Good things often happen for those who speak up. Sometimes calling attention to a problem is the best and most direct way to get help from those who are in a position to give help. Sometimes it's the only way. Last week, TestOut Continuing Education (@TestOutCE) got a tweet shout-out from a young man who had turned a shot of his Pro certification into his Twitter cover photo. He needed help finding a job and putting his certified skills to work.
TestOut CE isn't the Jobs Fairy, so we don't have a magic wand that we can wave and get certified individuals hired. Having skilled professionals with TestOut Pro certifications gainfully employed by great companies and organizations, however, is both good for those individuals and good for us. If people who earn Pro certifications flourish in their IT careers, then more people will want to earn them. And a strong reputation also makes things better for those who already have Pro certs.
So it's to our advantage to do whatever we can (within reason, naturally) to help people who have Pro certs find what they're looking for. Especially when they have the good sense and initiative to ask us about it directly. One of the steps that we've taken to actively help those who have TestOut Pro certifications find work is to create a network of Pro-certified professionals on LinkedIn. Have a Pro cert? You're in!
There's a lot of potential power in groups and associations. Study after study has shown that personal connections are among the strongest factors in hiring. You have to have the skills to do the job, of course. If an employer is choosing between two equally qualified candidates, however, and one of them has a strong referral from someone who either works there already, or knows people who do, then the person who has connections almost always gets the job.
So why not help yourself out by meeting and interacting with — even if it's only online, at least initially — people who have something in common with you? If you have a TestOut Pro cert, then you know what it takes to get one, and you understand the level of qualification it provides. Other people who have that same understanding are likely to be some of your strongest backers, even if you're only just getting to know them.
Your certification doesn't just let employers know that you're qualified and ready to work in IT. Fellow working professionals who also have a TestOut Pro certification will also get that message loud and clear. And in addition to sending job leads your way, they can help you prepare for an interview, pass along workplace tips, and help you keep pace with change in the industry. There's no real downside of weaving another strand into your social media sweater, and the potential upside is huge.
By the way, if you have a TestOut Pro certification and you have a great job already, please join the network anyway. You'll meet some great people, you'll be well positioned to help others, and you can make your own professional network that much stronger. Someday, that may be the thing that makes the biggest difference, should you ever wind up out of work ... and looking.