How to List an In-Progress Qualification on Your CV
If you're partway through a qualification, it can be difficult to know how to list it on your CV. Follow our top tips to show off your skills without being misleading.
CV’s can be tricky to master. It can be difficult to choose what to include and where to place it. We’ve previously talked about how to write a successful CV, but we wanted to give a more in-depth look at a problem many students have when writing their CV - how do you list a qualification that you haven’t completed yet?
If you’re studying towards a qualification, you might feel a bit in limbo when it comes to applying for jobs. Should you add in the partial qualification to your CV or leave it off until you get your certificate?
We’d say you should absolutely include it on your CV! Even though you’ve yet to complete your course, you’ll still be developing key skills and learning the essential knowledge you’ll need for your chosen career.
Many of our former students have found that employers gave been more than happy to hire them whilst their studies are still in progress.
Take our accountancy student Lauren, she was able to secure her first role in Finance whilst she was halfway through her AAT Foundation Certificate. Or our HR student Gemma, who was offered her dream job whilst still studying her CIPD Level 5 Certificate.
If you’ve spied out a job you’d like to apply for, follow our golden rules for listing your in-progress qualification.
The worst thing you can possibly do on your CV is lie or exaggerate the truth. This goes for both your work experience and any qualifications you want to include. This means you can’t say you’ve completed your course if you’re only partway through.
Education is something which people frequently lie about on their CVs so you may be asked to provide proof of your qualification - especially if it’s listed as an essential requirement in the job ad.
What you should write
It’s important to be clear when including details of your in-progress qualification - you don’t want to inadvertently give the impression that you’ve completed it.
It might be tempting to simply state that your course is ‘ongoing’ or ‘in-progress’, but this can come across as a bit vague. It’s best to be as specific as possible to let employers know how far away from completion you are.
If your course has a specific end date on which you’ll graduate, you should list it like this:
Name of awarding body, qualification level and subject, date of completion: day, month, year
e.g. CIPD, Level 5 Certificate in Human Resource Management, date of completion: 10th September 2019
It’s a little trickier if your course doesn’t have a set end date as you might not be 100% certain when you’ll have the course finished by. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t provide an anticipated completion date.
You should have a rough idea of how much work you still need to do and when you need to sit any exams you have - so you can use this as a guide. If you’re struggling to estimate when you’ll finish, try asking your tutor for their input as they may be able to help you work this out.
Once you have your estimated date, you can add it into your CV like this:
Name of awarding body, qualification level and subject, expected to complete by Month, Year
e.g. AAT, Professional Diploma in Accounting, expected to complete by January 2020
If you’ve only just started the course and don’t have much of an indication when you’ll finish you can use this format:
Name of awarding body, qualification level and subject, expected to complete in Year
e.g. CIM, Level 4 Professional Certificate in Professional Marketing, expected to complete in 2020
If your course is split up into modules that are individually assessed, it might be worthwhile to list the ones that you’ve completed. This will give employers an indication of the skills and knowledge that you’ve already acquired.
Where you should place it on your CV
Where you place the ‘Education’ section on your CV will depend on the type of job you’re applying for and how much work experience you have.
If the qualification you're studying towards is listed in the essential criteria of the job description, you should make sure you show off that you're on your way to completing it by having your 'Education' section near the top of your CV.
If you don’t have much relevant work experience, your completed or in-progress qualifications may be your strongest selling point. In this case, you should place your ‘Education’ section straight after your ‘Personal Profile’.
If you have more extensive work experience in your chosen field, this will likely be what employers will be more interested in. You’ll want to put this experience further up after your ‘Personal Profile’ and then place your qualifications after your experience.
Remember to list your qualifications in reverse order with the most recent and relevant first.
Looking for more advice? Check out our other career articles:
- 10 Tips for Writing a Successful CV
- Job Interview Techniques to Help You Get Hired
- How to Network at Events
Want to impress employers and take your career to the next level? Find out more about our online professional qualifications.