Two people with similar qualifications apply for the same job. Either, both, or neither may get shortlisted. Now, add a professional certification to the mix. There’s a chance that the hiring manager might review more closely the resume of the person with the additional certification. But will it get you the job?
(Photo Credit: David Blackwell/Flickr)
Professional certifications look good on a resume, but companies don’t hire resumes. Credentials alone won’t get you a job. I’m not saying that certifications aren’t worth it, but there are a few points to keep in mind, before investing time and money on “up-skilling” yourself.
1. The credibility of the certifying authority is more important than the certification itself.
Here’s the truth – almost all employers prefer someone with a professional qualification, but there are tons of institutes offering truckloads of certification programs, and – you guessed it – they’re not all equal. Only certifications from the most reputed institutes are valued. If you are unsure of institutes that certify in your area, join groups in your specializations or search for people in your field on LinkedIn to understand the kind of certifications they have.
2. If it’s not current, it’s not worth it.
The problem with technical certifications is that they get outdated as soon as the technology goes out of date. You need to keep updating your certifications and retaking tests for newer versions to stay up-to-date and have relevant skills.
3. If you haven’t worked hard on it, it’s hardly useful.
There are many certifications that you can get, just by attending a session, or participating in a workshop. If you haven’t taken tests, gone through course materials, paid for taking the tests – i.e., if you haven’t actually made any real effort in getting the certifications – they’re probably not that valuable. As they say, easy come, easy go.
4. You need to know your stuff.
While a certification may get you shortlisted, you are bound to be tested at the interview stage. If you are lucky enough to escape that, then you’re surely under the scanner when you’re on the job. So you need to know the subject of your certification in greater detail than just “learning” it to pass the test.
5. Make sure it’s related
Apart from certain certifications like Six Sigma or PMP certifications, which can be applied to many functions, few others are relevant across specializations and industries. So don’t just get a certification because it’s the “in” thing. Make sure it is related to your field and relevant to your career aspirations.
Tell Us What You Think
Have you taken any certifications? Do you think it’s helped you? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.