November 7, 2014

The Best Ways to Flaunt Your New IT Certification

LinkedIn LogoIf you’ve got it, flaunt it, right? You’ve worked hard for that Linux certification, and you want everyone to know about it.

At the same time, you don’t want to come off as a brainless braggart, so the best advice is to call attention to the experience you gained while earning the certification – and how you’ve put it to use doing real work, experts say.

“One of the biggest things that people will probably neglect is leveraging people who have gone through a similar certification – reaching out to them through LinkedIn or whatever means they have available, to make connections and market themselves through other, what should be, like-minded people who are going to value that certification,” says

Stephen Van Vreede, a Rochester, N.Y.-based resume writer and career strategist at ITTechExec.com.

Here’s some more advice about getting your certification noticed:

LinkedIn

One of the most basic ways you can flaunt your Linux certification is to update your job title to include " Linux certification" or " Linux certified" on LinkedIn, according to Cynthia Rankin, senior recruiter for global staffing services at CDI Corp.

Mention it in your LinkedIn summary so it will show up when recruiters, human resource and hiring managers conduct keyword searches. But mention it below, under education or credentials as well.

Send email notifications to all your connections in every relevant group – and you can join up to 40, Rankin says.

Network notifications can be distributed from your home page by typing in the box that says "share an update." A suggested subject line might be "Newly certified Linux systems administrator looking for connections" or "Certified Linux engineer looking for new career opportunity."

Resume

Some people like to use a certification’s logo on their resume, Van Vreede says, but that doesn’t always work out.

“You have to be careful how you’re sending your resume, because if you apply through a job board, that’s going to be stripped out,” he says. “But if you’re sending what I’d call a “presentation resume,” a Word file or .pdf file to a real person rather than going through the HR process, they’ll actually be able to see that and it will stand out.”

If you have a profile or summary section at the top, you can mention it there, but also under the education or credentials sections.

“The automated systems, because of the way they parse data, you want to make sure the cert is listed under the appropriate heading.”

Interviews

Because employers value experience over certification, in interviews, stress what you’ve learned in the process or since gaining the certification, Van Vreede advises.

“When employers hire tech talent, they get a little bit leery [about certifications] because there’s a lot of them out there, and they’re familiar with some of them, say the Microsoft program… and then you have all these people who have the certification, but they don’t have the real-life experience. … , “ he says. “So go into an interview and show, ‘Hey, this wasn’t just a theoretical training and certification program I went through. I have some skills that have been applied and here’s an example of how I put them into action.’ ”

Blog about it, speak about it

Take some tips from marketing a small business to market yourself. You can write on relevant topics at online sites, join discussions and add relevant comments to other articles. If you don’t have time to keep up a blog, many sites are looking for contributed articles – some even pay for them. And meetups and user groups often are looking for speakers – relevant speakers, not just people blowing their own horns. But you can throw your credentials out there, then move on sharing what you know.

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