12 IT Certifications That Deliver Career Advancement

By Richard Hein                   
Certifications play an important part of any IT professional’s career, although there will always be some debate on how important. Certifications are, like most things in life: The more you put into them, the more you will get out. While the actual knowledge you gain on the journey is the true reward, certifications also indicate to employers that you take your job seriously and that you are knowledgeable on the respective technology.

With more than 1,700 professional IT certifications running the gamut of IT technologies, knowing which certifications are the most important for your specialty can seem an insurmountable task. To help you meet the challenge, we’ve sifted through data from Robert Half Technology to narrow your search and bring you a manageable list of the most relevant IT certifications for the remainder of 2012.
Dice.com, citing Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data, reports that Q2 2012 jobless rate for IT techs is at 3.6 percent, much lower than our national average. In a competitive market, you’ve got to do everything you can to distinguish yourself from your peers. Certification is an important part of that process. A recent poll asked users why they chose certification. The number one answer–at 51 percent–was that certification was a way to position themselves for a promotion or potential job.

Knowing Which IT Certification Is Right

Before you jump into a specific certification, there are some important questions that you need to ask yourself about your career goals and objectives:

  • What demographic of IT do you fall into? (Security, Web Development, Programmer and so on)
  • What are your career objectives?
  • What IT career are you most interested in?
  • What type of resources are needed (i.e. money and time)?
  • Will this certification have a significant impact on my career?

Taking the time to think about and document your response to these questions can help solidify your future goals and narrow your list of potential certifications further.

Tip: Once you’ve identified a role you’d like to advance to, look through Monster, Dice, CareerBuilder and other sites for those positions and see what IT certifications employers are looking for. You may find that on-the-job experience is what employers are searching for in one area of your expertise, so it would be logical to invest your time and money into certification in a different area to further your career goals.

Bonus Tip: You’ll find a must-have utility for your IT certification toolbox at GoCertify. The Certification Advisor allows you to plug in your area of expertise, skill level, career goals and more to generate a list of recommended certifications.

If your area of expertise is related to a listed certification’s focus and you don’t have that certification, you will definitely want to delve into it further. Now without further ado, here are our Top 12 IT Certifications.

1. Project Management Professional (PMP)

Completing the Project Management Professional certification shows employers that you have the necessary skills and resources to get the project done from start to finish, on time and on budget. It’s never been more relevant than in today’s IT industry where we all have multiple responsibilities. Average salary: $101,000.

2. Certified Information Systems Security Professionals (CISSP)

CISSP is a vendor neutral security certification. People who hold this certification have the skills and knowledge to complete high-level tasks involving architecture, design, management and/or controls that assure the security of business environments.
If you keep up with the news, you’ve seen all the latest security breaches at Sony, LinkedIn and many others; security is at the top of everyone’s list today. To punctuate that the Robert Half Technology Salary Guide reported that 24 percent of the 1,600 polled CIO’s stated security as their top concern. The amount of data companies now store can be mind boggling. Breaches cost money, man power and many times credibility. As threats continue to escalate, so will the demand for professionals who can find security holes and ward off the attacking hordes. Average salary: $97,000.

3. Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE)

RHCE is a Linux Red Hat Entperprise Linux certification and demonstrates that the holder has the skills and knowledge to perform the duties of senior system administrator, responsible for Red Hat systems. Deployments and migrations are second nature to an RHCE.
Linux continues to be adopted by more and more companies in an effort to decrease operating costs. Demand is outpacing supply making this one of the hottest Linux certifications. Note: In order to be eligible for this certification you must receive your RHCSA certification. Average salary: $90,000.

4. VMware Certified Professional (VCP)

VCP VMware’s first level of certification that focuses squarely on the vSphere virtualization platform. Recipients should have the skills to install, deploy, scale and manage vSphere environments, as well as general virtualization skills.
Virtualization is more popular than ever in today’s IT world and with cloud computing-based virtualization becoming more and more common this is sure to be a skillset that will be in demand for the next few years. Average salary: $95,000.

Certifications 5-12 and complete CIO article

A Little Bird Told Me — How to Use Twitter in Your Job Search

By Ritika Trikha

We took a Bliss Poll recently asking our CareerBliss community “Do you use Twitter as part of your job search?”

Of the more than 500 people who have taken the poll, nearly half said “I have no idea how to use Twitter for job searching,” and 41 percent said “No, Twitter is totally useless in my job search.”
OK, OK — we understand why skeptics might raise an eyebrow and roll their eyes at using the same forum as hey-look-at-me celebrities – like Kim Kardashian — who share an obscene number of self-portraits.

