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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.

The 6 Traits Hiring Managers Really Want

iStockphoto.com | Monkeybusinessimages

iStockphoto.com | Monkeybusinessimages

 

While every hiring manager tends to look for something a little different in a candidate for their open job, here are the six traits I've consistently seen managers look for as they conduct interviews.

TRAIT #1: Job Skills and Qualifications
REASON: Seems like a no-brainer, right? But when an employee doesn't work out because they don't possess the basic requirements of the job, it can be painful (and costly) for the organization to either coach the individual up or replace them. Since hiring can be risky, hiring managers often fall back to passing on an individual if they aren't sure they have the technical and people skills.
HOW TO SHINE: Read the job description before the interview; it will give you a very clear idea of the hard and soft skills the employer needs for the role. Eliminate the hiring manager's doubt by preparing and providing concrete examples of how you have used these skills in the past.

TRAIT #2: Likeability
REASON: No secret here. People like to work with people they like, who fit into the culture of the organization. Since a hiring manager will be spending more than a third of their life with anyone they hire and team chemistry matters, they may prioritize personality as highly as they do technical skills.
HOW TO SHINE: Use the manners your mother and father gave you. Smile. Be polite. Dress nicely for the interview. Send thank you notes. Come armed with great job references from former managers and coworkers who can gush at length about what a pleasure it was to work with you. And do your research about the culture of the company, so that you can talk about how well you'll fit in.

TRAIT #3: Team Orientation
REASON: Does the candidate know how to work well with others? In this age of cross-functional collaboration, teamwork isn't just a nice-to-have, it's essential.
HOW TO SHINE: Demonstrate that you've been able to move seamlessly into different working relationships based upon the needs of the situation. Talk about the times you've led,  the times you've been led, and how you've partnered successfully with your peers to get the job done.

TRAIT #4: Energy
REASON: The workplace tends to be a fast paced environment with heavy expectations, and a low-energy interview may work against a candidate. A calm and measured demeanor may be great for some roles (librarians and brain surgeons come to mind), but positions with rapid-fire deadlines require a bit more pizazz.
HOW TO SHINE: Convey a sense of excitement and animation during the interview. Sit forward in your chair. Provide examples of how you dealt with tight deadlines, adapted to fast-moving work environments, and successfully brought programs to conclusion.

TRAIT #5: Adaptability
REASON: Companies change priorities – often – and they need employees who can change right along with them. If hired, how will the candidate deal with frequent reorganizations, new assignments, and shifting deadlines?
HOW TO SHINE: Talk about the times you've had to adjust to shifting responsibilities and expectations, and how you managed to succeed in spite of these.

TRAIT #6: Growth Potential
REASON: In other words, is the candidate promotable, or will they spend the rest of their life in the role for which they get hired? Managers are often judged for their ability to identify and groom the next superstar.
HOW TO SHINE: Provide examples of people you've managed, mentored, and coached. Make sure your resume shows career progression, with added responsibility over a period of time. Were you an individual contributor (i.e., non-manager)? Talk about projects you've managed.


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.

8 Simple Time Saving Strategies Every Job Hunter Should Know

Time often CAN be more valuable than money... (iStockphoto.com/ kmlmtz66)

Time often CAN be more valuable than money... (iStockphoto.com/kmlmtz66)

Looking for a new job, but pressed for time? Here are eight great time saving strategies that every job seeker can use to streamline the job search and build some forward momentum.

  1. Tell people you're looking for a job. It may not occur to people in your network to tell you about a new job opening at their office if they believe you're happily employed. Informing your friends and family that you're ready for a career change may turn them into your job scouts.
     
  2. Ask for referrals. Many companies reward their employees for introducing talent to the organization, in the form of a substantial referral bonus. If you have a friend who works at a company you've been eyeing, don't be afraid to ask them to submit your resume. Of course, use tact and don't be pushy about it – they'd be doing you a favor, and would be staking their reputation on you.
     
  3. Call a headhunter who has placed you with an employer in the past. Again, you may not be on their radar. But if they were successful in placing you before, they may be willing and able to consider you for a new job.
     
  4. Set up job alerts. All the major job boards, including LinkedIn and Indeed, and several others, allow you to set up notifications so that they email you as positions matching your search criteria are posted. There are a lot of job boards; by setting up alerts, you only have to visit each board when there's a reason to do so.
     
  5. Become an "Open Candidate" on LinkedIn. Recruiters are constantly combing LinkedIn for candidates for their open job. LinkedIn in late 2016 added a feature, called Open Candidate, where you can signal recruiters in target companies that you're actively looking for a job, without notifying your current employer.
     
  6. Get a LinkedIn Premium subscription. LinkedIn advertises that as a benefit of being a paid subscriber, you will be a "Featured Applicant," where "Your job application will appear above job applications from non-Premium members, increasing your chances of having it viewed." I'm not sure exactly how high you'll appear on any given search, but if this benefit pushes you toward page 1 or 2 of search results, there's a much better chance a recruiter will take a look at your profile.
     
  7. Add keywords to your LinkedIn profile. There's a "Skills & Endorsements" section on your LinkedIn profile, but what recruiters really search is the profile text. A brief section in your "Summary" section that includes a list of your skills, separated by bullets or commas, will make your profile a better match for recruiter searches.
     
  8. Attend a job fair. Yes, you'll probably spend most of the day there, but think of the time you'll save. When you apply to jobs online, there's a 5% to 10% chance (a rough estimate) that a recruiter or a hiring manager looks at your resume. However, when you hand your resume to a company representative at a job fair, there's a 100% chance it will get reviewed – in fact, they're usually going to spend a couple minutes interviewing you as well. Multiply this by the 100 or so employers you get to meet that day, and you're looking at time very efficiently spent.

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.