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Laura Machan

Laura Machan

Laura Machan is a senior recruiter with 20 years of experience. She solves complex business problems one search at a time.

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I heard a fellow interviewed on CBC Radio the other day. He had been unemployed for more than two years. His last job had been in IT services. When asked why it was taking so long to get a job, he said it was because employers were looking for people with specific certifications that he did not have. He had done well in his previous company by learning on the job so he had never taken any courses.

This is tragic but predictable.

It’s all well and good when you are fully employed and everyone in the organization knows what you can do but what happens when that changes? Perhaps a new manager comes into the organization or there is a downsizing. Your reputation may not be enough to keep you in your spot.

Certifications and credentials act as risk reducers. When a hiring manager sees that you have five years of experience in database administration but no courses relating to that field, do they automatically assume that you must be highly competent at learning on the fly? No, they wonder why you never took the time to formalize your experience.

It’s the same with a professional engineering designation. Who would spend four years slogging away in a very tough academic environment and then not seal the deal by doing the courses and exams for their P. Eng?

Yes, its added effort when you are already busy in your job but these kinds of extracurriculars pay big dividends down the road.

They give instant validation of your skills and that might be just the thing to get your resume to the top of the pile. That’s worth a couple of night courses, isn’t it?

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