When certifications don’t cut it anymore

And what to do instead

When certifications don’t cut it anymore

You have worked hard to demonstrate your value. Circumstances change and you are thanked for your contribution. However, savings have to be made and it is time for you to find another path in your career.

What you have learned at your job has little to no value to another employer if you cannot prove what you can bring to the organisation.

Some skills you can demonstrate, others less so.

The softer skills need to be judged or guessed by discussion or role play. Harder skills are easier to show.

Either way, nothing guarantees your new employer how good you are at performing a job besides hard evidence and demonstrable testimonials. You would think that the batch of certifications you have added to your CV would be enough to increase your chances of gaining the position you seek. However, certifications only demonstrate you can pass an exam successfully (usually with 50% or more from the maximum score). And anyone can be trained to pass an exam, believe me.

The truth is that what matters most is the mindset of the organisation you are trying to join. Note I said organisation. Let me explain.

There is a huge difference in mindset between some governmental department, a corporation and a smaller business. Seems obvious right? But have you asked yourself why that is?

Corporations do not care about the product or service they sell, they hardly care about their customers. They are machines to produce profits for their shareholders, whatever that takes. The higher their share value and the more money they garner the more they are accountable to their shareholders.

Smaller companies value their customers as they understand it is they who bring in the cash in the kitty which pays the invoices and wages to the owners but also to pay the employees’ salaries. This triggers a totally different mindset which in turn yields a different approach to hiring.

Before I go further, ask yourself which type of unit would suit you best? A governmental body, a corporation or a smaller business?

Let me add that when it comes to the maturity of a unit, the older they are the less mature they seem to be. I know it seems like a contradiction but I guarantee it is so.

Business maturity is to be defined as the ability to adapt and move quickly.

Why do you ask?

Because older corporations are more risk-averse and their structure (hierarchy) will always favor their own job security to risky growth.

Also, CEOs have to demonstrate their value (in terms of share value) to shareholders quarterly and yearly. They usually have nine months to show they are worth their salaries.

The founder of a smaller company (yes, I do mean a startup) has her/his product (or service) at heart. In particular, how will it serve its customer base? In fact, (s)he will seek the advice of customers on what they want the product to achieve. It is nearly a collaborative process between customers and developers.

You can give all the pseudo-scientific spin to all these thoughts to justify they are worth considering, experience beats theory, hands up.

I have countless customers in the corporate world who did not adopt my counsel to increase their value because there was a hidden agenda. Too many stories I could tell you but never will because of the many NDAs I have signed.

Luckily to balance this out, there are also numerous smaller businesses thata have listened and grown dramatically and have made real impact in their respective markets.

Smaller businesses are the innovators of this world. They create a new reality for our tomorrow. Corporations will follow and buy the best of those ideas to grow their profits even more.

How does that relate to certifications I hear you ask?

Certifications as we know them are dead. They have little to no value besides for the organisations that deliver them.

Companies today want you to not only add value to them but demonstrate you can think quickly and act just as fast. Theory means nothing unless it can be put in practice in order to speed delivery to market, improve existing products or add new ones to the portfolio.

The mindset has changed.

It is no longer methods that matter but their application in the real world. And that requires a totally different way of assessing those applied skills beyond the brain dump of book learning.

Let’s take a parallel of learning to drive a car.

Before you are allowed to even step in a car to learn how to drive it, you are asked to pass a theory exam. This demonstrates your knowledge of the code but has nothing to do with your ability to drive a car.

After successfully passing that exam you are allowed to start learning how to drive. This takes more or less time depending on your ability to operate the vehicle, your capacity of judging your situation in various traffic circumstances, and how you can park your car, amongst other things.

But let us admit that knowing the code and be able to drive are two different set of skills. You do need both to obtain your driver’s license.

And yet, if you want to become a rally driver or a Formula 1 pilot these steps have no value whatsoever. You will need a totally different learning approach. That is exactly what I mean.

In fact, you don’t even need a driver’s license to pilot a Formula 1 car (or Formula E car – take your pick).

However, the team will expect you to demonstrate your ability before trusting you with one of those multi-million dollar machines.

Photo by Isabella and Zsa Fischer on Unsplash

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