Certifications are an important part of career success. Typically, these hard-earned indicia attest to a person’s competence in their field. One might, for example, be a CPA – a Certified Public Accountant – or a CNE – a Certified Network Engineer. The acronyms are shorthand for the skills and knowledge an employer can expect an employee to bring to the workplace.
As important as such occupational certifications are, however, they fall short of ensuring that a person will actually deliver that capability on-the-job. Having skills and knowledge in a profession, craft or trade and knowing how to use them to excel at one’s job are two very different attributes. To put it another way, a person who is book smart may or may not work smart.
In a perfect world, therefore, employers would look for a second certification – CCSM – that confirms a person is a Certified Career Self-Manager. Such a badge of distinction would signal that a person brings not one but two important attributes to work with them: first, they have the skills and knowledge necessary to apply their occupational competence on-the-job AND second, they take personal responsibility for maintaining and even expanding that level of contribution.
They would, for example, understand the importance of acquiring ancillary skills that would extend the range of situations and circumstances in which they could use their primary skills AND they would make it their task to go out and get them. Similarly, they would appreciate the importance of pacing themselves at work so that they are always able to as to perform at their peak AND they would discipline themselves to do so.
Career Activists acquire such career self-management skills, but – for the moment at least – are unable to signal their competence to employers. That may be changing, however, as more and more organizations prioritize their recruiting to recognize that it’s the level of your contribution, not your preparation that counts.
Thanks for reading,