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For Certificates, Think Quality, Not Quantity

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Sunday, February 3, 2008

Edited questions from Career Tracks, Mary Ellen Slayter's online discussion about workplace issues.

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Alexandria: Two years ago I started to take exams for career-related certifications (think Certified Public Accountant, Certified Financial Analyst, etc.). I now have three certifications and am well on my way to four. I think it shows initiative and confirms skills. Other people tell me it is a waste of time. Is it possible to have too many certifications?

Who are the people who say it's a waste of time? Clients? Mentors? Supervisors? If so, I would listen. If they're friends or family members in an unrelated field, I would ignore them.

But in general, certifications should be about quality, not quantity.

Re: Certifications: Personally, I consider some certifications a waste of time, if the individual does not complete them in a timely manner and if they are not directly applicable to the job. I'd rather see someone who went to college part time apply for an information technology position than someone with no college degree and a certification apply for the same job. A CPA certification is extremely valuable, if it's applicable to your job. I work in a company where it is not relevant in my department. Having a CPA doesn't bring benefit to my area, but if you are an accountant, it is extremely valuable. I guess I'm trying to say, don't bring cookies to a taffy-pull. If the certification isn't applicable, don't bring it up.

Yes, a resume can quickly get crowded.


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