Upgrading Your Skills

Improving your credentials is a good way to set yourself apart from your competition.  Most people don't have the time to get an additional degree, but there are options for improving your skills and your marketability.

Obtaining an industry certification is a step that can boost your career.  Industry certifications provide a third party statement of training in specific skills.  Some are very specialized while others are applicable to a wide range of industries. 

Some certifications are absolute requirements – for example becoming CPA, a Professional Engineer or passing the bar exam are critical for some jobs in accounting, engineering or law.  Other certifications are optional, and can give you an edge over your competition.

A few of the more common certifications we see on a regular basis include:

  • CPIM – Certification in Production and Inventory Management (APICS)
  • C.P.M. – Certified Purchasing Manager (ISM)
  • PMP – Professional Project Manager (PMI)
  • Green Belt – Six Sigma Certification (Various Organizations)
  • Black Belt – Six Sigma Certification (Various Organizations)
  • PHR – Professional in Human Resources (HR Certification Institute)

Some of these can be obtained quickly, while others may take a year or more.  The benefits your career can be significant.  These certifications are much less costly to obtain than an advanced degree – often costing a few thousand dollars instead of the tens of thousands for master's degree.

Below are the trends in job postings for these certifications.  The graph show the percentage of job postings mentioning the certification.

The demand for PMP's is up, while the other certifications are down, but not as much as many industries in general. In a down economy, companies can be more selective.  There may be less jobs, but more companies are requiring professional certifications.

Look at the certifications in your field and consider pursuing one.  It could make the difference in your job search.