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Using Your Certification to Get a New Job

You know that continuing education, formal or otherwise, is a part of life. When you stop learning, you stop growing. 

But what you might not know is this: we’re in the early days of a massive, global reskilling project. According to the World Economic Forum, employers expect to upskill and reskill 70% of their employees by 2025.

If you just completed your Professional Academy Certificate or Diploma, you’re ahead of the curve. And you can use your certification to make that career change or go for the promotion you know you’re ready for.

How can you use your new certification to land your next job? Use these tips to brand yourself and upsell your upskilling experience.

Step 1: Share, Share, Share

You completed your course and you’ve got the certificate or diploma to prove it. Your next task: tell everyone.

Your credentials will help you stand out from other candidates.

Start with the basics: add your new certification to your LinkedIn page under Education and stick it on your CV under Education and Professional Development.

At the same time, many SME employers are still unfamiliar with diplomas and certificates as well as other micro and alternative credentials. So, you may find it beneficial to hold their hand and take them on a tour of the world of upskilling.

 But don’t stop there.

Post Your Wins on LinkedIn

Completing your course is a big accomplishment. So why not share your win with your network? 

Use your UCD Professional Academy digital certificate and write up a post for your LinkedIn feed. It doesn’t need to be lengthy or exciting.  It can be as simple as sharing your course experiences, what you learned, and what you hope to do next. 

We know that self promotion can often be uncomfortable, and it doesn’t always come naturally in some cultures and among some personality types. However, it’s worth going out of your comfort zone this time.

Sharing your wins makes your success visible, demonstrates your interest and commitment to your field, and can open the door to career change opportunities you didn’t expect.

Shouting your wins can be as simple as saying, “Hey, I just completed this course, it was a great experience, and I learned a lot!” Do that, and you might be surprised who turns up in your inbox looking to chat about a potential role!

Update Your Profile Skills Sections

Your course taught you more than a few new skills. Make sure you include them on your CV and LinkedIn page to show them off.

Updating your LinkedIn Skills section does two things. First, it bumps you up to the top of the candidate list when you apply for jobs via the platform. Second, it gives recruiters a look into your arsenal of professional skills, which makes them more likely to reach out if they have a role that you’d be a good fit for.

Recruiter Tip: Do you have a specific role in mind? Increase your chances by matching your skills sections to the desired role. Look through job advertisements and see what skills pop up over and over again in jobs that interest you. Make sure you have them on your own profile, so the hiring manager knows you’re a good fit!

Step 2. Brand Yourself as a Committed Learner

With your updated CV and LinkedIn page, you’re ready for step: rethinking your personal brand in light of your new certification. And in 2021, there’s no better way to brand yourself than as someone who is willing to continually learn, grow, and change.

Go out and add keywords like “lifelong learner”, “committed to professional development”, and “interested in the future of the field” to your LinkedIn and CV. And don’t forget to add them to your vocabulary, too! These descriptions all describe you!

Here’s why it’s so important to share your experience with hiring managers and prospective employers.

Upskilling is going to be a huge part of the world of work for the next five years (and beyond). And having completed your first course now can set you ahead of candidates with similar experience, not just in digital skills.

Why Professional Diplomas and Certificate Holders Land More Jobs

A 2020 CrowdLearn study found that micro and alternative credentials influenced job prospects for one in three workers

Why are they so effective? Because professional diplomas and certificates complement your education and experience by demonstrating one of the most in-demand job certifications: a commitment to growing, learning, and developing in your career.

Whether interviewing for a new job or vying for a promotion, many workers focus on selling their past accomplishments. However, past performance doesn’t guarantee future success, particularly in jobs where functions and roles are likely to change dramatically over the next five years. Continued learning is vital to growing or transitioning your career.

So when you think about your certification, go beyond all the new skills you honed through lessons, projects, and assessments. Remember that your new skills aren’t the only valuable thing to promote. 

Your motivation to go out and get those skills, stay at the top of your game, and share them with your colleagues is just as (if not more) valuable to employers.

Step 3: Leverage Your New Skills with Your Past Experience

I can’t get a job without experience. And I can’t get experience without a job.” It’s a problem that plagues new grads and career changers alike. However, there is a way around it if you think creatively.

Laura Griffin, a Dublin-based career coach, recommends “carving out a niche for yourself.” But what does that mean?

In Griffin’s experience, a niche means using your past experience and combining it with your digital skills. “For example, if you were a hair stylist and you completed a professional diploma in digital marketing, you can bring the two together and look for work that advises beauty companies on digital marketing,” Griffin says.

If you’re a former teacher with a graphic design certificate, you might advise graphic design for e-learning companies.

Carving out your niche helps you stand out from the crowd and utilise your new skills in a context that you’re already an expert in.

Step 4: Build Your Network

Job opportunities are as much about gaining experience and building a stellar CV as they are about networking. Who you know makes a world of difference: referral candidates who complete an interview have a 40% greater chance of receiving a job offer.

How do you network in 2021, and how do you do it in a field you haven’t entered yet? Here are some of our best tips for networking (even if you’re an introvert).

Network with Your Course Mates

One of the best ways to build your network is to do so within your course. 

Many UCD Professional Academy students say that networking with fellow students in lectures and breakout sessions is incredibly important. You’re on a course with people from a vast array of backgrounds, industries, and roles. The course itself is a big networking opportunity. 

Treat networking almost as part of your course materials!

Ask Around on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is another great networking tool, and you’d be surprised how many people in your prospective field are willing to chat with you. 

Get started on your career change by asking people in your current network if they know anyone in your dream role or industry that they could introduce you to. 

Even if they don’t have a name, you can even reach out cold! Just be sure to state who you are and what your intentions are for connecting alongside the request.

Join a Professional Organisation, Online Community or Slack Channel

Whether you’re new to your preferred industry or looking for ways to level up into a more senior role, you can always learn from your peers. And there is no shortage of ways to meet your peers, both here in Ireland and abroad.

Joining professional organisations within Ireland is a great place to start, particularly if you’re job hunting in the Irish market. But one of the most exciting and dynamic networking opportunities available right now are Slack channels.

Whether you’re into digital marketing, graphic design, e-commerce, or leadership and management, you’ll find a channel full of like-minded peers. Often, these channels include places to network, ask strategic questions, find mentors, or even just chat around the virtual water cooler.

To find them, just Google your preferred role or industry plus Slack community.

Step 5: Highlight Your Certification in Interviews

If you completed step one through four, you probably have an interview or two on the calendar.

Don’t forget to take what you’ve learned so far and share it with the hiring manager. You’ve got recent training based on the latest best practices in your field. Hiring managers want to know that!

A few of the ways you’ll share your experience in the interview include:

  • Reiterate your commitment to learning

  • Talk about your certification by sharing the skills you learned and how you will apply them to the role

  • Share a sample project, assignment, or certification (if asked)

Has it been a while since your last interview? Or are you going for your first virtual interview? Don’t forget to check out our expert guide to virtual interviews.

Share Your Certification and Stand Out from the Crowd

A UCD Professional Academy certification sets candidates apart from their peers in so many ways. From the most up-to-date skills in the industry to providing proof of a commitment to professional development, there are a lot of ways your certification can help you land your next job.

To stand apart, you need to stand out to hiring managers and recruiters. And to do that, you need to share your skills, experiences, and thoughts on your CV, with your LinkedIn network, and with your classmates and peers. When you do that, you won’t just find it easier to find a job. You’ll even find that jobs come to you.