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Jump Start Your Career With A Professional Certification

iStockphoto.com (  SvetaZi )

iStockphoto.com ( SvetaZi )

 

If you're looking to move forward in your career, a certification can be a quick and cost effective way to sharpen your skills, improve your market value, and get some additional letters to place after your name on your LinkedIn profile and business card.

According to the U.S. Department of labor's CareerOneStop, "A certification is a credential that you earn to show that you have specific skills or knowledge. They are usually tied to an occupation, technology, or industry. Certifications are usually offered by a professional organization or a company that specializes in a particular field or technology."

Depending on the credential, the certification process can range anywhere from detailed and tedious, to a brief online course and test. It's faster than pursuing an additional college degree, and can often be done online per your own schedule. So, if you're looking to elevate your game, consider pursuing a certification to round out or solidify your credentials. Depending upon your specific field, here some certifications from which to choose. This list is by no means exhaustive.

PROJECT MANAGEMENT
Project Management Professional (PMP): The leading certification for project managers. It's not easy to get, but it's highly valued.
Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM): Not as in-depth as the PMP, but also quite good.

HUMAN RESOURCES
Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) and Certified Professional (SHRM–CP): Designations denoting different levels of expertise as evaluated by the leading body in HR.
Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) and Professional in Human Resources (PHR): Different certifying body (HRCI), similar credentials to SHRM-SCP and SHRM-CP.

MARKETING
American Marketing Association Professional Certified Marketer (PCM): Specializations in Digital Marketing, Content Marketing, and Marketing Management.

ENGINEERING
Professional Engineer (PE): The National Society of Professional Engineers offers this designation to demonstrate a higher level of competency in the field.

QUALITY
Six Sigma: There's a ton of certifying bodies for Yellow Belt, Green Belt, and Black Belt certifications. Supply chain, logistics, engineering, and business professionals can leverage a Six Sigma qualification to demonstrate an ability to use a methodical approach to solve problems and improve quality.
ASQ Certification: More of quality discipline oriented credential granted by a governing body.

WRITING & EDITING
Poynter ACES Certificate in Editing: If you have any interest in working in writing or publishing, this can help you elevate your game. Editing and proofreading have their own language and best practices.

This list is just a sampling. The information technology field, for example, has certifications for tons of technologies, security protocols, and systems. Even we resume writers and career coaches have our own credentials. Go online and do some research. Chances are your chosen field has credentials which can help you more forward in your career!


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.insidercs.com.

3 Important Ways Recruiters Use LinkedIn

iStockphoto.com ( Jirsak )

iStockphoto.com (Jirsak)

 

Did you know LinkedIn is a major recruiting tool?

There are more than 467 million user accounts in LinkedIn, all of which are professionally oriented; in other words, one in every 17 people on planet earth has a LinkedIn account, making the system fertile ground for recruiters to find potential candidates for open jobs.

If you'd like to get noticed on LinkedIn, it's important to know how these same recruiters use the system to search for talent.

Here are 3 Important Ways Recruiters Use LinkedIn!

  1. THEY SEARCH THROUGH EVERY PROFILE TO FIND PEOPLE TO FILL THEIR OPEN JOBS. While nonpaying (i.e., free account) LinkedIn users have limited ability to see and contact individuals outside their first-level connections, companies pay dearly (around $9,000 annually, per user) to obtain universal access to almost the full population of members. Also, some companies use LinkedIn as their only recruitment platform; if you don't have a profile, you'll miss out on potential job opportunities.
     
  2. THEY BUILD PROFILE SEARCHES BASED UPON A VARIETY OF KEYWORDS. Have you ever wondered why LinkedIn encourages you to fill in all the fields on your profile? It's because recruiters fill out a combination of fields and Boolean searches with their criteria to identify qualified candidates. Keywords in your headline, summary, job description, education, skills, and other fields can all be searched and found. If you're serious about being considered for career opportunities, you should also be serious about building a profile sprinkled liberally with keywords and job skills.
     
  3. THEY DECIDE WHETHER TO LOOK AT YOUR PROFILE BASED UPON YOUR HEADLINE AND PICTURE. After running a profile search in LinkedIn, recruiters will be presented with a list of candidates; featured most prominently for each individual are their headline and picture. A snappy, descriptive headline and a professional, three-quarters profile photo will make a great impression and invite a deeper look. Fail to impress, and you may get passed over.

