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Certifications Will Showcase Your Skills, But Be Sure to Do Your Homework

Certifications Will Showcase Your Skills, But Be Sure to Do Your Homework
Photo by Master Sgt. Brian Hamilton/Army

More and more, the shift toward a skills-based economy is shaping the types of available employment opportunities. But there are ways for servicemembers to receive critical skills training and certification outside their military specialties, and to ensure the skills they already possess are highlighted throughout their application process.

A recent article by Upwork CEO Stephanie Kasirel offers a comprehensive look at how some companies and organizations are viewing nontraditional education options, as opposed to a four-year college degree, in making their hiring decisions. 

She cites a pilot program at PwC (better known as PricewaterhouseCoopers) allowing high school graduates to begin working as accountants and risk-management consultants, and a listing by the jobs website Glassdoor of 15 companies that don’t require traditional college degrees to land a well-paying job –including tech giants such as Apple, IBM, and Google.   

Given the general workforce trends, which point to the increasing focus and attention on certifications and advanced skills training, the Army-wide Credentialing Assistance Program can benefit soldiers seeking employment opportunities in their chosen industry or sector. Through this program, soldiers can receive additional training or take exams to earn credentials such as Lean Six Sigma, a commercial driver’s license, or complete industry-specific certifications in more than 1,600 civilian occupational specialties. And beginning in January 2020, Army National Guard soldiers will be eligible to take part.

According to Kenneth Hardy, chief of the Army National Guard’s education branch, “having those credentials can meant the difference for Soldiers when trying to advance their civilian careers.”

MOAA’s team of career transition consultants could not agree more. Expanding the certification program to include Guard and Reserve personnel will help them to be even more competitive given future employment trends.

Certifications may even impact the starting salary and overall compensation package. But, all job seekers must do their homework to determine what certifications actually are necessary and valued by their target prospective employers. Certifications just for their own sake can result in disappointment if it doesn’t yield the expected benefits.

Not sure what certifications, credentialing or other skills belong on your résumé? MOAA’s experts can help. Click here to learn more about MOAA Career Center member benefits, including career consulting and résumé critiques for Premium and Life members. You’ll also find plenty of guidance in MOAA’s Marketing Yourself for a Second Career publication.

Learn more about Army credentialing programs here. Learn about Navy and Marine Corps offerings here, and Air Force programs here.

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About the Author

Col. Brian D. Anderson, USAF (Ret)

Col. Brian D. Anderson, USAF (Ret)