Life After Certifications

K12 Students
Letter "S" Drop Cap
So you passed your certifications… Now What? Now it is time to put those certifications to work and start your career. Oftentimes we view certifications as the end goal—Passing certifications is the key to unlocking the ability to begin and develop a professional career.

BUILD A RESUME
Remember your English teacher? Remember the Microsoft Office Course you took? Time to put what they taught you to work. Building a resume highlighting your abilities, skills, and work experience is key. List your certifications and the objectives they cover. Make sure to include your “Skills Guarantee” from TestOut as part of your resume package. Employers are more interested in the work you can do, not necessarily the memorized data stored in your brain. Share projects you worked on and any experience you may have, regardless of how small. Don’t forget the importance of creating a cover letter as well. Often times a cover letter will get you further than your resume.

LOOK FOR STATE JOB PLACEMENT RESOURCES
Become familiar with the resources available in your state and area to help you find open positions. Use resources to search for employers who are listing your earned certifications as requirements for their posted jobs. Educate yourself on different companies in your area who specialize in the IT and Cybersecurity industries.

NETWORK
More so than ever, the adage “it’s who you know, not what you know”. Build a LinkedIn Network. Use social media to learn about companies in your area and follow their influencers. Speaking of social media, time to clean up your accounts. Employers and connections may look to your social media accounts to learn about you. Like, follow, and comment on related career related posts/blogs/tweets. Network with people from all different fields and areas. Create relationships that are mutually beneficial.

UNDERSTAND WHAT EMPLOYERS ARE LOOKING FOR
Make sure to read job descriptions thoroughly so you understand what employers are looking for. Never let lack of work experience deter you from a job listing. If you meet the other requirements, submit your resume and sell yourself and your abilities. Oftentimes in job listings you can gain an understanding of what certain jobs will require and the daily tasks associated with the position. Become an expert in those areas before your interview.

BUILD YOUR SOFT SKILLS
Soft skills, often called people skills or emotional intelligence, refer to the ability to interact amicably with others. Soft skills are personal attributes that can affect relationships, communication, and interaction with others. Your ability to communicate and work with others is key to any workplace environment. These skills can also decision making abilities, self-motivation, leadership skills, problem solving skills, time management, and positive attitude. Time to work on number #1!

YOU GOT THE JOB!... NOW WHAT? KEEP LEARNING!!!
Understand learning is a lifelong pursuit. Don’t stop working on other certifications, strengthening you soft skills, networking with colleagues, and working on making yourself the best you that you can be!

Wanting to know what jobs are available in IT and Cyber? Learn what employers are looking for in candidates. Check out this collaborative website from www.cyberseek.org. CyberSeek is a collaborative effort between Burning Glass, CompTIA, and NICE to promote cybersecurity. This website will help identify common IT and Cybersecurity positions, what certifications are being requested from employers, average salary, job openings for each state, and skills requested.
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