Life after certification

Is Professional Certification Worth All That?

The world we live in is becoming more and more competitive with each new generation. Do you remember when O’ Levels and A’ Levels got you a good job and possibly a good career? It seems that nowadays not even a first degree is enough to land that dream job.

Market forces are demanding more and more of today’s professionals. In addition to regular degrees, there’s a plethora of professional certification on the market to meet almost every single need. Many will ask whether or not it is worth the investment. So where should we begin when seeking out professional certification?

Look for the benefits

The demand for professional certification is twofold. Sometimes it is required to get a foot in the door or oft times; your job will simply demand it. Either way, here are some keys points to ponder:

1. Can I monetise my professional certification? In other words, how can I make it work for me?

a. What are the professional benefits of having this piece of paper or badge?

b. Increased job opportunities

c. More professional networking

d. Discounts (on training, events, professional literature and books)

e. Remember that your discounts should outweigh your subscription fees. It’s like joining a buyers’ club. You’d want to make sure that at the end of the year, you gained more in discounts than you paid to join the “club”.

2. How large is the professional body?

a. Is there a global outreach?

b. Are there chapters around the world?

c. Is there a chapter in my area where I can meet other professional counterparts

3. Quality needs to be high on the agenda of any professional organisation.

a. Professional recognition must be linked to your certification.

b. The literature put out by the organisation needs to be of a high standard, well researched and on the cutting edge.

c. Professional events should attract knowledgeable speakers.

Why do I have to recertify every two or three years?

Our answer to this question is very simple. Would you attend a doctor or dentist who graduated 20 years ago and who chose not to read any new literature, attend professional conferences and ultimately was not board certified or recertified?

When framed like that, the most reasonable person will accept that continuous education and recertification for professionals are absolutely necessary.

My certification is not working for me!

Finally, this is the most common complaint that we hear at GES — “my certification isn’t working for me” or “I have not benefited from this certification”. Well we are the bearers of bad news! The certification on its own is practically meaningless. In other words, you, the professional, has to make it work for you! So how do you make it work for you?

We recommend the following:

1. Become an active member of a professional organisation.

a. Attend meetings, events or conferences when possible.

b. Participate in online webinars.

c. Volunteer some of your time to the advancement of your field.

2. Try your hand at writing – no pun intended!

a. Write articles for your professional newsletters or magazines.

b. Contribute to an online blog.

c. Co-author with some of your professional colleagues.

3. Put your CV to the test. Even though you may not be actively seeking a new job, it’s always good to test yourself on the market:

a. Place your CV on a reliable online recruitment network.

b. Sign up with a recruitment agency.

c. Apply blindly for some advertised jobs and test the market’s response to your CV.

This allows you to stay current and it’s a great confidence booster when you are offered jobs that you are in a position to refuse.

Over the next few weeks we will focus on what is happening in the world of certification for HR professionals.

* For access to the entire series of GES articles in pdf format feel free to download them from

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