Listing 'In Progress' Certs on Your Resume

ClaymooreClaymoore Posts: 1,637Member
[RANT]

I know I (and I hope we here on TE) take certifications more seriously than most, but this really bothered me.

Been interviewing candidates for a couple of positions and one of the candidates who made it through to me had some 'in progress' certifications listed on his resume. That really bothered me - you either have the certification or you don't. It just seemed like a ploy to get past the resume filters looking for keywords without any idea of context. I don't know how long you have been planning to earn the cert. Perhaps its only since you saw it as a requirement that you have been thinking about it, or maybe you have been studying for months and are afraid to take the exam. Either way you are of no use to me.

Unless you have passed the CCIE written and have the lab scheduled for next month, leave the 'in progress' crap off your resume!

[/RANT]
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Comments

  • Forsaken_GAForsaken_GA Posts: 4,024Member
    Agreed. What you say you're working on is one thing, what you've actually done something quite else, talk is cheap.
  • ColbyGColbyG Posts: 1,264Member
    If I have one or more exams completed I will put "currently pursuing _____ (____ exam(s) complete)". I don't see an issue with this. When I finished BCMSN I put "currently pursuing CCNP (BSMCN complete)".

    I do it more to indicate where I am technically than to hit keyword filters, although this isn't such a bad thing, IMO.
  • ColbyGColbyG Posts: 1,264Member
    On a side note, one thing that made me chuckle was a user on here with "WIP: CCNP, CCIP, CCSP, CCIE" or something like that listed as his certifications on here.
  • Forsaken_GAForsaken_GA Posts: 4,024Member
    ColbyG wrote: »
    If I have one or more exams completed I will put "currently pursuing _____ (____ exam(s) complete)". I don't see an issue with this. When I finished BCMSN I put "currently pursuing CCNP (BSMCN complete)".

    I do it more to indicate where I am technically than to hit keyword filters, although this isn't such a bad thing, IMO.

    I can see that for something like a blog or these forums, but on your resume? I'd rather just list the technologies involved on the exams I've passed on the resume, and then if it came up during the interview, I can mention I've passed the exam if there appears to be some need for validation.
  • ALfromSTLALfromSTL Posts: 43Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    ColbyG wrote: »
    On a side note, one thing that made me chuckle was a user on here with "WIP: CCNP, CCIP, CCSP, CCIE" or something like that listed as his certifications on here.

    Isn't that akin to saying "WIP: PhD Information Security, MS, BS" current AAS computer networking ?

    I guess you can't blame for trying icon_rolleyes.gif
  • RouteThisWayRouteThisWay Posts: 514Member
    I think it is a bit cheesy to do so. I agree with OP.

    Either you have them or you don't.
    "Vision is not enough; it must be combined with venture." ~ Vaclav Havel
  • fly351fly351 Posts: 360Member
    ColbyG wrote: »
    On a side note, one thing that made me chuckle was a user on here with "WIP: CCNP, CCIP, CCSP, CCIE" or something like that listed as his certifications on here.

    lol! talk about a stretch.. geez... I guess he meant over the next 5+ years?
    CCNP :study:
  • Hyper-MeHyper-Me Posts: 2,059Banned
    I learned this all to fast. A few years ago when I was trying to break into the field (and had no certifications) I put some stuff on my resume about classes I took that coincided with the material on the MCSE exams.

    I got an interview and the guy was like "So I see you've got your MCSE, thats great!" and immediately my face went icon_redface.gif

    Although I did it unintentionally, I have been fearful ever since of overselling myself on a resume. It absolutely will catch up to you at some point.

    Now, if I go to an interview and get asked about a technology I have no experience with I say "I havn't worked with it, but it is a very interesting technology and I would love to have the opportunity to gain experience with it."
    I got a fortune cookie that said "Outlook not so good" and I thought to myself "Yeah...but Microsoft sells it anyway."
  • fly351fly351 Posts: 360Member
    Hyper-Me wrote: »
    Although I did it unintentionally, I have been fearful ever since of overselling myself on a resume. It absolutely will catch up to you at some point.

