It’s always a good time to add credentials, but there’s really no better time than when the economy is healthy.
One of the ways you can prepare, and recession proof your career, is by adding credentials. Look at your hard skills like new technologies or industry-specific certifications, and soft skills like communications techniques, and see where there may be a gap.
Think about it this way. How many upgrades have you had to make to your cell phone in the past two-years. Now, think about your career in the same way. Just like your mobile device, every few years, you need to update your professional operating system. When was the last time you took a professional development course or added a credential to your skillset?
It’s important that you do everything you can to update your skills before the recession hits, so that you stand out from the crowd. Yes, experience matters, but so does having current and relevant credentials. We’ve seen it happen before during an economic downturn, companies start trimming their overhead costs, and they look for who on their teams can do the work they need, the most efficiently, with the least amount of impact to the bottom line.
Look at the business systems you use every day. Microsoft Office skills are the No. 1 desired skillset, according to several national studies of employers in the United States. Robert Half, an international global human resource consulting firm, reports this, as does TechRepublic, which posted about what employers want now in a recent LinkedIn article.
“Every year, we place over 400 people in positions around the Seattle area,” comments Jeff Altchech, president of Temporarily Yours Staffing. “In the 33 years that I’ve been in the business of connecting employees to employers, I’ve seen countless industries change and pivot, and I’ve seen over and over again how important it is for people to make sure their skills are current, and that they are prepared for our changing economy.”
Adding credentials to your resume doesn’t have to take years and cost thousands and thousands of dollars. There are programs where you can earn a certificate of completion, (less than 45 credits), or a certificate of proficiency (more than 45 credits).
For example, Lake Washington Institute of Technology (LWTech), offers an associate’s degree in business technology and eight certificates of completion and proficiency in areas like web maintenance, Microsoft Office applications and project management support. Additionally, LWTech, Cascadia College and Everett Community College have partnered to provide continuing education classes through their corporate and continuing education center, CCEC-Eastside, which provides professional development classes on the Cascadia and LWTech campuses.
Now is the time to show that you’re more than capable of doing the work of the job, and that you have continued to adapt and grow as the workplace has changed. Whether you’re trying to keep your job, or find a new one, make sure your skills are current. It’s absolutely essential whether the economy is boom or bust.
Dr. Amy Morrison is the president of Lake Washington Institute of Technology (LWTech) and Letty Barnes is a professor and department chair of business technology at LWTech.