Why Focused Expert Certifications are Increasingly Critical for Employees and Employers

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There is a crisis happening right in front of our eyes in corporate America: millions of job openings go unfilled every year while millions of potential employees go unhired at the same time. What’s going on? Why can’t companies find the people they want, and why can’t those people find the jobs they need? To a great extent it comes down to a failure of skill and advertising.

What do those have to do with an employment supply/demand imbalance you ask? Well, skill is about having what an employer wants in their new hire. In fact, if you are at a company and have the requisite skills for that new project or new position, there’s a good chance that job could go to you. But from the outside looking in (or even from the inside looking over), you need skills and you need them to match what the employer needs, now.

Getting those skills can’t take years and tens of thousands of dollars. Imagine getting a CPA in order to be an Accounts Receivable Specialist. You would have taken years of courses and business practice at the cost of tens of thousands of dollars, and would end up using approximately 2% of your CPA skills in your Accounts Receivable job. The same goes for getting an MBA over two years and a cost of $100K when what you really needed was very specific knowledge of how to launch and market products as a Product Marketing Manager.

The issue is not that the skills taught in broad-based educational programs are entirely useless – they’re just mostly useless! Yup, I said it, “mostly useless”, and expensive! That’s because most people use only a fraction of the education they bought and the rest largely goes to waste.

This is why Focused Expert Certifications are the wave of now and the future. Teaching working professionals what they need to survive their job today, and thrive in their career tomorrow is not about broad-based, expensive credentials, it’s about building genuine expertise in highly focused, operational roles in areas such as finance, accounting, HR, sales and marketing. These are the positions that make companies work and that typically hold the most vital knowledge in the enterprise. Building expertise for specific roles will land people their next job, and will land managers their next valuable team member – someone who is the ‘go to’ resource and drives the company forward. Generalists don’t do that.

Focused Expert Certifications should be programs of 10 to 50 hours of intensive learning taught by subject-matter-experts with decades of experience doing just what they are teaching. And unlike major degrees and certifications like the MBA or CPA, they should cost hundreds of dollars, not tens of thousands or more. This puts these certifications within reach of everyone. Not just those with the time and extra wealth to invest, but for anyone with limited time and limited funds to invest, which is to say: most people.

I also mentioned “advertising” above, as a missing element. Job postings are company to person ads. They list the skills and background desired for a position and to the extent that people understand and want those positions, the job postings are successful at getting their point across. Now the job getter, either internal or external, needs to advertise back at the company and the hiring manager. If they want a rocket scientist and you are a rocket scientist, that sounds like a great start – and your resume probably screams “Rocket Scientist”.

But if they want a New Product Marketing Manager and you’re an MBA, well, not so much of a scream there. However, if you had a Focused Expert Certification in Product Marketing, you would be messaging your fitness for the position right back to the recruiter and the hiring manager. In fact, your focused fit would tell them that you’re more likely to get up to speed fast because that’s your focus. Generalists take a lot of time, effort and cost to bring to productivity. Specialists go from zero to sixty much faster.

Your CV is your ad. Your fit for a job, at least for the first 50% of the hiring process, which is all paper-based, is based on your ability to effectively advertise you fit for the position. Having a certification in precisely the job/skill they’re looking to fill is great for both the prospect and the manager, as it makes the fit easy. The company’s skills wanted ad can be answered by your skills attained ad. Perfect.

But, back to an earlier point, the job market is fluid and there is pent-up supply/demand imbalance. If you could build deep, meaningful knowledge quickly and at low cost, you could position yourself for that next position, be it at your current company or at a new one. That’s the power of Focused Business Certifications.

And to be sure, these certifications are coming out of the woodwork, from institutions old and new. Those that succeed in bringing true depth and engaging learning at the right price will prove themselves in the marketplace long term and will become the MBA and CPA certifications of tomorrow. But don’t wait until tomorrow, they’re here and growing right now.

Learn more about Illumeo’s Focused Business Certifications here.