    EXACTLY, although I have experience in server and network support, I am not even close to a MCITP:SA or CCNP level, and I probably sell myself short during interviews. icon_cry.gif
    CCNP :study:
  • rszpanderferrszpanderfer Posts: 9Member ■□□□□□□□□□
    I usually only mention certifications I'm studying for in my cover letter when I talk a little about myself. Other than that, I do not list certifications that I have not completed under the certification section.
    Passed on 2/20: Network+, Score - 840
    Next: Security+ and Server+
  • earweedearweed Posts: 5,192Member ■■■■■■■■■□
    Glad the resumes I have posted already don't have WIP listed. I did list certifications in progress for a non-IT job I'm interviewing for. If I get that job I will still complete those certs but may put off working (officially) in IT. It starts at 37K and goes up to 49K before promotions.
    Have not had any luck so far in my hunt for my first IT job.
    No longer work in IT. Play around with stuff sometimes still and fix stuff for friends and relatives.
  • drewkegdrewkeg Posts: 61Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    If you are actually working toward the exam, then why not include it. It shows that you are continuing you education and not remaining stagnant. Now I would definitely put a date that you plan to have it completed by. For example when I was prepping for my MCTS, I did in fact include it on my resume, but I had planned on completion within the next couple of months, and that is exactly when I did complete it.
    It can also allow the interviewer a chance to ask the applicant 'I see you are in progress of your xyz exam, can you tell me about that...'.
    But, if the applicant has no intention of completing the cert and just includes it for keyword sake, then yes, unacceptable.


    Have Triplets, Need Beer
  • networker050184networker050184 Posts: 11,962Mod Mod
    ColbyG wrote: »
    If I have one or more exams completed I will put "currently pursuing _____ (____ exam(s) complete)". I don't see an issue with this. When I finished BCMSN I put "currently pursuing CCNP (BSMCN complete)".

    I do it more to indicate where I am technically than to hit keyword filters, although this isn't such a bad thing, IMO.

    I do the same thing. When I was working towards my CCNP and had passed a couple exams I put that on my resume. I know for a fact it has gotten my resume pulled at least once. The manager asked about it and was impressed I was continuing my education. If I were looking for a job right now I'd put working towards the CCIP since I am and have passed half the exams.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
  • Hyper-MeHyper-Me Posts: 2,059Banned
    drewkeg wrote: »
    If you are actually working toward the exam, then why not include it. It shows that you are continuing you education and not remaining stagnant. Now I would definitely put a date that you plan to have it completed by. .

    It's almost like saying "hire me now, because i might be qualified for this job in a few months!"

    Even putting estimated completion dates could bite you in the rear end. What if something comes up and you don't complete them by that date and then the manager that hired you thinks you either lied or can't keep project deadlines?

    There is a myriad of ways things can be perceived but I think the overwhelming amount of hiring managers don't want to see "XYZ in progress". I would alternatively try something like "Dedicated to continually expanding my knowledge and skillset" on a skills section.
    I got a fortune cookie that said "Outlook not so good" and I thought to myself "Yeah...but Microsoft sells it anyway."
  • networker050184networker050184 Posts: 11,962Mod Mod
    Hyper-Me wrote: »
    It's almost like saying "hire me now, because i might be qualified for this job in a few months!"

    Even putting estimated completion dates could bite you in the rear end. What if something comes up and you don't complete them by that date and then the manager that hired you thinks you either lied or can't keep project deadlines?

    There is a myriad of ways things can be perceived but I think the overwhelming amount of hiring managers don't want to see "XYZ in progress". I would alternatively try something like "Dedicated to continually expanding my knowledge and skillset" on a skills section.

    I disagree with all of this. Putting that you are working towards a certification doesn't mean you might be qualified. It just means you are in the process of proving your qualification. I guess it just comes down to how you view certifications and what you use them for. Personally, I get certified on technologies I work with and am experienced with already. Some others use the certifications to learn a subject to break into without prior experience.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
  • Bl8ckr0uterBl8ckr0uter Posts: 5,031Inactive Imported Users
    Hyper-Me wrote: »
    It's almost like saying "hire me now, because i might be qualified for this job in a few months!"

