Easy Ways to Improve Your Credentials

If you’re interested in looking for a new job, changing careers, or simply looking for a raise at work, you might be interested in acquiring new credentials. New, better credentials could entitle you to better pay, a more impressive title, or even entry into a totally different field. That said, not everyone wants to go back to school for years to get a fancy new degree.

So what are some easy, accessible ways you can improve your credentials and expand your resume?

Key Qualities for Good Targets

Let’s start by examining some key qualities for good targets. If you’re looking to advance your career as quickly and painlessly as possible, or if you’re just looking for some ways to pad your resume, you’re probably not interested in going back to school to get a PhD.

Instead, you need credential enhancements that are:

Accessible. First, you’ll need things that are actually accessible. You need to be able to qualify for these new credentials if you want to acquire them. For example, anyone can become forklift certified with the proper training and education; you don’t need a bachelor’s degree, you don’t need a certain number of years of work experience, and you don’t need to live in a certain area of the country. Forklift certification is extremely valuable if you ever plan on operating a forklift or working in an environment where forklifts are present, but it still stands as a highly accessible option.

Inexpensive. You’ll also be interested in certifications and accreditations that are inexpensive. There’s no reason to spend $100,000 or more on a superfluous education that’s only meant to pad your resume. There’s also no reason to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on professional certifications that aren’t truly necessary for your current job or planned career. But spending $50 or $100 on something that makes you look more attractive to employers? That’s a good deal.

Quick. The term “quick” is a bit subjective here, since what qualifies as quick will depend on how much free time you have. Still, there are many certifications and awards you can earn in relatively short order. In a matter of weeks, you can acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to make your resume more attractive.

Easy. And, of course, you don’t want to pull your hair out in a mad effort to prove your skill in an area you’ve never even considered before. Consider prioritizing targets that are relatively easy to acquire.

Earn a Certification

One of the most straightforward options is to earn a certification in a new skill. But what types of certifications should you acquire?

There are literally countless certifications available online, and many of them can be earned by anyone with a bit of time to study and prepare. To narrow down the list:

Ask your bosses. Talk to your current bosses, assuming you have some, and ask them if there are any certifications they’d like you to acquire. This is a great way to prove your initiative and fill any gaps in your current team.

Talk to your peers. Similarly, you might want to talk to your peers. Are there any members of your team who have earned a certification and seen a pay boost as a result? Have they heard of certifications that might be valuable in your line of work?

Search online. You should also search online. A simple search for certifications in your industry should help you find dozens of viable options.

Join career development communities. If you’re interested in joining a community, look for career development communities on social media. The members of these groups will likely be more than happy to guide you to new opportunities.

Become Accredited

Accreditation is often an easy way to distinguish yourself in your field. It’s a somewhat more time-consuming process than certification, and in some cases, you’ll have to meet some baseline requirements (such as having a few years of experience in your field). Still, this is a distinguishing mark that looks great on a resume.

Enter (and Win) a Competition

Another option is to enter a competition in your area of expertise. If you manage to win the competition or earn any kind of award or reputable placement, it’s going to look great for you. Of course, there’s a chance you won’t win the competition, but even in this scenario, you can include your work in your portfolio.

Take on a New Role

Some people might be able to benefit from taking on a new role or position, assuming they have the qualifications for it. For example, you could become a notary public – or become ordained as a minister. These have niche utility but can add a flourish to the end of your resume.

Learn a Language

If you have a bit more time on your hands, and you’re naturally good with language development, consider learning a new language. It’s something the average person can do in just 15 minutes a day, as long as you practice consistently, and it can be very valuable for certain positions.

Developing the Old-Fashioned Way

You don’t need extra certifications, accreditations, or competition wins to advance your career. Instead, you can simply do a good job, achieve your goals, and collect accomplishments that you can parade in future interviews. Still, it never hurts to put in the extra effort and develop yourself for both your current and future employers.