Making a good first impression is key during your career search. It begins with a solid, polished resume that showcases plenty of relevant skills, talents, achievements and credentials. Showing potential employers that you’re actively improving yourself by highlighting certifications on your resume will make you a more appealing candidate. As a leader in HR and career development services for employers around the world, Randstad RiseSmart is an authority on the certifications that really matter to hiring managers. We partner with enterprises to set employees (and their companies) up for success during and after employment.
If you’re an employer, certifications can become a key part of how you grow and develop your teams. Internal career development is essential to employee retention. It can also be built into the outplacement services you offer to exiting employees, when an event like a layoff or reduction in force occurs.
No matter the situation or perspective, online career certifications improve current performance and queue up success in the future. Pursuing certifications is always a good idea, but makes even more sense if:
- you’re an employee searching for a new job
- you’re an employee looking to grow with your current company
- you’re an employer aiming to create a future-ready workforce
- you’re an employer wanting to set up exiting employees for success during outplacement
Certifications will get you noticed, if they are the right certifications. Certifications will also help you get noticed for existing job growth — salary increases, promotions and lateral moves, for instance. As an employee, you’ll want to talk to your supervisor about your company’s interest in career development services and strategic skilling that supports a company’s growth ambitions. As a supervisor, consider the improved productivity and morale that comes with employer-sponsored career development — not to mention the impact on your bottom line when employees level up new skills. With this in mind, it can be an easy sell to your company’s decision makers.
No matter the skills you’re seeking to improve or learn, the list below provides examples of non-accredited online course certificates and their counterparts that provide accredited certificates that will help your resume stand out even more.
unaccredited learning: Udemy
Are you considering a professional certificate in a subject area such as marketing? The online learning platform, Udemy offers over 65,000 courses on a variety of subjects, professions and talents. It’s a great place to further your education on any job skill, hobby or personal interest. Udemy offers deep discounts often at 90% markdown on their courses nearly every month, making online learning very affordable.
Udemy certificates are not always recognizable by employers. Udemy is not considered an accredited institution, which means courses will not count toward college credit or continuing education units (CEUs). However, many of the courses are worthwhile and can help you develop new skills or improve skills you already possess. A rating system provides insight into how beneficial courses are for students. And whether or not the courses you take are accredited, your employer or potential employer will likely be impressed to see you’re committed to building your skills.
accredited learning: University of Phoenix Online certificate courses
The University of Phoenix Online provides certificate courses in several specialization areas, so you don’t have to pursue a full bachelor’s or associate’s marketing program. Instead, the Graduate Marketing Certificate allows you to go beyond learning the ‘Four P’s” of marketing.
The University of Phoenix Online Certificate courses are also fully accredited, which means employers, recruiters and hiring managers will recognize the certificate. The site also provides full disclosure on certificate pricing. Although it’s more expensive than Udemy, the courses go beyond a few hours of content, and include quizzes and homework that test your knowledge as you progress. The University of Phoenix Online also provides lists of the fields in which graduates can use their certifications for employment and the average salary for each position.
unaccredited learning: Coursera
Coursera is another online learning platform like Udemy. It’s backed by Stanford professors Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng, to provide an online learning library in multiple subjects including sciences, marketing, engineering and business. The site currently offers over 2,000 courses and has more than 25 million registered users.
Coursera has a mix of accredited and non-accredited courses, and works with certain colleges and universities to offer specializations in trending subjects. Coursera is considered a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). In 2017, five courses were selected and approved for credit equivalency, providing college transfer credits at colleges that accept ACE accreditation. It also offers full degree programs, payable via financial aid through the site. Many of the on-demand courses on Coursera are not accredited, though, especially if you’re pursuing a certificate in a focus area such as accounting – a popular certificate for online courses.
accredited learning: Kaplan University certificate programs
For a complete, accredited certificate in accounting, you may want to look at Kaplan University. It offers a detailed accounting program, without needing to apply for the two-year degree program on Coursera.
