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How to explain your MOOC on your CV

Created on Wed, 16/07/2014 - 16:37 by Polly Foster 

Online learning (particularly of the MOOC variety) is still a new thing to many people – including potential employers.

Job interviews can be a bore, but you can get your message across.

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If explained correctly however, there is no doubt that an Open2Study course will be an asset to your CV, making you more attractive to organisations and increasing your chances of landing your dream job. If your MOOC is directly relevant to your chosen career, or if it covers transferable skills that are useful in any role, then it is the perfect way to show that you have the motivation, knowledge and dedication to professional development that organisations love in employees.

But you still need to explain your course so the person reading your CV understands what’s going on. Get it wrong and you could confuse the hiring manager, resulting in your job application going nowhere.  

So what is the best way communicate all your hard work and on your CV?



Have all your MOOC information to hand

Before you even start writing up your CV, it is a good idea to keep a record of all the courses you take. This way, you don’t have to spend time trying to remember details like dates and grades, and you don’t risk forgetting about a course altogether! Your course record could be a simple document where you list each course’s key details, with a sentence or two summarising what you learned. Open2Study does allow you to look back on your completed courses through the My Study Centre portal, but if you are taking MOOCs from various different providers it would be very handy to have all their details saved in the same place.



Here is an example of the information you might find it useful to note down about each course you take:

  • Course name and provider
  • Grade achieved (if applicable)
  • Dates and length of course
  • A brief description of what you studied and learned

So when details from a real course are used, your document will be filled with information that looks like this:

  • User Experience for the Web – Open2Study
  • 98%
  • 05/05/14 – 02/06/14 (4 weeks)
  • An online course on user-centred web design, with emphasis on knowing who your users are, researching how and why they use your website and evaluating the experiences they have of it

When you come to write up your CV, you can refer to this document and all the information you need to include about your MOOCs will be right at your fingertips, saving you a lot of time. Make sure you update this list whenever you take a new course - the whole point is that this document is a total record of all the online learning you have ever done.



Editor’s note: keep an eye out in the coming weeks for our story from Accredible on how to collate and showcase your learning.

Only include what is relevant

So you’ve made a big list of all your courses, but how on earth do you fit this huge amount of information on your CV? The answer is; you don’t. Your CV shouldn’t include every last thing you have ever done, but instead should highlight what is relevant to the position you are applying for. And yes, that means you should be slightly editing your CV for each individual role.

Look at the skills and knowledge in the job description and include the courses that most accurately match these requirements on your CV.



For example, if the job description states that candidates must have an awareness of problem solving then you can prove you have this by including your ‘Negotiation and Conflict Resolution’ Open2Study course on your CV. To really make it clear to the reader, it would be a good idea to link this course to the skill described in the job description, for example:

  • Negotiation and Conflict Resolution – Open2Study
  • 90%
  • 05/05/14 – 02/06/14 (4 weeks)
  • An online course on the theory and practice of negotiating with others to find mutually beneficial solutions to problems. From this I learned problem solving techniques, and applied them in my role as Manager of Bakewell’s Bakery when negotiating the price of ingredients, increasing profits by 10%

You will probably include your course(s) under the ‘Education’ section of your CV, or you could have a section dedicated to ‘Training Courses’ or ‘Professional Development’.



You might be really proud of one of your courses, say Chinese Language and Culture - this is a really impressive and interesting MOOC, but if it is not relevant to this particular role then it is taking up valuable CV space that could be used to talk about something more useful. Of course, this depends on the role you are applying for. For instance, if you are applying for a job teaching English in China then this course is extremely relevant and could even be the focus of your entire application. Make best use of the limited space to really tailor your CV for the job you are applying for.

Have you ever got a job thanks to your MOOCs? What are your CV tips? Let me know in the comments!

Polly Foster is a guest blogger with Open2Study


This post comes to you from our guest blogger, Polly Foster.

A recent graduate, Polly is currently working at the University of Bath helping students develop entrepreneurial skills. Studying digital marketing part-time and with a passion for education, careers and all things creative, she would love to make a living as a freelance writer. Get in touch at pollyfoster91@gmail.com.

Would you like to blog for us? Get in touch using the Feedback tab at the bottom right of this website, with your ideas for a blog post (or two) and some links to samples of your writing.


Hi Raymond. Finding the right way to share your online learning can be tricky. Glad we were able to help.

I'm glad to have read this wonderful piece. I just can't wait to begin my course on Human Resources on 11.AUG.2014. This piece is going to be useful when I complete my course.

Thanks! Found this interesting to read.

I have mine just under the education qualification section to ensure consistency and allow readers of my CV to follow through but I just have them in bullet form because they are quite a lot of courses. Though kept on thinking of changing the bullet listed courses to a small convenient table so I can have three columns showing the course, institution and average score.

This is perfect! I had been wondering how best to present this type of information to potential employers

Great! Glad you got something useful from the story. Let us know how you go with your new improved CV.

Thank you for this very useful information. I think it is back to the drawing board for me to tweek my cv. Thank you for posting.

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Thank you Polly! I am actually on the process of updating my CV and this is really a great help for me since I have couple of online courses that I want to include in it!

The geatest thing here you ever feel is the thirst for knowledge and and when we can apply this in real life.

Very useful information. These courses may offer somebody an added advantage in situations where he/she is applying for a job or an accredited course to study. Success depends on how well your presentation is.

This is very interesting. Though, have been thinking how I'll add it to my CV. Thanks for this info

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NI was looking for nutrition courses offered at Open2Study when I found this invaluable blog. My resume has a break in my dates and I wondered how yo provide a sensible explanation. Your blog offered a good suggestions thank you. It is a good idea to browse through all materials to get a better understanding.

I appreciated reading this information in fact I need to incorporate into my resume. Thanks for the information.

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