Most people have a certain set of skills that can be applied towards their career. Some are handy with a wrench, while others are a prodigy in the kitchen. There are also those that can diagnose a computer problem without having to seek out an IT specialist, and those that can look under the hood of a car and make repairs on the spot without needing a mechanic.
Having a skillset is one thing, but you also need to have the skill certified with a piece of paper in order to make your specialty stand out to employers. Skill certification is important to turn your talent into a legitimate and sustainable means of employment.
Why You Should Get Certified
Some people hone their craft through self-taught lessons, others learn from their parents, friends, or coworkers. While these types of informal training are extremely useful and can even be included in a resume, employers are typically not impressed unless they can see that you have some form of formal education. This doesn’t mean, however, that you need to go back to school, at least not in the traditional sense.
Earning a Certificate in Lieu of a Degree
The predominant thinking appears to be that unless you have a four-year degree, you have very little chances of making your resume stand out. Yes, a degree obtained from a formal academic institution is a wonderful advantage. However, attending a university – even online – is simply too time consuming and cost prohibitive for many of us. A certificate, on the other hand, is far more practically achieved, and the courses for such often allow for greater flexibility.
Benefits of a Certification
Yes, some employers may give a degree more precedence, but most care more about the skills you have and how you can apply them in a real world setting. A degree says that you successfully completed some lecture courses centered on theory, satisfactorily completed a written exam or two, and that’s about it. A certification, on the other hand, is often more indicative having learned learning a skill directly and is ultimately what most employers care about.
A Certificate is More Feasible to Obtain
To earn a degree, you are often relegated to a time frame and have to complete additional courses hardly related to your field to fulfill some general education requirements. That is additional time and fees towards courses that have nothing to do with the skills you are trying to learn. With certification courses, you learn exactly what it is you need without tacking extra, unrelated studies to your schedule.
While there may be some Web conferences you are required to attend, the bulk of the material can be absorbed at your own pace without any stringent deadlines. Depending on the specific course and field, most certificate programs can be completed in as little as a month or two and nearly all can be completed in under a year.
A Certificate is Like a Shortcut to a Degree
A certificate is a means to an end to make yourself a greater prospect to employers that are comparing your resume with dozens of others. Even if you make it known on your CV that you are versed in a specific skill, employers still want validation, and a certificate is a great way to show that without having to put your career on hold for up to four years to obtain a degree.
Online short courses are the most valid way to obtain a certificate without wasting unnecessary time and money. Any investment made towards obtaining a certificate will pay dividends for the career-driven job seeker.
Audrey Thompson is a freelance blogger with an interest in business topics related to HR, management best practices and employee motivation. She is currently writing on behalf of mytraining.net, a site specializing in training courses.