Which Types of Continued Learning Can You List on a Resume?

Continuing Education_Compressed

It seems as though every day a new online course platform pops up. These schools, known as Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs for short, are open to anyone who wants to enroll and pay for the course, no applications required. There are several popular platforms for interested individuals to choose from, like CourseEra, which charges you monthly if you want a certificate for the courses you take, and EdX, which charges per course.

Others include Udemy, FutureLearn, and OpenLearning. Many of these MOOCs have even teamed up with renowned universities across the globe to present continued learning classes and even entire mini programs, called MicroMasters, on specific topics. And while these continued learning opportunities are easy to access and many are quite affordable, the real question is, can you list these courses on your resume? And if you do so, what will recruiters in the biotech field think of them?

Issues with Continued Learning Courses

MOOCs are an easily accessible way to learn new skills, but recruiters and hiring managers don’t always look at them in the same light because there are a few issues to contend with, such as:

  • They Are Open to Everyone – Unlike a traditional college, where students need to apply and get accepted, anyone can take one of these courses, as long as they have the money and time. Because of this lack of exclusivity, many recruiters don’t view them through the same lens as a traditional degree.
  • A Lack of Accreditation – Although the courses are designed and taught by professors at accredited schools, like MIT and Harvard, the MOOCs themselves aren’t held to any specific standards, so this doesn’t quite put them on the same level as an original school course.
  • Assignments Can Vary – Many MOOC courses have built-in assignments, like readings, informative videos and discussion boards. Some may or may not have other assignments to complete, like tests, quizzes and written papers, but the requirements needed to pass the course and receive a certificate can vary quite a bit, leaving hiring managers to wonder which ones are truly on par and which ones are simply time fillers.
  • You Can’t Always Prove That You Took the Course – Some MOOCs offer a certificate of completion that you can list on your LinkedIn profile or place on your resume. However, verifying these credentials isn’t easy, and sometimes there is no way to prove you took the course other than your payment records.

Placing Them on Your Resume

The good news is that although there are some issues with taking classes or receiving a MicroMasters from an MOOC, you can still list these courses on your resume. They should be placed in a section alongside any other continuing education courses that you take. However, the emphasis still needs to be placed on your degrees from accredited colleges, as well as your work experience. Think of the MOOC courses as a nice addition or complement to your overall skillset and proof that you are an active learner. While they won’t be weighted as heavily as your other degrees and what you’ve accomplished professionally, they are worth including, especially if those courses have enhanced the existing knowledge that you need for your current career in biotech.

What Taking Extra Courses Says About You

Even though recruiters may not look solely at the courses or even MicroMasters degrees that you’ve received, they won’t discount them entirely. After all, spending the time outside of work to learn new things shows them that you’re a dedicated go-getter who has plenty of initiative. You want to enhance your knowledge and continue fine-tuning what you already know, investing in your career along the way. Those are the types of employees that want to get ahead in their biotech field, which makes them much more appealing to hiring managers. To put it simply, listing these courses on your resume can make you a better, more well-rounded candidate that they, in turn, want to invest in.

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