Supporting Certification w/ On-The-Job Experiences
While recently speaking with Dice.com President and CEO Scot Melland about IT job search strategies, the topic of certification—of course—was brought up. Although certification is widely considered an easy way to improve technical proficiency, increase your cadre of skills and improve your marketability, Melland said on-the-job experience that coincides with your certification is just as important, if not required.
Having certifications—as you might expect—that are commonly valued, considered noteworthy and correspond with your specified job role will definitely improve one’s marketability—especially considering many employers are posting job listings that stipulate a certain certification is required.
So how do you actually build a portfolio of on-the-job experiences to coincide with your certifications?
Well, the answer should as simple as getting a job, but for budding IT professionals, the answer is more difficult. Melland suggested that budding pros seek contingent positions to earn their on-the-job experience. Because working on short-term projects can lead to future projects or even full-time positions, it is a great way to gain that on-the-job experience to support your certification.
However, you must remember that simply listing a certification on your résumé will not really get you anywhere. Melland said that listing the certification with a description of the skills used on a specific on-the-job experience is much more beneficial not only because potential employers will know that you can perform certain functions, but also because headhunters often use forums, such as Dice.com, to find employees for their clients. And recruiters generally search job forums with specified keywords, which commonly look for on-the-job experience rather than just specific certifications.