Q. I am a self-taught graphic designer. A month ago, I interviewed for a job, and in the course of the interview, I mentioned that I didn’t have formal certification. The interviewers seemed shocked though I had indicated this in my resume. I could tell they were no longer interested in me. Is having school certificates the only way to prove that I am good in a certain field?
You are a very driven individual, having taken the initiative to learn a creative profession like graphics on your own. As you taught yourself, what guided you on how much knowledge you require to practise the profession?
Certification provides the level of competency that a candidate possesses, information required by the recruiting manager. It also provides an opportunity for you to continue improving your skills in the profession as you partake higher certification.
If you went to hospital and found a smartly dressed and intelligent-looking doctor, only for him to tell you that he learnt medicine from reading online tutorials and watching an uncle practise, would you want to be treated by this so-called doctor?
Similarly, the people who will be consuming the output of your skills in the organisation want the assurance that you have acquired the right skills in your area of expertise.
Professional certification gives credibility that the knowledge you have acquired is still relevant in the workplace. It also provides a benchmark to allow you to practise.
There are also many developments that constantly take place in all professions, especially in this era of technology. Professional bodies administering the certification are more often affiliated with the industry to understand the changes and upgrade the certifications to take into account new changes and developments.
Your confidence level is also boosted on acquiring certification, which gives you the boldness to perform the role. Pursuing certification also clearly demonstrates your commitment and dedication to a particular field of study or profession.
As you pursue the certification, you also get an opportunity to form lasting networks, which will be beneficial to you in your career journey.
In the hat too is the chance to join the professional body, which presents you with a forum to use to improve your skills sets as well as further build your credibility in the job market.
I would encourage you to enrol for professional certification in an accredited college, since this will give you a competitive edge in interviews. The fact that you already have knowledge in the profession will be an added advantage.