But Twitter is so much more than that. (And you don’t have to follow Kim Kardashian.)
“Twitter is one of the most powerful conversational networking platforms out there that make it easy for individuals to keep track of others within the industry, employers, and industry news publications,” says Jonathan Nafarrete, director of social outreach at BLITZ Agency.
Here’s how you can use Twitter as a job searching tool:

1. Find Relevant, Helpful Tweeps
Professionals at the top of your field are Tweeting cool, valuable information right now—and you’re missing it! The easiest way to scope out credible people that are most relevant to you is by searching similar job titles and industries. So, if you’re looking for a finance job, search “finance.” Then, on the left hand side, click “people” to find everyone who has listed “finance” in their bio.
After you add your favorite folks, take a look at who they’re following to get leads on more interesting people. Also, check out 10 Career Experts You Need to Follow on Twitter & 10 Internship Experts to Follow on Twitter to fill your feed with valuable career advice. Oh and @CareerBliss, of course!

2. Use Hashtags to Find What You Need
It’s not about simply adding a #hashtag #to #everything #you #type. It’s about using hashtags that are actually searched a lot. Here are some job searching hashtags that can pull up valuable information for any job seeker:

3. Jump into a Twitter Chat
Since everything happens in real-time, Twitter is a great way to conduct live conversations with people you might never be able to otherwise. Twitter Chats are a live, Q&A session that typically discuss specific niche, industry issues.
There are Twitter Chats for just about everything under the sun: From career advice to project management.
Try to Google and look for Twitter chats that are relevant to your area of expertise. Usually, one moderator asks questions (Q1, Q2, Q3) and any Tweeps can answer (A1, A2, A3). It’s usually an hour-long discussion once a week. Check out 4 Twitter Chats Every Job Seeker Should Know.

Tips 4,5, and complete CareerBliss artcle

5 Essential Tips To Make Your Social Profiles Resume-Ready

No matter your state of employment, even when you’re not actively in search of a job, your resume needs to stay in tip-top shape. That resume isn’t just on paper, it’s online too — because companies are increasingly more likely to peruse your profiles, your social media accounts are the true first impression.

Whether you’re content in your current position or the owner of your own business, having an accurate and professional social presence will allow you to develop your brand, get the attention of prospective employers and clients, and maintain your reputation within your industry. Here’s how to do so:

  • Nail your bio. Do you know how to describe who you are and what you do in 140 characters or less? That’s what Twitter asks of you. Utilize keywords, get to the root of what you do, demonstrate your passion and area of expertise, and express how you provide value. From the witty to the informative, make sure you’re standing out and showcasing your personality. On LinkedIn, your professional headline is just as important to your personal branding. Make sure that it says more than just your current job title; express your full competency.
  • Regularly update vital information. If your Twitter bio hasn’t changed since you created your account two years ago, or you haven’t looked at your LinkedIn profile since college, it may be time to refresh. You don’t have to constantly update the answer to Facebook’s question, “What’s on your mind?” — nor should you — but you should make sure you’re staying on top of life changes, keeping job descriptions current and sharing relevant content. Check in on your social networking accounts periodically to take a pulse on how they’re reflecting you as a professional and as a personal brand. You might want to use a tool like Reppler to help evaluate your social presence under a professional lens.
  • Shamelessly post and pin. It does you no good to shy away from sharing your work online. Pin your resume. Post your portfolio on your Tumblr. Don’t miss an opportunity to flaunt your skills, interests, or point of view. Potential clients, employers, and industry experts are on the lookout for new talent and thought leaders.
  • Tips 4-5 and Complete Forbes Article

    4 Questions Great Candidates Ask

    Be honest. Raise your hand if you feel the part of the job interview where you ask the candidate, “Do you have any questions for me?” is almost always a waste of time.

    Thought so.

    The problem is most candidates don’t actually care about your answers; they just hope to make themselves look good by asking “smart” questions. To them, what they ask is more important than how you answer.

    Great candidates ask questions they want answered because they’re evaluating you, your company–and whether they really want to work for you.

    Here are five questions great candidates ask:

    What do you expect me to accomplish in the first 60 to 90 days?
    Great candidates want to hit the ground running. They don’t want to spend weeks or months “getting to know the organization.”
    They want to make a difference–right away.

