Advance Your Career Instantly: Obtaining an Online Certification

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Between classes, internships and PRSSA, public relations majors are constantly building their resumes to become the top future professional candidate. However, if you’re looking for a winter break challenge or looking to diversify your experience from your peers, there are inexpensive ways to expand your business and communications knowledge.

Online certifications can help give students the extra skills they need to set them apart from other internship/job applicants. To see what certifications fit your needs, look at jobs/internship postings that interest you and see what skills they require. Skills that your resume may lack may be able to be showcased by certification completion! Here are a few online certifications to give your resume a boost in between semesters, or any time:


HubSpot Academy offers a variety of free online certifications. These courses focus on a variety of sales and inbound marketing skills and programs, many of which employees look for in applicants or use day-to-day. In a growing industry focusing on integrated marketing communications, the importance of public relations professionals understanding the fundamentals of sales and marketing is continuously increasing. Additional courses of interest for public relations students explore graphic design and business writing. Currently, HubSpot offers eighteen certifications, with a Brand Engagement Course on the way!


LinkedIn offers a variety of online courses to help professionals and students develop the necessary skills to enhance digital business marketing. Topics range from the basics of Google Analytics to Growth Marketing strategies. Each module is presented in several video modules paired with activities to test and reinforce learning. While the LinkedIn course only takes 19 hours, there is a full AMA Professional Certified Marketer in Digital Marketing that has 39 hours of content.


Google offers a number of certifications, for public relations professionals the three that may be of the most interest include Google Analytics and Google.

Google Analytics provides an overview and training in the popular analytics platform that tracks website data when the program is enabled on a webpage. The platform offers insights on audience demographics, engagement reports and more. The course content is delivered through short quizzes following four hours of video modules. The 70 question examination for certification is free to take and requires an 80% to pass

Google Adwords is highly demanded in marketing. To earn the certification, participants must pass two examinations. While this program is largely advertised as offered through Google Partners, companies who have a relationship with Google Programs, the certification is still available for individuals and students. The program provides an academy to teach content to individuals through about four hours of video and written exercises. Those who have used the program may use this as a review or attempt the exam on without completing the video modules. All individuals must take the fundamentals exam and then can select an additional advertising exam that focuses on many industry-specific topics from shopping to mobile advertising.


Salesforce offers a platform called Trailhead that provides around 120 “trails” for administrators, professionals and even beginner student to sharpen and learn new skills in sales, marketing and business. The platform is a self-paced, customizable learning platform that awards users with “gamified” tasks and awards for advancing their education. Unlike other certifications and online learning platforms, the video modules are typically bite-sized and can be completed in any order to deliver the customized education that learners need to advance their specific career/skills.

Emily Zekonis is a third-year Strategic Communications/Public Relations student at West Virginia University. She currently serves as the Treasurer/Fundraising Chair of WVU PRSSA and Co-Conference Coordinator for West Virginia University’s 2019 Regional Conference. Emily will be graduating in spring 2020 to continue her education at WVU with an M.S. in Integrated Marketing Communications. Follow Emily on Twitter @EmilyZekonis or LinkedIn.

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