Can Certifications Take the Place of Experience?

Part 2 of 21 in the Series: Career Advice - Ask IT Career Coach
Certifications Or Experience Which Is Better?

Certifications Or Experience Which Is Better?

I have been in business development / sales side of the Financial Services Industry for the past 15 years.

I have worked as a VP for several Fortune 500 companies.

Due to the market downturn and layoffs, I find myself looking to other industries for stability.

I want to get into Software / Network Sales and wanted to know what is the best way for me to break into the Information Technology industry

Should I get A+ certified, get a masters in I.T.?

Since I don’t have years of experience selling I.T., what are hiring managers looking for?

Can a certificate take the place of experience?

Thank you

Russ

Can a Certificate Take the Place of Experience?

  1. What does a certificate prove to hiring managers?

    Just like a college degree, certifications also prove that you are knowledgeable on a subject.

    Just like self study or taking a training class, a certificate also proves that you have taken the time to study, learn or master a subject.

    A certificate proves that you have mastered the information or knowledge you need for a job.

    And a certificate proves that you will not be studying textbooks on the job or asking questions about how to do your job.

    However, Information Technology managers are not really looking for your knowledge but for the ability or skills to perform … and having knowledge is not the same as having the skills or ability to perform.

  2. What Is The Best Predictor Of Performance?

    In the Information Technology (IT) Industry, you are hired for your ability to perform or get the job done.

    And as far as hiring managers are concerned, “your past performance is the best predictor of your future performance“.

    So, when it comes to finding a job in the Information Technology (IT) Industry, your experience will always count more than your certifications because it is a better predictor of your performance.

  3. What Is The Value of a Certificate?

    A certificate measures your ability to retain or recall information and it is important from the perspective that it assures hiring managers that you have really studied the material you need for your job.

    But what a certificate does not measure is your real-world ability to get the job done or perform.

    When it comes to the Information Technology (IT) Industry, hiring managers take your past performance as the absolute best measure of your future performance … hence the principle behind hiring is: “Can you perform, prove it“.

    If you want to get hired for a job … any job, don’t focus on certifications because that is a distraction, instead focus on proving your ability to perform on the job.

  4. How To Prove That You Can Perform

    The real question that you should be answering is” “How do you prove to hiring managers that you will perform if you are hired“. Here is the answer to the real question:

  5. Make Your Past Experience Count

    The real reason why you have been successful in business development or sales is your ability to perform on the job by bringing in sales.

    And what information technology hiring managers want from you is that same ability to bring in sales.

    Don’t cloud issues for yourself by focusing on your certifications.

    The ability to bring in sales does not depend on your certifications or education but on your past successes as a sales / development Vice President.

    What you have to do is simple: document your past sales & business development successes clearly on your resume and work on identifying those sales, marketing & business development strengths, experience and skills which will help you perform in any job, even when you change industry.

  6. Rewrite Your Resume – Prove That You A Top Performer

    Your resume is one of the most important documents along the path of changing careers.

    Hire a professional resume writer to clearly identify and document tangible sales results that you’ve achieved in your past jobs.

    Document things like the size of business you brought in or how many millions of dollars in revenue, sales or profit are attributable to your efforts.

    Document things like the sales training you attended, the sales quota you achieved or exceeded, the conferences you attended, the c-level businesses executives you networked with, the size of the budget you managed, the divisional or corporate sales goals or objectives that you achieved and how they mattered to your company’s bottom line.

    At the end of the day, your resume must highlight you as a superstar, top-performer and show clearly how hiring you made a difference to the profit, sales, revenue, strategic and tactical goals of the companies that you worked for as a Vice President of Sales & Business Development.

    Just remember this, you success in getting hired will depend on how well you can prove that you are a top performer and not on anything else.

  7. Ace your Job Interview – Prove That You Are A Top Performer

    The goal of your resume is to get you into as many job interviews as possible. But your resume alone will not get you a job, you must wow your clients at the job interview to get a job!

    And yes, the job interview is really a presentation. So prepare and rehearse your presentation and what you will say or you will not succeed.

    You may want to take some time to read more advice on “How To Slam Dunk Job Interviews” – http://www.it-career-coach.net/?p=841

    Finally, you must be confident in your abilities and convey that self-confidence at your job interview.

    Remember this, the Information Technology Industry is a performance driven industry and no-one would hire you, if you first don’t believe in your own abilities.

    So, take the time to discover your own strengths, talents, abilities and then learn how to believe in yourself so that you will be able to convince others at your job interviewer, that you are a top performer!

Follow the strategy that I outlined in this post to change careers and get an information technology job.

Remember that Certifications are helpful because it helps you learn or master a topic.

But focusing on a certificate as a way of getting a job is not a high value strategy because that is not what hiring managers are really looking for.

Hiring managers are hiring for your ability to perform or get the job done!

You gain that ability to perform through rigorous real world problem solving or on the job experience.

You can prove your ability by highlighting your past successes which are the best predictors of your future performance or creating situations where you can grow and develop your experience through practical challenges.

[Ask IT Career Coach] is a Career Advice Column for Information Technology (IT) professionals looking for answers to their most challenging career situations …

Submit questions about your career using the [Ask IT Career Coach] service and I will answer it for you just like I am answering the question in this post …




This post was submitted by Russ Woodward.

1 Discussion for “Can Certifications Take the Place of Experience?”

  1. Narender

    I would like start my career as a business analyst .

    I am a professional because of my MBA (IT/Finance) with a BCA degree .

    So, please suggest to me the type of certification course i need to so that I can become a business analyst & how to start my business analyst

    thanks

    with regards,
    Narender

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