    I am going to have to respectfully disagree. I think putting a "In Progress" section is perfectly fine for resumes (I have one) IF it is reasonable. What I mean is this, for a CCNA to say "CCIE WIP" or a student in highschool to say "PhD WIP" is NOT reasonable. For a CCNA who has completed one or more CCNP test to say "CCNP WIP" that seems reasonable. I certainly would not want to see a certifications section that says CCNA ROUTE SWITCH. No one (outside of maybe the IT department) is gonna know wtf you are talking about. I think if you have a realistic timeline (within 6 months or so) for completing the exam, it can be listed as WIP. Any longer than that, then it might be time to take it off of the resume. To me I see this a bit unfair. Right now on my resume, I have my A.A.S listed as "in progress". I know I won;'t be done for another 8 months or so but no one is going to call me out for having it on my resume. I know certifications <> degrees but isn't this a clear double standard, even among our own fellow techies?
  • Forsaken_GAForsaken_GA Posts: 4,024Member
    Well, I suppose like anything else you decide to put on a resume, it's a calculated risk. Some folks responsible for interviewing and hiring may not mind it. Others might not like it. In the case of the OP, who seems to be responsible for doing some vetting of candidates for open job positions, it'd be a strike against you.

    My personal view is that if I've passed the exam, I'm ok to put the technologies that the exam covers on the resume, and I might mention the exam by name and number, but I don't feel it's proper to mention a certification I haven't earned on my resume. The resume is supposed to be representative of what you have done, not what you want to do. There's no such thing as a half certified.
  • networker050184networker050184 Posts: 11,962Mod Mod
    Well, I suppose like anything else you decide to put on a resume, it's a calculated risk. Some folks responsible for interviewing and hiring may not mind it. Others might not like it. In the case of the OP, who seems to be responsible for doing some vetting of candidates for open job positions, it'd be a strike against you.

    My personal view is that if I've passed the exam, I'm ok to put the technologies that the exam covers on the resume, and I might mention the exam by name and number, but I don't feel it's proper to mention a certification I haven't earned on my resume. The resume is supposed to be representative of what you have done, not what you want to do. There's no such thing as a half certified.

    Putting that you are working towards something is not saying you are "half certified." Its saying exactly what it says, you are working towards it. I also don't see anything wrong with putting what you want to do. It shows you have some initiative and a drive to continue to improve yourself. Nothing wrong with that or conveying that to an potential employer in my book.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
  • Hyper-MeHyper-Me Posts: 2,059Banned
    knwminus wrote: »
    I am going to have to respectfully disagree.


    I can certainly see your (and networker's) points of view.

    I will admit, that while I had my 640,642,643 and 680 that in some interviews the hiring manager would say something like "I see you have several MCTS'?"

    and I would reply with something like "Yes! In fact I am only 1 exam away from the MCITP Enterprise Admin, and I hope to finish it soon."

    There is nothing wrong with trying to convey that you are continually learning and dedicated to doing so. I just got burned on someone misreading my resume years ago and thinking I had an MCSE when I didn't, so I try to be very careful in my wording and what I put on my resume now.
    I got a fortune cookie that said "Outlook not so good" and I thought to myself "Yeah...but Microsoft sells it anyway."
  • Bl8ckr0uterBl8ckr0uter Posts: 5,031Inactive Imported Users
    Hyper-Me wrote: »
    I can certainly see your (and networker's) points of view.

    I will admit, that while I had my 640,642,643 and 680 that in some interviews the hiring manager would say something like "I see you have several MCTS'?"

    and I would reply with something like "Yes! In fact I am only 1 exam away from the MCITP Enterprise Admin, and I hope to finish it soon."

    There is nothing wrong with trying to convey that you are continually learning and dedicated to doing so. I just got burned on someone misreading my resume years ago and thinking I had an MCSE when I didn't, so I try to be very careful in my wording and what I put on my resume now.

    It isn't your fault that someone misread your resume. If is was clearly on your resume WIP MCSE or WIP MCITP:EA and they didn't get thats their fault honestly. IMO if you are 1 test away from an MCSE AND you can do the work/pass the tech interview then it shouldn't make a difference. Whats the difference come crunch time and you have a box that won't boot. Do you think they are going to care about an MCSE or the skills you have to make that sever boot again?

