for such a detailed comment, do you think it would be okay to show is CV under a heading of " Ongoing Certifications " ? – Daraz Pk Jun 4 at 15:52
  • @DarazPk That might be somewhat confusing. Worse yet, the ones who actually figure out what you mean are likely to see it as either deliberately confusing or pretentious. – Ben Barden Jun 4 at 16:00
  • If you want something relevant about you to be ignored, put it in a cover letter. If you want to call attention to it you need to find a place for it on your CV. Cover letters are no longer a relevant construct in the hiring process. No shortage of high value articles on this topic. google.com/search?q=cover+letters+are+outdated – Joel Etherton Jun 4 at 16:01
  • @JoelEtherton You can find just as many and in my view more authoritative articles that still support the importance of cover letters. A resume gets you past the first cut. A cover letter gets you an interview. Sure, some industries don't need them. I rarely write them in my field. But they remain a reality. Though I'm not sure how this is relevant either way since I recommend that the OP includes this in both. You can look at this question or ask a new one if you want to address the value of cover letters in 2020. – Lilienthal Jun 4 at 18:29
  • @DarazPk I wouldn't. I'd list it under education where you can add "self-study" or "online course" if it's not immediately obvious that. Some resumes have a Courses sections just for this, see also this question on that. As Ben mentions it's potentially confusing and could detract from your resume even if only because you're creating too many cluttered sections on your resume. That goes double if you're a new graduate which means you only get one page to work with. – Lilienthal Jun 4 at 18:33

"Currently studying for blahblahblah certification."

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  • thanks for the reply. Okay so would it give any bad impression to employer? Like telling them what will I do and have not achieved yet? – Daraz Pk Jun 4 at 15:39
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    without an explanation, this answer may become useless in case if someone else posts an opposite opinion. For example, if someone posts a claim like "Avoid writing "Currently studying for blahblahblah certification.", how would this answer help reader to pick of two opposing opinions? Consider editing it into a better shape, to meet How to Answer guidelines – gnat Jun 4 at 16:20
  • @gnat - Or, and this is just a suggestion, maybe leave this answer alone because it answers the question simply and succinctly. Not every answer (or question) needs to be a treatise. We don't need to write a tome, we don't need to account for every possible permutation of the question. If someone posts an answer with an opposing view then you can address that in your own answer. Why does my answer need an explanation? Does my answer need an answer? Why do we need to make things more complicated then they need be? – joeqwerty Jun 4 at 17:39
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    @joeqwerty I think your point is valid. There is no need to write tomes of information for a question like this. However, gnat has also a valid point, and is that your answer could do some enhancement (not Tomes though) to better help OP. Yes, the phrase you suggest is a good phrasing... but, where should OP include it? under what section of the resume? If prompted about that part of their resume during interviews how could OP respond? Reading a one-liner, although a valid one-liner, can be confusing for users as you can see (specially new contributors like OP) – DarkCygnus Jun 5 at 2:15

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