    What are the common attributes of your top performers?
    Great candidates also want to be great long-term employees. Every organization is different, and so are the key qualities of top performers in those organizations.
    Maybe your top performers work longer hours. Maybe creativity is more important than methodology. Maybe constantly landing new customers in new markets is more important than building long-term customer relationships. Maybe it’s a willingness to spend the same amount of time educating an entry-level customer as helping an enthusiast who wants high-end equipment.
    Great candidates want to know, because 1) they want to know if they fit, and 2) if they do fit, they want to be a top performer.

    What are a few things that really drive results for the company?
    Employees are investments, and every employee should generate a positive return on his or her salary. (Otherwise why are they on the payroll?)

    In every job some activities make a bigger difference than others. You need your HR folks to fill job openings… but what you really want is for HR to find the right candidates because that results in higher retention rates, lower training costs, and better overall productivity.

    You need your service techs to perform effective repairs… but what you really want is for those techs to identify ways to solve problems and provide other benefits–in short, to generate additional sales.

    Great candidates want to know what truly makes a difference. They know helping the company succeed means they succeed as well.

    Questions 4,5, and complete Inc. article

    Your Attitude is Key to Your Job Search


    It’s the one thing out of the entire process you can control. That’s what makes your attitude vitally important in the job search. You can’t control when someone is going to call you back, or if the person liked you, or what the economy is going to do, but you can control your attitude and how you conduct yourself throughout the process.

    Battling Depression

    The job search process inherently comes with ups and downs — moments of excitement and anticipation blended with feeling defeated and beaten down. It’s crucial that job seekers keep the negativity of the process from affecting their attitudes. If negativity starts seeping in and you feel defeated and hopeless, the hiring manager will see and sense the baggage, and will likely pass. They want someone who is positive and upbeat; someone who says, “Give me the ball and let me run through the line.”

    While you’re in job search mode, think about the way you ask for help, whether it’s from friends, work acquaintances or potential employers. Stay away from, “I know you don’t have time for me …” and instead say, “I have a lot to offer and would love to be able to share what I know and what I can do.” If you are sitting in the room anticipating the end of the play before the first act, it can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. Even when you’re frustrated, you can ensure it doesn’t come off as a liability — that’s when you pump yourself up, keeping yourself from going down the negative road.

    Your Attitude Can Persuade Your Potential Employer

    Conversely, a great attitude can make you stand out from all the candidates for a job opening. If you want to impress your potential employer, think carefully about the possible things going on in his or her work life that cause stress and anxiety. Talk about how you can go into that job and make things easier and better for the manager. Think, “I’m here to lighten your burden and load.”
    Accentuate your value at all times. Talk about demonstrated skill sets, not just, “I’m a good guy.” Instead, “I’m a good manager of people, I’m a good problem solver, I’ve been ahead of quota every year.” And in talking about past jobs, never criticize anything or anyone. Maybe you were let go, and that is emotional. But that shouldn’t bleed into your presentation — it’s negativity that the hiring manager doesn’t want to deal with. Your attitude and story need to always come across with positivity and confidence.
    How do you impress a hiring manger with your attitude? Here’s a few phrases that can be used as mantras as you navigate the job search. You might try repeating these to yourself if you become frustrated, or perhaps write some of your own that are personal to you.

    Read the phrases and the complete Mashable article

    Dave Sanford is the Executive Vice President, Client Relations at Winter, Wyman. Dave has been helping clients as they set their recruiting and hiring strategy for over twenty years. To learn more about Dave and how to leverage Winter, Wyman for your business visit www.winterwyman.com.

    20 Tips To Be A Job Hunt Ace

    Finding for a new job takes time, patience, energy, focus, and more. Devote yourself to your success, and you will be unstoppable.

    Follow these tips to become a Job Hunt Ace.

    1: Know what you’re looking for.

    2: Focus your efforts on what you want.

    3: Set goals, and create a plan.

    4: Make weekly and daily to-do lists.

    5: Get feedback on your resume, cover letter, portfolio, work samples, etc.

    6: Update your LinkedIn profile, join groups, and follow relevant people and companies on Twitter.

    7: Hunt — actively search — for job opportunities.

    8: Apply to relevant, posted positions.

    9: Reach out to organizations without vacant job posts.

    I bolded #8 as I see a lot of people apply to jobs that are not relevant.  They were an inventory counter for The Juice Stand and they applied for a Manger position at a store that does $25 million+ a year in sales, or they applied to Director of Worldwide logistics.  Doing this will make it look like the candidate is not aware of the scope of the jobs that they have applied for and will make it harder for them to be considered for the openings that could be a match.