    I think you know the answer :)

    Oh and I didn't know you didn't have an MCSE.
  • Hyper-MeHyper-Me Posts: 2,059Banned
    knwminus wrote: »
    It isn't your fault that someone misread your resume. If is was clearly on your resume WIP MCSE or WIP MCITP:EA and they didn't get thats their fault honestly. IMO if you are 1 test away from an MCSE AND you can do the work/pass the tech interview then it shouldn't make a difference. Whats the difference come crunch time and you have a box that won't boot. Do you think they are going to care about an MCSE or the skills you have to make that sever boot again?

    I think you know the answer :)

    Oh and I didn't know you didn't have an MCSE.


    You are right, but I certainly felt icon_redface.gif after they got all happy thinking I had an MCSE and I had to say "no i just took some classes that covered the material". Even if I still had the skills to do the job, I bet there was some "letdown" experienced by that particular hiring manager.
    I got a fortune cookie that said "Outlook not so good" and I thought to myself "Yeah...but Microsoft sells it anyway."
  • Forsaken_GAForsaken_GA Posts: 4,024Member
    Putting that you are working towards something is not saying you are "half certified." Its saying exactly what it says, you are working towards it. I also don't see anything wrong with putting what you want to do. It shows you have some initiative and a drive to continue to improve yourself. Nothing wrong with that or conveying that to an potential employer in my book.

    Well, like I said, it all comes down to a matter of opinion.

    I have absolutely no problem with mentioning something like I'm working towards my CCIP in a cover letter or during an interview. It can actually be a pretty good talking point during the interview. If it hasn't come up yet, I usually mention what I'm working on when the interviewer gets to the standard 'what are your goals/see yourself in 5 years/etc' sets of questions.

    I'm in the same boat as you, I have half the exams under my belt, so I'm fairly serious about it, and the other certifications I have show that I'm perfectly capable of following through and completing cisco's professional level tracks, but despite all of that, the words CCIP will not appear on my resume until I actually finish the other two exams. Likewise, when I pass the CCIE written, that will not appear on my resume (because, yeah, alot of folks seem to think that passing the written makes them a half-CCIE).

    I'm not advocating either way, resumes are a personal thing, and everyone is going to do what they want to do. And sure, being creative on a resume is a time honored tradition, and everyone wants to present themselves in the best possible light, but listing certs as work in progress is something that may backfire on your in at least one case (ie, if your resume ever crosses the desk of the OP!).

    And I'll be honest, if I were doing the interview, and I saw something like that, I'd grill the interviewee a little harder than someone who didn't, just so I could see how good their retention is, and try and determine their commitment to finishing what they've started.
  • Bl8ckr0uterBl8ckr0uter Posts: 5,031Inactive Imported Users
    Hyper-Me wrote: »
    You are right, but I certainly felt icon_redface.gif after they got all happy thinking I had an MCSE and I had to say "no i just took some classes that covered the material". Even if I still had the skills to do the job, I bet there was some "letdown" experienced by that particular hiring manager.

    Out of curiosity (if you are comfortable with answering this question) did you get the job? Was their a technical interview or anything like that?

    Next month (April) when I do the 290 and S+ (and hopefully pass) I am putting MCP and S+ on my resume and keeping the WIP MCSA security.
  • Hyper-MeHyper-Me Posts: 2,059Banned
    knwminus wrote: »
    Out of curiosity (if you are comfortable with answering this question) did you get the job? Was their a technical interview or anything like that?

    Next month (April) when I do the 290 and S+ (and hopefully pass) I am putting MCP and S+ on my resume and keeping the WIP MCSA security.


    No, I didn't. Strangely enough the job was for a A+ Break/fix tech. There was a technical side to the interview and I answered 6.5 out of 7 questions correctly (there was 2 possible answers to one). He said noone had ever done that well before, but I didn't end up getting the job. They passed me up for someone who already had an A+.
    I got a fortune cookie that said "Outlook not so good" and I thought to myself "Yeah...but Microsoft sells it anyway."
  • RouteThisWayRouteThisWay Posts: 514Member
    I am with Forsaken and Hyper on this one.

