Develop an Edge and Expand Your Skill Set
Deciding to get a professional certificate can involve several factors such as, your industry, your interests, your network, and how you would ultimately like to grow in each of these areas. Although certificates demand additional time, energy, and investment, they are likely to pay off by translating to better, more consistent projects, as well as greater visibility and rewards for your work.
When deciding which professional certificate might be right for you, consider your specific goals first: are you hoping to take on more responsibility, advance within your organization, grow your own independent business, or make a jump to a different industry altogether? Whatever the case, many resources and options are readily available—so let’s examine what you could gain from a certificate and why.
1) Grow your marketable skills and gain credibility
Learning and testing new skills can set you apart as a curious self-starter who takes their own development seriously. Being proactive about where you’d like to grow can not only show managers a stronger degree of commitment, but also help them be more targeted and effective in developing and mentoring you. If you work independently, industry-backed certificates can help you to establish a stronger sense of credibility when pitching and bidding for projects with clients.
2) Explore new ways to leverage your skills
Exploring new areas for growth can inject more energy and creativity into the work you’re already doing. While pursuing a certificate allows you to expand your toolkit, it could also provide a new lease on how you can leverage core skills. In the learning process, you may discover a new way of approaching a historical issue that creates a stronger solution.
3) Enhance your standing while contributing to your team
Pursuing a certificate is a great way to show your manager, team, and organization that you are considering how to stay flexible, competitive, and ahead of the curve as both an individual and team player. It can also help position you as a more agile and adaptive resource, capable of applying your expertise across new and diverse contexts. Looking for higher pay? It could help with that, too. One study found certain certificates carried an 18% premium for salary.
4) Clarify your career plan
If you’re considering a professional certificate, you’re probably already thinking about how you want to advance your career and by when. It’s also crucial to consider the roles and organizations where you think your new skills will be most effectively put it to use. Though these questions can be complex and evolving, they invite you to sharpen next steps and longer-term career goals, as well as chart your specific course to achieve them.
5) Connect with others
A certificate can further connect you with others across industries and regions who have successfully translated its lessons into real-time value. It can then serve as a point of reference within in your field, or as a way to frame your approach with those who may be less familiar with your type of work. Discussing your certificate and its impact could also prompt others on your team to ask for your guidance on their projects or their own development, invoking new leadership and mentorship opportunities.
Though they can have numerous advantages, how you apply and leverage a professional certificate is ultimately up to you. Online and virtual in-person courses are increasingly accessible, flexible, and seamless options that allow you to tailor the learning pace to your needs and availability. Wherever you are in your career journey, a certificate could help you to accelerate further towards that next step.
In times of uncertainty it is critical for employees to maintain and update their skills. Today’s market requires employees to be adaptive, agile and ready to tackle unforeseen challenges. Investing in your professional development is an essential factor for future career success. Take control of your professional development with our Virtual and OnDemand course offerings. To find out more about how you can get started on a course and a certificate path, download our course catalog today.