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Five Things to Consider Before You Go for That Certification

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An average immigrant is a go-getter because relocation is never an easy option in the first place. For anyone to decide to leave their comfort zone and move to an unfamiliar environment, something must be driving them. Then, once immigrants get here, what tops our list of priorities is getting settled financially. And related to that is moving ahead in our career.

Out here however, things are slightly different. Many immigrants find it difficult to transfer their core skills and experiences here. The experiences and skills they earned in their home country or even internationally might hold no water in Canada which will compel many to press the reset button. To overcome this hurdle, many consider getting certified in their chosen field. But does certification translate to better job opportunities or career advancement? Is it an option for everyone?

You will need the certification if you are in a regulated profession such as real estate, some sales roles or in financial services. However, in most cases the ability to get the job done qualifies you for a position.

To answer this question succinctly, let’s put things in the right perspective.

In Canada, like in most Western countries, employers often consider expertise and experience above certification. The concern is “can you get the job done?” rather than “do you have the certificate?”

If you can demonstrate through a descriptive resume that you are the right person for the role, then you are good to go! That, however, doesn’t mean that certification is unnecessary or getting certified is futile. For some people, it is what will get them ahead. For others, it may be something to consider at an intermediary stage of their career. How do you know what will suit you?

There are five yardsticks that can help you determine what is right for you. Consider them carefully. Think through them and this will help you understand whether you should invest your time, money and energy getting that certification or not.

  • If the role that you are targeting to hold is a controlled profession such as real state, car salesmanship, financial services then you will require that certification. There are professions that need you to have that certification and in some cases license to practice.
  • Does the role that you have change rapidly and affect the quality or safety of the services you provide? If you need to be constantly updated and make changes will impact your services and safety of others, you should get the certification. For example, if you are working in places such as Amazon or as a security professional, you will need to be on top of your game and that certification is a must.
  • If you are experienced in your field and the quality of your work does not matter whether you have that certification or not, then you should not be focusing on the certification as it does not add value to what you already have. Focus on reflecting your knowledge and experiences in the resume and demonstrate that you can get the job done.
  • If you can get the job done at a junior to intermediate level in the hierarchy, the certification does not hold much meaning. However, if you want to rise up the ladder in that field the certification can add value to your resume and help you with promotion.
  • Find out what is valued. Go for coffee with senior leaders in your industry and ask for their opinion about certification. Don’t hide behind the keyboards – connect with people on LinkedIn and have that conversation that will help you understand what matters to employers. Once you learn and understand then go and get that certification. Or don’t.

This article was written by Meena Kaini.

Listen to Episode 90 of The Immigrant Life podcast for a personal talk about the yardsticks. Get informed to make informed choices.

Join our online community for that community support you need at immigrantlife.ca/community.

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