Let’s say you’ve finished a slew of business MOOCs. You’ve balanced T-accounts, analyzed throughput, calculated the net present value of an annuity, and considered the finer points of project management. Now you’re ready to leverage your new skill set in your search for a new job.
How do you showcase your MOOC coursework on your resume?
I’ve been asked this question many times – in comments on the blog, in emails from readers, and in interviews with the media. While I don’t have a pat answer, I do have a lot of ideas. In this post, I would like to think through a few options. Then I invite you, readers, to weigh in on which of these you find most promising, or to propose something altogether different.
Option 1: List the courses you’ve taken under the Education section of your resume.
It might look something like this:
Personally, I’m not enamored of this option. You wouldn’t list individual courses from a degree program on your resume, so why list individual MOOCs? To me, it seems unprofessional. Plus, you’re asking the employer to do too much work to try to understand why all this course work is valuable. You took all these courses, so what?
Option 2: List the skills you have acquired in a Skills section of the resume.
It might look like this:
I’m not terribly fond of this option either. To me, this swings too far in another direction; the online coursework that you did totally disappears. The employer doesn’t even get a clue that in order to acquire these new skills you’ve demonstrated creativity, motivation, and discipline. Your innovative approach to continuing education gets buried under a boring list of skills that whoever picks up your resume might not even read.
Option 3: Summary description of the course of study, with brief explanation of learning methods and mention of learning outcomes.
This sounds a bit academic as I’m writing it, but I think the example will show what I mean:
I like this option because I think it does a better job of telling the story of what the student actually did, without asking the employer to do the work of putting the pieces together. This little section on the resume also begs further questions during the interview, so come prepared with some documentation. You might want to print out a couple of certificates from the courses (just to make the point that you finished the courses and did well in them). I would also bring in a copy of one of a number of articles, like this one, talking about how one might put together a complete degree using online courses.
Option 4: Put the MOOC coursework front and center in order to pique the employer’s interest.
This is the option I am currently using on my own resume.
I recognize that this option isn’t fully replicable, as I’ve managed to put myself in a unique position. But I do think others could borrow elements of this approach. For example, if I have featured you on my website, you could insert the link to the blog post in place of the article link. I’ve put this in the Experience section of my resume, but it could just as easily go under Education. Just as with the prior option, I would arrive at the interview equipped with printouts of key materials, prepared to answer detailed questions on what exactly I’ve learned.
I’m interested to hear which of these options for listing MOOC coursework on a resume readers find most appealing, as well as other ideas that I haven’t thought of, or any approach you are already using. And if you’ve managed to use MOOCs to score a new job, let’s hear how you did it!