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I'm a little confused about how exactly to treat these three sections on LinkedIn: Education, Courses, and Certifications.

It seems easy enough at first, but... Well, I'll give myself as an example.

I'd finished a four-year university course (let's call it Course X) a few years ago now. I put that in my LinkedIn profile under the "Education" section, and at this stage, all is well.

A month ago, I finished a year-long online course (Course Y), complete with project and exam (if it matters), which also gave me a certificate/certification in the field. If it matters, it's in a field which is completely unrelated to Course X.

I detailed Course Y in the "Education" section as well, and then put the certification under the "Certification" section. Seems logical enough.

But I'm wondering... What am I meant to use the LinkedIn "Courses" section for, exactly?

I'm assuming Course X should just stay under "Education". But what about Course Y? Should it stay there too, or should it actually be put under "Courses"?

If it should stay in "Education", then what on earth is meant to go under "Courses" at all? And in either case, I'm planning on continuing to take many more courses related to Course Y in future. Most of these will be shorter than Course Y, some much shorter (i.e. week- or month-long courses), some may be the same or longer. How many of these should I list as I complete them (if not all of them), which of them should go in "Education" (if any), and which of them should go under "Courses"?

Also, I'm assuming that wherever Course Y ends up, the certificate doesn't change anything, and should just stay under "Certifications"?

After all this, I'm sure it doesn't actually matter all that much in the grand scheme of things. But I'm wondering if there is a rule of thumb that I should be following here? Maybe it's as simple as, anything which comes after Tertiary education (or Secondary, if you didn't go on to complete Tertiary education) should go in Courses?

(Sorry if this was asked elsewhere, but after searching, I couldn't find anything here, or elsewhere online, that clears up this particular question for me.)

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Courses section is meant for you to highlight coursework you have taken as part of degree program or certification program. Certifications section is meant specifically for certifications.

Course X should go under Courses and its degree goes under Education. Course Y should go under Courses and its certification in Certifications. Course Y should only be under Education if you were admitted to an university/community degree/certification program. For instance, if you took a course on Coursera and got a certificate in the end. This certificate should only go under Courses and Certifications.

I haven't seen a standard on this though. You can experiment with which seems to get you more profile views.

  • Thanks for the reply :) Should Course X really go under Courses instead of Education? That part of your answer definitely took me by surprise... You say "Course Y should only be under education if you were admitted to an university/community degree/certification program", but Course X was at university/"a four-year university course"...? – RPBCL Mar 8 '16 at 0:56
  • @RPBCL Sorry I'll add that part. Course X does go under Courses and the degree it is a part of should go under Education. You could also post a question on LinkedIn about it as well... – jcmack Mar 8 '16 at 1:03
  • Ah, right, so it should go under both then? I hadn't thought of that... So, what you'd suggest is that Course X is both Education and Courses, and Course Y is both Courses and Certifications (but not Education), right? Thanks again :) I'll wait a little while before accepting any answer, especially as this seems like a question which may be a bit subjective, but, +1 (once I have the rep to +1 :P ) – RPBCL Mar 8 '16 at 1:10
  • @RPBCL Yup that's my take. I agree this is very subjective. :) – jcmack Mar 8 '16 at 17:45
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The courses section exists just to show off any courses you want to highlight. If they were included as part of a degree program, you should associate it with that specific education.

However, many courses are not formally part of a degree program - LinkedIn previously bought Lynda.com which offers one-off courses aimed at current professionals. These types of courses (and other MOOCs) is what this section is primarily used for.

  • Rightio then. Nice and succinct. So, you'd agree with jcmack that Course X should be in Education and Courses (maybe only if I "want to highlight" Course X in Courses as well?), and Course Y shouldn't be in Education, but should instead be in Courses (and Certifications)? Or am I reading this wrong? – RPBCL Mar 10 '16 at 3:34
  • @RPBCL mostly yes. But I'd say both course X and course Y could both be placed under courses regardless if they were part of a degree program. One of the fields in the courses section allows you to associate it with another part of your profile - I'd associate course X with your degree program, and course Y as other (unless the online program is listed somewhere on your profile) – HPierce Mar 10 '16 at 15:01
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I think that courses can be useful for entries such as credits offered for continuing education. For example:

Education:
CITI Program at University of Miami
Certificate, Continuing Education
[Description]

Courses:
Course A
Course B
Course C

If you earned a certificate you want to report, add them to certifications. Basically you need to decide on whether its worthwhile to let readers know whether you simply received a certificate, or that you took specific courses. By listing them in education, as you have freedom to do this, you can also add in description what you did in the program to add to your qualification. I think that for LinkedIn people are taking rather nontraditional routes to get their credentials out there.

  • Just so I understand... Are you suggesting that I keep it as is, but that future courses go under courses? Or that Course Y should go under Courses? Or am I reading this wrong?... – RPBCL Mar 8 '16 at 1:14
  • I'm being somewhat ambiguous because you can angle it multiple ways, ergo there's IMO no right or wrong way, and it depends on what info you want to get across. – CKM Mar 8 '16 at 1:22
  • Fair enough :) I do appreciate that, and figured there'd be a bit of that in any answer given here. What I had been planning was to keep it as-is for now as Course Y is a completely new field, and where I want to head from here on, so may deserve the explanation of what it is I did exactly. But to maybe have shorter courses from this point listed in Courses, as they'll mostly be related to Course Y. However, as Course Y was just a year-long online course, I guess I'm just making sure I'm not breaking some unwritten rule which some people may take (more) seriously (than they should?). – RPBCL Mar 8 '16 at 1:30
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I think you're mixing up the terms "course" and "program" ...or the terms are different in the institute or culture you're from. If my assumption is right, refer the post What is the difference between taking courses, classes or lessons? (Linkedin uses the American English style) and whatever I wrote below...

For example, "Electrical Engineering" is an undergrad program in a university that goes under education section. Whereas, "ECE221 - Electricity & Magnetism" is a course or subject offered in the second year of the program. And this latter one goes under courses section.

In other words, Your degree and institute's name goes under education, and specific courses/subjects go under courses.

In my opinion, anything short of a "degree" or "diploma" that actually gives a certificate can go under certification, in your case it's "course Y". An irl example would be "CPR/First Aid certificate from Red Cross" or a professional license. But sometimes it's ambiguous, i.e. "PLC Technician Certificate from George Brown College" can go both in education and certification.

  • Ah right. This helps clear things up a bit, too... Thank you. – RPBCL Mar 17 '16 at 20:50

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