Job Seeker Blog - Spark Hire

Industry Certifications: Take Them or Leave Them?

Industry certifications are almost always a bonus for any resume. Obviously, collegiate credentials and working experience is often important too, but these kind of special certifications can be the one little detail that sets you apart from your competition. Explore what is out there in your field, and what seems to be “trending”, so to speak. For example, in the Human Resources industry the PHR and/or SPHR certifications mean new levels of guaranteed credibility and a median salary increase between $7,000 and $20,000. Take a look at what industry certificates are beneficial and how you can get started on earning them.

In the medical industry pharmacy, veterinary and opthalmic technicians, medical coders and a wide range of nursing positions come with their own special certification options- many of which are even required for consideration nowadays. Likewise, tradesmen, machinists and even general laborers can showcase their abilities via mechanical skill assessments, machining and tool operation licenses and/or certifications of special safety training courses. Another area for easy certification to showcase among all industries would be any kind of software proficiency class completion, proficiency, etc. For example, if you are an office manager who knows, but maybe doesn’t regularly utilize, Lotus,  AS400 database or business shorthand these should still be shown on your resume among any other qualifications.

If you’ve not delved into this area of professional development yet, the first thing to do is to research what professional organizations are pertinent to your industry. Look for national organizations and check that they post accredited research and live workshops of some sort. Like anything else, there are going to be scam artists out there since most of these certifications cost a pretty penny. Another way to learn is by asking if there are any specialized skills or trainings that made one candidate stand out above you if you are turned down for a position. Also, you might scour available job postings in your industry and make a list of what types of specialties are listed. Then, research them and decide what is most relevant to your particular niche.

Next, prepare your schedule and finances. Like any educational component, these certifications will cost money. Hopefully from your research you know how much to anticipate so you can start saving ASAP. Also, make note of what the anticipated timeline for completion will be. Sometimes educational credit hours are a part of the process and may take several months to earn. Again, like any education it will be something to earn with both time and money invested.

Then you’ll want to start taking practice tests. Some of these will cost money as well. Prepare as much as you can so that you’ll feel confident when you go in for your first try at the real thing!

One last important note is that not all certifications require a test or financial investment. For example, a forklift certification is generally acquired via on-the-job training and supervision. Take advantage of any opportunity to further your skill set, especially when your employer offers it to you.

IMAGE: Courtesy of Fog

Jesika Moffitt

Jesika works as a Recruiter & Placement Manager for a staffing service. She has an M.A. in Corporate & Organizational Communication from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and hopes to teach someday soon.