Rodney Apple, Managing Partner at SCM Talent Group, and Katie Kurz, Marketing & Recruiting Ambassador at SCM Talent Group, contributed to this article. If you're interested in learning more about how you can optimize your LinkedIn profile for your career search, you can view our webinar on this topic here: https://youtu.be/zpfTYpupqUE

NOTE: In case you were wondering, I am in no way affiliated with LinkedIn other than as a paying user, and for my subscription I pay rack rate. But I've been using the system since its early days and while there are things about it I don't love, I firmly believe in its power as both a job search and recruitment tool.


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.insidercs.com.

New Year, Boost Your Career! 9 Strategies For A Successful 2017

Yahoo!!! (iStock.com)

Yahoo!!! (iStock.com)

It's the end of 2016. And what an interesting year it's been – please join me in welcoming 2017!

Many people use the new calendar year to mark a new beginning. If boosting your career is part of your agenda, here are X strategies you can use to position yourself for a promotion, or get that new job you've wanted.

1. Maximize Your Annual Performance Appraisal. Most employers do performance evaluations in the beginning of the year. Come prepared with your list of accomplishments. Quantify the value you've brought the company. If you're angling for a promotion, a strong performance appraisal is essential. Go in with your eyes open - if you're surprised by what you hear from your manager during your review, you haven't truly been paying attention to feedback throughout the year. If there are any development opportunities identified during the review, own them and discuss how you have worked to overcome them and plan to correct them going forward.

2. Create An Individual Development Plan (IDP). An IDP is a tool to help you in your personal development. Prepared in conjunction with your manager, it documents your strengths, your weaknesses, and your career goals, explores career possibilities, identifies training opportunities, and provides you with a road map how you plan to get there. Preparing and adhering to an IDP also serves the critical function of reinforcing to your organization's leadership your commitment to your professional development. It's also a good opportunity to ask yourself if you really want a promotion and all the headaches which accompany it. Also, here some specific strategies you can follow to prepare yourself for that promotion.

3. Find A Mentor. It can be helpful to find somebody inside or outside your company who has achieved career-wise what you are looking to do. A good mentor is helpful because they aren't typically your manager (so you can be freer to discuss concerns and personal areas of development) and they can provide you an outside perspective as well as helpful guidance.

4. Benchmark Your Skill Set. It's helpful to know what the job market looks like for professionals such as yourself. Check out the job listings on LinkedIn and Indeed. Take a look at what you could earn with another employer by using salary data on Salary.com or Paysa. You might find out that your current employer is compensating you quite well and above market averages; or, not so much. Do you know some agency recruiters (i.e., headhunters) who work in your field? Pick their brains about the job market, too.

5. Get Your Resume In Shape. It doesn't matter whether or not you're planning to leave your current company. Even if you're applying for an internal opportunity at your employer, or you've been tapped to interview for a promotion, you'll need a resume which reflects your accomplishments and personal growth, and is strategically targeted for the job you're hoping to get. Here are 6 things you can do to strengthen your resume today.

6. Polish Your Interviewing Skills. Again, even if you have no intention of leaving your company, it's become increasingly common to have employees interview with their own organization's leaders if they're being considered for an internal move or a promotion. Learn as much as you can about behavioral interviewing - that's when an interviewer asks you about how you've dealt with a difficult situation in the past to get an idea about how you would handle it in the future. Here are some additional ways to make the interview work for you.

7. Network. Your reputation is only as good as what people hear, and if they're not hearing anything about you, then you really don't have a reputation to speak of. Join the board of the local chapter of your professional trade group. Volunteer with a nonprofit. Attend those college alumni events. You don't necessarily need to work a room to get noticed, either. Often, familiarity breeds awareness of your career and your skills, and you'll often find that people will keep you in mind and recommend you if they hear of any appropriate job opportunities. And yes, connecting and engaging with your peers on LinkedIn certainly counts as networking. Want to get noticed on LinkedIn? Here are some tips.

8. Keep Learning. Considering how quickly the required skills are changing due to technological advances, it's lethal to stop upgrading your skills. Take classes through your trade group. Go back for your Master's degree. Take a course on Coursera or LinkedIn Learning. If you don't know the essential emerging technology in your field, it's guaranteed that somebody else will know it – and they'll be a more desirable job candidate. All other factors being equal, skills trump all.

9. Dress The Part. Your appearance speaks volumes. People perceive your professionalism through your attire. Take the opportunity to upgrade your wardrobe, and reinforce your manager's and your peers' positive impression of you. It might be time to put the jeans away, and wear a nice pair of slacks.

Here's to a prosperous 2017!


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.insidercs.com.