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Will getting a certification help land a job?

If you’ve been out of the job market for a while, or if you’re looking to advance in your career, getting a certification relevant to your field might be just the ticket.

Earning certifications or accreditation shows that you are serious about your field and competent enough to do the job. Some jobs require a certification, while for others it may just be preferred. Additionally, certifications may be accepted by the employer in place of a degree, depending on the position.

Usually, a certification consists of classroom or online training, and then passing a test to show that you have acquired specific knowledge about a particular field of work or technology. Most certification programs require a fee to take the test, along with a fee for the course to prepare you for the test. Certifications can be good for up to three years, and you are often required to have continuing training during those three years in order to maintain your certification.

Getting a certification relevant to your field

Some of the courses and test fees can be expensive, ranging from $100-$500 or even over $1,000. On occasion, a company that requires certification in order to obtain a position may offer you the position so long as you obtain your certification within a specified time. Such companies may also reimburse you for the training and test costs, so long as you pass.

Professional Certification

According to Glassdoor.com, some certifications can make a difference when employers decide who to interview or hire, but “not all certifications are created equal.” They identified six certifications that recruiters and Human Resources staff routinely look for:

  • Human Resources certification
  • Project Management certification
  • Sales certifications
  • Help Desk/Desktop Analyst certifications
  • Network engineering or administration certifications
  • Software specific certifications like Salesforce, Hubspot or Google

According to the Certification and Accreditation Programs Directory, there are more than 1,600 different certifications currently available, so finding one to match your field or interest shouldn’t be too hard.

To find job- or industry-specific certifications, check out CareerOneStop, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.

Need Experience?

Check out our guide to learn how to gain relevant experience after
being out of the workforce for too long.

Online Training

But if a professional certification program isn’t necessary for your industry, or isn’t feasible due to the cost or time commitment, there are some other options to consider when looking to enhance your resume.

For example, Microsoft offers video lessons for Office 365 that cover everything from the basics to advanced training for IT professionals or network administrators.

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) is a listing of free university classes from across the globe. Most of the classes will provide a statement of completion when finished, but they are usually not good for any type of university credit. And even though the class is free, there may be a cost for any type of credential that is issued upon completion. Class topics vary by month, range from one day to several weeks, and cover everything from “Geometric Algorithms” to “Songwriting: Writing the Lyrics.”

Udemy is another website that offers online courses, some free and others starting at $14.99. The topics range from IT & Software to Music. Their Personal Development category has subjects from Leadership to Stress Management, while the Marketing category covers subjects from Search Engine Optimization to Public Relations.

The Muse, an online career resource, has a list of 43 free classes that can help advance your career and WebEmployed.com, a website devoted to earning income online, has updated their 32 Free Online Courses and Certificates for 2019.

Even the government has free training programs through FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute.

Remember, getting certifications or completing online courses demonstrates your drive and discipline, along with your willingness to learn. These are key traits that employers look for because they exhibit your strong character and show the value that you bring to their organization, so be sure to include it on your resume and use to highlight why it makes you a better candidate for the job.


Topics: Establishing a Career, Re-Entering the Workforce