    I think what you hope to accomplish, working to achieve, etc all belong in your cover letter. (I would hope everyone submits a cover letter with their resume, right?).

    In my opinion, a resume is a list of accomplishments or accolades you have done in your past to qualify you for a position. It let's a potential employer see verifiable work experience in the past that would be applicable to that position. It isn't a myspace, wishlist, or bucket list. It is about the skills you have at the time that you can market. Not things you hope that you can market in the future. Again, that is what a cover letter is for; to explain to the HR, hiring manager, etc why you would be a great fit, explain how you are continuing to grow and would like the opportunity to grow with them. Demonstrate how your future plans/certs/etc would impact their business.

    If you have the experience that is applicable to a cert, what does it matter anyway? Your experience will speak volumes above a cert if you know what you are talking about. I was under the assumption this was pertinent more towards people without the experience, and are using the cert as a springboard to getting the experience.

    I may be right, I may be wrong. I guess it just depends who the HR people are and hiring manager's are that find your resume.

    Agree to disagree :D
    "Vision is not enough; it must be combined with venture." ~ Vaclav Havel
  • ColbyGColbyG Posts: 1,264Member
    I can see that for something like a blog or these forums, but on your resume? I'd rather just list the technologies involved on the exams I've passed on the resume, and then if it came up during the interview, I can mention I've passed the exam if there appears to be some need for validation.

    Hasn't been an issue yet. Once I pass the Written I will put "Currently pursuing CCIE R&S (Written exam passed, lab planned for late 2011)" or something like that.

    I don't see the downside.
  • networker050184networker050184 Posts: 11,962Mod Mod
    I am with Forsaken and Hyper on this one.

    I think what you hope to accomplish, working to achieve, etc all belong in your cover letter. (I would hope everyone submits a cover letter with their resume, right?).

    Nope, never used a cover letter.
    An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made.
  • ColbyGColbyG Posts: 1,264Member
    Hyper-Me wrote: »
    I think the overwhelming amount of hiring managers don't want to see "XYZ in progress".

    Do you have anything to substantiate this thought?
  • Paul BozPaul Boz Posts: 2,621Member
    I think its ridiculous to put "works in progress" on your resume. A resume should only list your qualifications for a job, not what you hope your qualifications will be. They should be "static" documents. By that, I mean "you should be able to do anything represented on your resume." If you have "currently pursuing x, y, and z" it does not mean you are currently proficient in any of that.

    I have always been very negative about people putting incomplete certs, unearned certs, or otherwise false or miss-leading information on their resumes. I worked very hard to earn the certifications I have and its an affront to my work ethic and experience for someone to put "CCNP work in progress, passed 2/4 exams" on their resume when I have the CCNP and earned it by taking all of the exams. HR is going to flag their resume just like they're going to flag mine, and they're going to get an unfair shot at a job they otherwise shouldn't have.

    If you want to put the cert on your resume just finish it. Use it as motivation to finish sooner if that helps you. Otherwise, keep it off your resume.
    ColbyG wrote: »
    Do you have anything to substantiate this thought?

    I do technical interviews from time to time and if I see WIP stuff I glaze over it and move to the next one. At my previous employer if you put WIP on anything you wouldn't even get a phone call. Generally I've noticed that higher ups in business don't care what you say you can do or say you can learn to do, they care about what you can do right now.
    CCNP | CCIP | CCDP | CCNA, CCDA
    CCNA Security | GSEC |GCFW | GCIH | GCIA
    [email protected]
    http://twitter.com/paul_bosworth
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  • Hyper-MeHyper-Me Posts: 2,059Banned
    ColbyG wrote: »
    Do you have anything to substantiate this thought?

    This thread and the dozens like it here. Its usually not more than a week or two before a thread pops up just like this one where someone in a hiring capacity needs to let off some steam about things they see on a resume that they just dont wan't to see.

    I can't say for certain that the majority of hiring managers wouldnt like it, but if what i've seen here and my own experiences are any indication then that would be a correct assumption.
    I got a fortune cookie that said "Outlook not so good" and I thought to myself "Yeah...but Microsoft sells it anyway."
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