Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Certifiably Skilled: Increase Your Skill Base Through Professional Certifications

"Prove it."

Two words that separate those who can walk the talk from those that just talk. You can testify up and down that you can use the concatenate function in Excel or are an excellent medical assistant, but it doesn't mean anything until the rubber meets the road and you prove it. In today's job market successful candidates are the ones who invest in their careers. Putting yourself through school is an obvious investment, but so is refining your skills as they directly pertain to the functions of your field. This is where certifications come in. Obtaining certifications add value to you as a potential employee by demonstrating you know basic and advanced skills. Here are three reasons why certifications are a great idea:

Boost your skills: You may think that you are proficient at, say, Microsoft Office, but are you a master in the eyes of Microsoft? This can only be done by taking their Microsoft Office Specialist Certification program! Companies such as Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, and many others have created certification curriculums to provide a structured means of mastering their products. This isn't to say that there aren't uncertified gurus out there, but the "thumbs up" directly from the company who created the product is a boost of confidence to employers that you know what you're doing.

Credentialize: In some fields, obtaining a certification is a way of gaining credentials. Medical assistants and massage therapists, for example, get letters to put after their names once they complete their certifications. The credentialing could be a part of a licensure requirement directed by the state to be able to work in that field, or it could just be a demonstration of advanced skills. Regardless, those extra letters could translate into extra opportunities whether you are in the job market or currently working.

Market yourself: Taking a certification exam is no easy feat; it requires acquired knowledge and discipline to study for the exam. With a certification you are not only demonstrating proficient skills, you are showing your dedication and commitment to your field and your personal growth as well as fortitude, sacrifice, and goal-accomplishment. You would be remiss if you didn't market these qualities of character to an interviewee or your supervisor as you discuss future career opportunities. Don't let this one slip by!

Never fear if the technology-heavy certification examples above have you feeling out of the certification loop; there are certification opportunities available in nearly every field, whether or not it requires a computer. Do some internet investigating and invest in your future through a certification.

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