credentials on a resume

Have you seen resumes with the candidate’s academic or professional credentials as part of the person’s name? We don’t think twice about referring to medical doctors as Latisha Jones, MD, but what if Latisha earned a Master’s  in neuroscience? Should she refer to herself as Latisha Jones, M.S.?

This is a squirrelly issue, as people who earn postgraduate degrees are justifiably proud of their accomplishment. I think that it comes down to one’s title. We call medical doctors, veterinary doctors, and PhDs “doctor,” but there’s no title when addressing an attorney, a CPA, or a registered nurse. However, many people write JD, CPA, or RN after their name at the top of their resume.

Nor are titles conferred on people who have earned Bachelors or Masters degrees; I’ve never seen anyone write B.A. or B.S. after their name, but I have on occasion seen M.A., M.S. or MBA.

Now, these credentials are noteworthy, and they belong on the resume, just not next to your name. For validation, I did some research to see what other resume writers thought, and felt that this article says it best.

“The only academic credentials (degrees) that you should list after your name at the top of the résumé should be doctorate level degrees, such as MD, DO, DDS, DVM, PhD, and EdD.  A master’s degree or bachelor’s degree should never be included after your name.  It does not rise to the level of a doctorate degree and is not appropriate on that top line.”

What about on LinkedIn profiles? I had heard that putting credentials next to your name in your profile negatively affects the profile’s searchability, but until I checked what Teddy Burriss had to say on the subject, I was unaware that doing so is actually a violation of LinkedIn’s terms of service! Read what how he responded to this question on Quora. Teddy notes,

“We over validate ourselves. We need to stop this. Beyond being known as a doctor, lawyer, real estate agent, etc, when was the last time a client or potential client asked you for your credentials in a first conversation. Usually if this conversation is going to come up, it’s much later in the networking activity. Declare your certifications and credentials in your summary and certifications area.”

Academic degrees and professional certifications are incredibly important, and they have their place on your resume; but they are not part of your name.

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