How to Boost Your Career Credentials Without Going Back to School

Published June 04, 2014

| Glassdoor

Have you been applying for jobs you’re completely qualified for, yet still haven’t had any success? It could be the fact that there are even more qualified candidates who are beating you to the punch.

If you’re struggling to outshine your competition, your credentials (or lack thereof) could be preventing you from landing a job. Improving your credentials is absolutely necessary for a successful job search. Employers want to hire candidates who have made the continuous effort to improve and learn new skills. However, the only way you’re going to do this is by putting forth the extra effort into professional development.

When it comes to improving your credentials, many job seekers feel like that need to go back to school. However, what you don’t realize is the number of opportunities available that provide you with professional development during your job search.

As you continue your job search, here are some ways you can boost your credentials without having to go back to school or take a break from your search:

1. Earn an accreditation.

Earning an accreditation in your field is an excellent way to enhance your career. It gives you the opportunity to not only build credibility for yourself, but to also become recognized for your knowledge, experience, and accomplishments. Plus, you’ll be able to enhance your professional image without having to pay the extra money to go to graduate school.

Earning an accreditation can be a time-consuming process and often requires you to have about five years of experience. Every accreditation program is different, however, most involve a series of presentations, tests, and evaluations by experts in your field.  Although going through this process is time-consuming, it’s an excellent way to show employers you are fully invested in your career.

2. Become certified in a unique skill.

Certifications are an excellent what to improve your credentials. Especially if you can become certified in a unique skill or program in your field, this will make you more marketable to employers.

As you look at job postings, search for skills and knowledge of specific programs employers desire. If you see skills and programs consistently appearing in job postings, consider becoming certified in that skill. This way when you apply for a job and have a certification in a desired skill, it’ll make you a much more desirable candidate to employers.

3. Enter a professional competition.

Entering a competition is a great way to get involved with something you’re passionate about and to truly challenge yourself. It’s easy to get caught up in your job search and forget about what you love about your field. By entering a competition, you’ll give yourself the opportunity to work on something you want to, and even have the chance to be recognized for your success.

Competitions give you the opportunity to have your creative work judged, become recognized by professionals, and of course, add another accomplishment to your resume. This type of involvement will show employers you take initiative, which is a trait many desire.

Now, in the event you lose the competition, don’t think it all goes to waste. You’re going to have the opportunity to work on a project you love and have a finished project to add to your portfolio. Your efforts will show employers you are actively seeking opportunities in your field and want to showcase what you can do outside of the workplace.

4. Take advantage of opportunities for professional development.

Regardless of where you are in your career and job search, you can always be improving as an individual as well as a professional. Job seekers who make the commitment to become continuous learners are the ones who are more likely to land jobs. So, what are you waiting for?

Whether it’s an online class or attending a conference, these are opportunities to help you improve your skills and stay informed about your industry. You will keep your skills fresh and maintain your competitiveness as you apply for jobs. These opportunities will also help you build your portfolio and provide more experiences to share with employers during interviews.

There’s no better time than now to begin pursuing relevant certifications and making a name for yourself through professional development. Your initiative to build your credibility will show employers you are driven, passionate, and ready to bring results.

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