How to Strengthen Your Resume With MOOCs

Stand Out From the Crowd

By Pat Bowden, published August 22, 2017.

When looking for a new job or career, can taking some MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) improve your resume? The answer is “Yes!”

Some employers won’t know what a MOOC is, or may think that MOOCs are just a way of filling in time. A job application is your chance to show them how valuable your MOOC experience can be to your employer.

Firstly, a caveat: MOOCs cannot magically qualify you for a job if you don’t already have the necessary educational qualifications or experience. What they can do, however, is give you an edge over other candidates so your application will stand out in a highly competitive job market.

Skills and Attributes

If you have successfully completed one or more MOOCs, you can display your skills and attributes in your resume and cover letter. Apart from the improved knowledge you now have in the field, completing a MOOC shows that:

  • You are self-motivated.
  • You are keen to improve yourself and your skills.
  • You can work independently.
  • You are comfortable using a computer or mobile device.
  • You can stick to deadlines. If the course is self-paced, you have proved that you can set your own deadlines and work towards a goal.
  • You have time-management
  • You have organization skills.
  • You can follow tasks through to completion.

Some employers may not believe that MOOCs are worthwhile. After all, they aren’t official qualifications from educational facilities. You can, however, acquire certificates of completion for your courses.

Why Take a MOOC?

Some reasons include:

  • No application process or waiting for approval to do the course, just quick online registration.
  • More flexible. You can choose your own fields of study and courses.
  • The asynchronous format of MOOCs means you are able to study whenever and wherever you can. No more being a slave to the university timetable.
  • If you are using MOOCs as a step towards a career shift or a promotion, you might want to sign up for verification so you can purchase a certificate at the end of your MOOC. You may need to provide photo identification and/or other means of identification such as a sample of your typing pattern so you can be issued with your certificate.
  • Lower cost. Even though there is currently a trend towards series of MOOCs bundled together and marketed as a Specialization, Programme, Micromaster qualification or similar, currently it’s still cheaper than doing a degree as an on-campus student. Individual MOOCs are still available for free (usually referred to as Audit mode) if you don’t need a certificate.

How to Incorporate MOOCs into Your Resume

Having taken a MOOC or several, you now need to include them on your resume:

  • List your completed MOOCs in the education section of your resume.
  • Remember to list skills you have demonstrated by doing the MOOC. Those above are a good generic starting point, and you will have also learned specific skills during the MOOC. Some examples of such skills are programming in Python, business management, or essay writing techniques.

File any certificates you have earned into a folder on your device or in the cloud labelled “Career advancement” or similar. If you have done particularly well in any courses, save a screenshot as evidence of the result as well. Have hard copies available so you can produce them at an interview. Your resume needs to show potential employers why they should employ YOU rather than another candidate. Potential employers may be interested to know exactly what was covered in a course, so have a copy of the syllabus on hand as well.

MOOCs for Jobseekers

Here are some examples of MOOCs available for job seekers:

Other Reasons for Taking MOOCs

Another reason to take a MOOC is to improve your confidence. Some MOOCs can be zipped through fairly quickly, particularly if you already have some knowledge in the field, but others may be hard work. Sticking to a course and completing it will give you a wonderful sense of achievement. You may even want to go over the material more than once, to really consolidate your knowledge.

Some people use MOOCs to start their own business or freelancing enterprise. There are plenty of MOOCs to help you along this road in Business, Management, and Entrepreneurship fields. You may also want to research which careers are predicted to grow in the next several years, perhaps with the help of a trained Careers Adviser.

A Final Thought

After completing many MOOCs, I found my niche in writing and developing this blog. Have you had experience of MOOCs helping you in your career? Tell us about it in the comments section below.