To be self-employed, whether you are working at home or traveling, is no longer news in this age. Still, there are many perspectives that we can touch on for the benefit of beginners and advanced solo workers alike.

Our chosen topic today focuses on the advantages and process of getting certified.

Why get certifications?

Industries are becoming competitive. Your previous experiences as an information technology (IT) employee, for example, will not be enough.

You need to upskill. And a few IT-related certifications under your belt can boost your chances of scoring a good and fulfilling project as a freelancer.

Let’s discuss the advantages:

Builds your credibility

While your degree and accumulated work experience can cement your career path, adding certifications can help you specialize in certain areas. Should you choose a consultancy path next, you will be able to show prospective clients that you know your stuff. It signals to them that you are a professional they can do business with.

Certifications symbolize your investment in specific aspects of the job. Some may check if you have real-world applications for your knowledge and skills. But that cannot take away from you the value of having passed a certification or more.

Makes you qualified and recognized

There are certain jobs that require certification such as in the fitness industry. If you want to become a personal trainer, for instance, you need a personal training certification. You may work independently or get affiliated with a gym or fitness center.

In any case, it is better to acquire certification from a reputable agency. American Council on Exercise (ACE) and National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) are two good examples of certification that employers highly recognize.

According to niche platform PTPioneer, “if you want to learn how to become a personal trainer, getting the right certification for you is very important!” In fact, it is the stepping stone.

Increases your opportunity to book big clients

If you have been self-employed for some time, you may look at getting certified as a way to move to the next level. But there is more. By taking on a certification that is recognized in the world for your profession, you will be able to turn it into a potent tool to gain the trust of bigger clients.

It also helps you expand your services such as when you are an online marketer who is aiming for a project management position.

A certification can influence the decision of your prospects and even gives you the confidence to pursue bigger fish.

Raises your rates

A Microsoft article said that based on a 2016 Value of IT Certification survey, on average, Microsoft certified technologists earn 15% more than their uncertified peers.

Aside from the confidence to bid for better projects and bigger clients, you will be able to build the case for raising your rates. And this is not just an isolated case that is applicable to the IT industry.

Whether you work as a digital marketer or a personal trainer, you can reasonably set your price according to the level of expertise you can bring to the table.

Plugs you into new communities

Among computer programmers alone, there are multiple languages to explore and acquire certifications for. If you are one, you do not only gain achievement on paper through this experience. You can also become a member of a community that understands and uses the same language you just learned.

Such a group oftentimes opens new doors. You can meet like-minded individuals or organizations to collaborate with. You can find access to resources so you can continue to enhance your learning.

Prepares you as a teacher

Roman philosopher Seneca said, “While we teach, we learn.” Once you get your hands on a certification, you become ahead of some people in the industry. Let’s go back to the community example.

In this group, you may find younger or newer professionals who will be asking the questions you used to have. This is your opportunity to share your knowledge. The more you articulate what you know, the more you remember it.

In the case of a personal trainer, teaching others is the best application of your certification. Yet again, as you pass on your understanding of a fitness activity or regimen to others, you get to refine your knowledge as well.

Now, let’s have a quick look at the steps you need to take in order to unlock these advantages.

Here’s an outline on how you can get the certification that will help you level up your skills and knowledge as a professional:

  • Research about highly-recognized certifications in your field.
  • Look for reputable agencies that provide certification services for professionals in your desired field or area.
  • Consider the cost. While there are free ones such as Google AdWords and Analytics certification, there are also ones that you need to shell out money for.
  • Study diligently. Take this opportunity to review the things you have forgotten and learn new ones as well. Then prepare for the test.
  • Further, use this time to understand your strengths and weaknesses in this certain area. Your goal should not be perfection in that you have to get a 100% mark. It should be excellence. This means you have to be thorough about learning the concepts and their practical applications. If you find yourself struggling at some point, then that’s your cue to glean insight from the moment. At the same time, do not hesitate to ask help from others.
  • Wait for the results. If you’ve done well and got the certification in one go, then you can return to the advantages mentioned above. If you’ve failed, consider it a challenge and do your best next time.

Lastly, do not hesitate to share your certifications on your LinkedIn profile and other professional networking platforms. After all, you’ve worked hard for each of them.

If you are planning to attract more prospects, do not forget to update your resume as well. These days, self-employed individuals can be competitive just like their corporate employee peers. And certifications are a way to stay on track.

Written By
Vikas Agrawal is a start-up Investor and co-founder of the Infographic design agency Infobrandz that offers creative visual content solutions to medium to large companies. Content created by Infobrandz are loved, shared and can be found on very popular sites like Forbes, HuffingtonPost, BusinessInsider, Elitedaily and many others.

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