Part 1 of 2: Never Stop Learning
Does your résumé need a boost? Sometimes our day jobs provide us with all the skills, training, and challenge we need to grow in our careers. Many times, however, we find ourselves stuck in a routine that limits our growth. Other times, we just want to stand out in a sea of applicants.
Follow these tips if you want to:
- take on additional responsibility at work
- compete for a promotion
- apply to your first management job
- change careers, companies, or industries
- enter the job market for the first time or after an extended leave
Add Certifications and Designations to Your Résumé
There are companies and associations that provide training for almost every industry. For example, in the insurance industry, you can boost your résumé by passing courses from a number of groups.
- Casualty Actuary Society
- The Institutes
- National Alliance for Insurance Education and Research
- The National Underwriter Company
- The American College of Financial Services
- Insurance Data Management Institute
- International Association of Insurance Professionals
Nearly every industry has groups like these. Simply search Google for “industry designations” or “industry certifications.” Be sure to include the name of your industry (financial services, retail, construction, etc.). Your employer may even cover the cost of books and exams.
These designations are still valuable if you work in a support function within your industry. Perhaps you work in Information Technology for agribusiness or Human Resources within the travel industry, for example. You’ll have a much better understanding of the company for which you work and the internal customers you serve. This can help you stand out when it’s time to apply for a promotion or lateral transfer within your company.
Whatever type of job you do, there are likely associations that provide certifications for your discipline. Most people are familiar with the Project Management Institute (PMI)’s Project Management Professional (PMP) certification. Other certifications exist for other types of roles.
- The International Institute of Business Analysts (IIBA) offers Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAP) and other certifications.
- Training Industry offers Certified Professional in Training Management and other credentials. There are many certifications for professional trainers.
- There are several Call Center certifications.
Again, a simple Google search for certifications or designations and your job title should do the trick.
College degrees and certificates
If you don’t have a degree, or don’t have a degree in your field, you might consider this option. Local and online colleges often have certificate programs that can be earned relatively quickly and cheaply. Degrees are easier than ever to obtain through distance learning, evening courses, or traditional campus experiences. Don’t be afraid to go back to school, even if it’s just to take one class.
Talk to recruiters and hiring managers in your profession. Do they look for advanced training certificates or post-graduate degrees? Do some research before you make a big investment.
Toastmasters is the single best value in experiential learning. You can learn to speak in public, manage meetings, improve your listening skills, and test leadership skills. By performing various roles at weekly meetings, you also earn designations in communication and leadership that you can add to your résumé. Depending on the specific club you join, you may be able to expand your professional network as well.
Expand Skills or Experience Section of Your Résumé
Many website offer free or inexpensive online instruction. Some let you view or audit courses for free. Some charge a monthly subscription fee or a per-course fee. Coursera, for example, will provide you with an electronic certificate for LinkedIn if you pay a modest fee and complete a course series.
You can also subscribe to YouTube channels and Podcasts to brush up on old skills or learn new ones.
Read, read, and read some more
Books are still a great way to learn for very little out-of-pocket cost. Your local library is free. With eReaders and tablets, you can take literally thousands of books with you everywhere you go. There are numerous blog posts that can help you learn new skills. For example, you can learn about giving positive feedback, giving constructive feedback, or overcoming unconscious bias. Translate what you learn into action. List those successful projects and initiatives among your accomplishments.
Please share with me how you’re boosting your résumé. I’d love to hear from you!
Also, be on the lookout for Part 2 of 2: Get Ahead by Giving Back…