Using Certification to Advance Your Career – Ask HR Bartender

by Sharlyn Lauby on March 24, 2013

In career development models, there’s a period of career “establishment”. I like to think of it as this place where we Career Developmentdecide our chosen field, which may/may not align with what we studied in school. But it prompts some questions about activities we should pursue to demonstrate our commitment to our chosen profession. Today’s reader is experiencing that challenge:

I’m 28, with a longstanding professional interest in human resources. My first ‘real’ job after college gave me some good exposure to HR, but it was a dead end. I’ve spent the past five years in book publishing and am now working in a technical/process consultant role. I seem to have hit another dead end within my company, and am exploring opportunities elsewhere. I would love to get back into HR, but my relevant experience is not recent, and an entry-level HR position would likely result in a significant pay cut.

My question: Does it make sense to pursue PHR/SPHR certification to prepare for moving into that field? I would definitely pursue certification if I landed an HR job, but am wondering if the certification would allow me to break into the field, given my limited on-the-job experience.

Many thanks for any advice you can provide.

In thinking about this situation, it occurred to me that I’ve written several views on certification that might be good to share –

Why Should I Get a Credential in Human Resources

Resources for HR Certifications

HR Certification or College

Employer Views on Certification

Respect for Letters

Career Development and Certifications

I know certification can do good things for your professional career. I don’t want to imply it won’t but I still believe that the reason a person should get certified and stay certified is because they want to. The letters after your name will always mean more to you than they do to anyone else.

I’ve always been very proud of my certifications. Proud of what I learned. Proud of the rigor it took to get certified and proud of what I have to accomplish to remain certified.

Why should someone get their certification? Would you recommend becoming certified to get a job? Look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Image courtesy of HR Bartender

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