Marketing Your Certificate

YOU'RE CERTIFIED! NOW WHAT?

Congratulations on completing one of the Certificates in Experiential Learning!  Now that you’ve completed the certificate, the next step is for you to market your certificate to help you stand out as an applicant for jobs and graduate schools.

How does the transcript notation help?

Your certificate in experiential learning will appear on your transcript, showing that the university acknowledges your achievements. This opportunity is not available to students at all universities and will recognize the efforts you have undertaken beyond the classroom.

Transcripts are usually required in certain fields (i.e. education) that request them as part of the application process. Also, students who intend to do postgraduate work will have their transcripts reviewed by admission panels. Having the certificate on your transcript can add more than just an award to your resume; it can reflect a personal value and commitment to improving your community.

Now that it’s on my transcript, that’s all I need, right?
If you don’t plan to pursue postgraduate work or are not required to submit a transcript for employment, it would be wise to list your certificate on your resume. Check out our examples of how to list your experiences on your resume [pdf].
What about the interview?
Once potential employers see the certificate listed on your transcript or resume, you must be prepared to talk about it. Although you may not be prompted to discuss the certificate, we have had several students tell us that they were asked questions about it during an interview, since employers were unfamiliar with it.  If you're not able to articulate its importance in an interview and downplay your certificate, the very thing that could have set you apart from others is no longer working for you.
Questions you must be able to address
  • What is service learning?
  • What was required to get the certificate?
  • Why did you get the certificate? Why was that important to you?
Points to consider in your responses
The certificate in service learning recognizes that you have:
  • gone beyond the classroom to help your community and to further your own education
  • assisted community agencies in better serving their clients
  • exposed yourself to societal inadequacies and injustices
  • better prepared yourself for your career or further education
  • taken on a greater responsibility for your learning and for your community
  • applied your course content in the context of the real world

What students gain:

  • practical experience that challenges their perceptions and assumptions
  • opportunities to apply classroom learning in real-world settings
  • deeper understanding and commitment to civic engagement
  • awareness of the broad range of life experiences
  • a better sense of personal efficacy, personal identity, and moral development
  • leadership, communication, and team work skills

Why the certificate is important to YOU:

  • Talk about the certificate as a representation of your values toward service.
  • Talk about your understanding of how your field of study can contribute to the common good.
Anything else?
Research the companies to which you are applying to see if service is part of their mission and determine if they support certain issues, such as sustainability, cancer research, poverty, etc. You may find that you share an interest in a social issue, which you could highlight on your resume or cover letter.
What does Google say about you? Create a professional online identity.
If an employer searches for you on the Internet, what do they see? It’s a smart choice to use every venue to promote yourself when you are job seeking, including social media and other networking opportunities. LinkedIn is a great example of a place to list the certificate.  With that in mind, many employers will check social media sites and the internet in general to see how you are represented, so if necessary, it is incumbent on you to do damage control on your social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as promote your accomplishments.
Other Resources

Check out examples [pdf] of how you might list service on your resume. Consider using a verb list [pdf] to remind you of the skills you obtained from your service. You may find many more verb lists by searching the internet.

For additional resources and assistance, we highly recommend utilizing the University Career Center to develop a resume that will maximize your strengths and highlight relevant skills for the jobs you are seeking.