Many providers of online learning courses in our course directory already offer certificates and degrees. (Check out all the courses with optional certificates here.)
What exactly are these "certificates"? And what value does such a degree have in the real world?
We will give you an overview – and tell you what multinational companies really think about online certificates in job applications.
What Is a "Certificate" Anyway?
Many e-learning courses offer certificates for course participants.
They range from the official bachelor's degree for an online study program to a simple statement of participation for a short video course.
This is what you should know:
In most countries, course providers can choose the names for their degrees with relative freedom. Only certain terms such as "bachelor" as an academic title of a university are regulated (depending on each country's individual laws).
Course providers have quite diverse names for their certificates – from Nanodegree to the xSeries Certificate, there is no lack in variety (see below).
"Certificate" is also frequently used as a general term.
Learners who need an "official" degree (meaning it is regulated by law) for specific reasons should always contact the course provider upfront for details.
Those who want to use online courses to collect academic credit (ECTS in Europe) for their studies should talk to their course provider and university beforehand. So far, credits for online courses are only available in very few cases.
However, in practice, other criteria are often more important, especially for professional training courses.
Should You Mention Online Certificates in Job Applications?
For many participants, the main factor regarding a decision for a specific online course is not the name of the certificate or if it is an "officially recognized" degree.
Obviously, the course content is one important factor in the decision. You can check out the course content in our directory and in the providers’ course descriptions.
However, for many job applicants, a key question is whether employers even know how to assess the online course certificates.
Should you mention a certificate from an online course in your resume and job application?
We Asked Companies for Their Opinion
We contacted a couple of multinational companies about this question. After all, their recruiters are handling hundreds of thousands of applications and resumes every year. So they should already be familiar with MOOCs and other online courses.
Of course, decisions about job offers are always made on an individual basis. However, some general insights about online certificates in the recruiting process are possible.
3 Insights from Recruiters:
1. Certificates from online courses are recognized by employers
Most recruiters from large companies know about online courses and have seen certificates before. If the qualification gained in the online course is relevant, they see certificates as advantageous for an applicant.
2. Job relevance needs to be clear
Several recruiters specifically mentioned that online courses listed on an application should be relevant to the job position. If the online course can be shown to teach relevant skills for the job in question, including certificates on applications can be a good idea.
3. Online courses can show personal commitment
Since online courses are attended mostly voluntarily, this effort shows commitment on the part of the learner. Because recruiters and companies like proactive employees, showing certificates from online courses can support the job application.
Integration into Resume and Online Profiles
Some of the companies we talked to recommend including only a list of the relevant online courses on your resume. Avoid sending all the individual certificates and degrees with your application.
A list of your video learning courses can also be added to your social media profiles such as LinkedIn.
[Please note that all insights mentioned above were generated from interviews with approximately 10 multinational companies headquartered in Germany, such as ThyssenKrupp, Lanxess, and HeidelbergCement. Those insights, however, are believed to apply to any large multinational company.]
Certificates of the Main Course Providers
Most providers will give you a statement of participation (or a certificate for passing an additional test). The certificates often require a fee, even if the course is free.
Obviously, the terminology and available options are constantly changing: therefore, make sure you always check the exact certification option before booking a course.
Recommendation for Your CV / Resume
Most resumes contain a section on education (in addition to the section on work experience).
If you have mastered a relevant online course and have received a certificate, you should list it in this educational section (together with school, university education, etc.).
This is what it could look like on your resume:
January-February 2018: Online course "Game Theory", Stanford University (via Coursera), giving an introduction to game theory (with certificate)
February-March 2018: Online course "Principles of Biochemistry", Harvard University (via edX), teaching the foundations of biochemistry (with certificate)
Edukatico Is Your Search Portal for Online Courses
In our course directory, we list thousands of video-based online courses, MOOCs, and online lectures from 22 subject areas. You can also search for courses that offer certificates.
With our Course Manager, you can organize your online learning across various providers.