I Studied for a Professional Certification But Haven't Passed Yet... Should I Include It On My Resume?

 iStockphoto.com |  Olivier Le Moal

iStockphoto.com | Olivier Le Moal

Certifications can be a big deal. There are certifications for technical folks, the bar exam for attorneys, boards for doctors, even the PHR (Professional in Human Resources) for HR professionals.

If you've studied for a test, and haven't yet passed, should you include the classes you took to study for the exam on your resume?

I consulted with an individual who recruits human resources professionals for global firms. Here’s what he had to say on the matter:

"People that show they went to an HR certification class on their resume but don't have a PHR…It tells me that in almost all cases they took the test and failed. Not so impressive and maybe not even worth listing if you analyze things the way I do."

It’s a judgment call, but it can make sense to include these classes on your resume. Let’s say you studied for a certification and are scheduled to take the exam in two months. Listing the course on your resume shows forward progress.

If, on the other hand, you studied for the exam years ago, and either did not take or pass the certification test, then it’s probably a good idea to leave it off.

Of course, there are exceptions. Let's say there's a job for a procurement specialist who reviews contracts. A law school graduate who didn’t take or pass the bar examination might still be a highly qualified fit for such a role. And the accountant who never attained the CPA may be able to perform many of the duties within an accounting department while continuing to prepare for the test.


Scott Singer is the President and Founder of Insider Career Strategies Resume Writing & Career Coaching, a firm dedicated to guiding job seekers and companies through the job search and hiring process. Insider Career Strategies provides resume writing, LinkedIn profile development, and career coaching services, including a free resume review. You can email Scott Singer at scott.singer@insidercs.com, or via the website, www.insidercareerstrategies.com.

Ways To Kill Time During Interview Breaks

 iStockphoto.com |  shironosov

iStockphoto.com | shironosov

 

You're invited to interview for your dream job. On the agenda ithere's a 30-minute time slot labelled "Break."  This means that they couldn't find somebody to fill that period of time, and they need to park you in a conference room or the lobby for a while.

You should plan for downtime, and how to use it. Keep in mind that even if you're not in an interview, the company will still be watching how you respond. Here are some suggestions to  occupy your time:

  • Prior to the interview, print the job description, the agenda, relevant articles about the company, and the LinkedIn profiles of your interviewers. Bring them. Read them. Should someone pass by, they'll see you're taking your day seriously.
     
  • Bring (an appropriate) magazine to read. People will consider what you're reading - if you're interviewing for a job as a fashion buyer, flipping through Vogue won't hurt your case.
     
  • Review your employment application for accuracy. Any mistakes can cause problems during a background check.
     
  • Take inventory of the business cards you received during your interviews. When you're getting ready to send thank you notes, you'll need names and addresses and you can ask the Corporate Recruiter at the end of the day for the information of anyone you may have missed.
     
  • Ask for a nature break. Gotta go? This is the time. Return promptly in case the next interviewer is ready.


A few other things to consider:

  • Resist the urge to check your phone. It's tempting – you really want to know what's going on at work while you're out, but don't do it. Your phone should be off from the moment you arrive at the interview. What if you forget to turn it off and it rings during an interview? Even worse, what if you jump on a call during your break, the next interviewer arrives, and you can't get off the phone?
     
  • Don't get too casual. Keep a professional posture. Don't assume nobody is watching - the interviewers will be.
     
  • Never assume there will be something to occupy you where you wait. Be prepared with something to read. Staring into space because you've got nothing to look at makes you look like you're on a bad acid trip.

Scott Singer is the President and Founder of Insider Career Strategies Resume Writing & Career Coaching, a firm dedicated to guiding job seekers and companies through the job search and hiring process. Insider Career Strategies provides resume writing, LinkedIn profile development, and career coaching services, including a free resume review. You can email Scott Singer at scott.singer@insidercs.com, or via the website,

The Curious Case Of The Career As A Pit Crew Member

 iStockphoto.com |  kirstypargeter

iStockphoto.com | kirstypargeter

 

Careers can be funny things. They often go in directions we never anticipate.

In college I was convinced I wanted to become a journalist. I took the appropriate classes, and after graduation applied to journalist jobs. I was excited when I found a job as the crime and government reporter at a small newspaper in a small city in Michigan.

It didn't take long (five months) for me to leave the profession. I liked the writing, I just didn't like the job itself and what it entailed. So I went back to school for an MBA and after graduation embarked on a career in recruitment. Today, I'm a resume writer and career coach.

For those of you counting at home, that's three different professions. And if you had asked me at the very beginning of my career if I wanted to be a staffing manager or a resume writer, I was so naïve and unaware of the world around me that I had no idea either such career path even existed.

The other day I stumbled across a fascinating article on Jalopnik, "How People Become Part of a NASCAR Pit Crew."

Performance cars need a lot of maintenance during a race. After so many laps around the track, the car will roll into the pit (maintenance) area. The pit crew swarms around the car. They jack up the car, change the tires, fill the gas tank, and make repairs. Then the car speeds off and continues the race.

I always thought race teams used mechanics as pit crew members. Some do. But consider this – the whole process takes no longer than 15 or 16 seconds (that's considered long). That's not much time for critical work that requires a great deal of speed and agility. And mechanics aren't always the right fit.

Enter athletes. Elite athletes spend an inordinate amount of time and effort developing their speed and agility. NASCAR got smart, realized that being in a pit crew was an athletic job, and that they could recruit and train athletes to be professional pit members.

Per the article:

"Amongst those 33 crew members [surveyed], more than half did college athletics and another 21 percent did amateur, semi-pro, Olympic or professional sports. Together, nearly three-fourths of the group came from some kind of serious sporting background outside of racing. Only 6 percent had racing backgrounds, and only 6 percent were listed with no athletic background at all."

Even more telling was that only six percent of crew members had a mechanical background, and that only 15 percent stated their "career goal was to be in racing."

Another 46 percent were recruited, scouted, introduced, or lived in the area of the work. In other words, they most likely either had no idea the job of a pit crew member existed or had no idea how they would break into it.

Bottom line: It's a big world out there, with countless vocational possibilities. You may not have found the right career. But don't lose hope - your career may find you!

 iStockphoto.com |  maccj

iStockphoto.com | maccj


Scott Singer is the President and Founder of Insider Career Strategies Resume Writing & Career Coaching, a firm dedicated to guiding job seekers and companies through the job search and hiring process. Insider Career Strategies provides resume writing, LinkedIn profile development, and career coaching services, including a free resume review. You can email Scott Singer at scott.singer@insidercs.com, or via the website,