The certificate is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and Kaplan’s Graduate Accounting Certificate also prepares you for the CPA exam. The site also provides the career opportunities you can expect from the certificate. Moreover, should you need more in-depth accounting education, you can return to Kaplan and apply the certificate credits toward a Kaplan Degree program. While financial aid for this certification program is not available, military funding is available. If you’re currently employed, this reputable institution could be an option to present to your supervisor or HR department for ongoing learning.
unaccredited learning: SkillShare
Viewed as another Udemy-like platform, with over 19,000 courses and millions of users, SkillShare provides the tools you need to help with your personal career development goals. Its courses provide in-depth subject matter studies that are taught by online experts, entrepreneurs and business owners. If you’re pursuing a career in human resources, for example, SkillShare offers over 100 courses in the human resources field alone.
While SkillShare features many courses on different topics, the courses are not accredited by any institution, and SkillShare does not provide certificates at this time. If you’re currently employed, you can still consider looking into courses on SkillShare to focus on your own professional development, even if these courses aren’t accredited. And if you’re in the market for a new job, these courses can help you learn something new related to a subject you’re passionate about.
accredited learning: eCornell online certificate program
To get true recognition for an HR certification, you can consider a certificate from eCornell Online. The HR program from eCornell online offers several different certifications in HR, including HR Management and Strategic HR Leadership. eCornell’s certificates are also accredited by the HR Certification Institute. These courses are also taught by Ivy League faculty members and can transfer to other programs as CEUs.
All the human resources courses are structured for small class sizes and only require three to five hours of dedication each week, so it doesn’t impose on your working hours. While it takes four and a half months to complete the course and receive the certificate, it’s more in-depth, as opposed to taking a one-hour course on SkillShare and not receiving an accredited certificate of completion.
unaccredited learning: LinkedIn Learning
LinkedIn is one of the largest professional online networking platforms, so it would be sensible to offer on-the-job learning via their online platform. The service enables business and career professionals to hone their skills and expand their knowledge at a self-directed pace.
LinkedIn Learning provides users with access to learning from over 16,000 courses. You can find courses on business, tech and creative-related skills via the platform. Courses are taught by industry experts and LinkedIn Learning offers a free 30-day trial and is also included with premium memberships. While the content and learning information from LinkedIn Learning is delivered by experts in the industry, certifications are not accredited for all fields. However, when you complete a course or learning path on LinkedIn Learning, you can add the certificate for the course or the learning path to your LinkedIn profile, which can help you stand out to prospective employers and show your network that you’re learning new skills.
accredited learning: Microsoft Learning online program
For a certificate that carries weight and is recognized by employers, a better option might be to pursue the Microsoft Learning online program. There are over 16 different certifications to choose from, each with an exam to take to become Microsoft certified.
Microsoft’s certification courses are also college credit transferable and have been useful in helping graduates receive promotions to better jobs or higher-paying positions. If you choose to become Microsoft Learning certified, be sure to check out their recertification programs to stay current and keep your certifications.
An instantly recognizable name like Microsoft can also be appealing to current employers, who can bolster the company’s own brand with big-name talent certifications.
unaccredited learning: SkillSuccess
Offering over 800 courses in business, technology, health, personal development, languages, and beauty and fashion, SkillSuccess provides its students with certificates and hours of content. However, it’s still considered a MOOC like Udemy and Coursera and certificates from this online learning platform might not carry as much weight with many colleges or employers.
Courses are taught by industry experts and they often provide flash sales to purchase the high-cost courses at an 80% discount. If you’re looking to move into project management with a certificate from SkillSuccess, it can help you learn some foundational project management skills but won’t necessarily be as valuable as the real certificate from the Project Management Institute (PMI).
accredited learning: Project Management Institute (PMI)
The Project Management Institute offers everything you need to certify in Project Management, as well as a certificate that is immediately recognized by employers. Moreover, the PMI handbook instructs potential students on the education needed to successfully pass the PMI certification. This includes:
- training courses offered by a Registered Education Provider (R. E. P.)
- PMI SeminarsWorld
- education events hosted by a PMI chapter
- academic education via an accredited PMI Global Accreditation Center (GAC)
- e-Learning On-Demand Courses
PMI provides its own online learning courses with trained and registered educators. While a project management course from SkillSuccess is taught by someone who currently works, or has worked, in the industry, getting the right education from a registered educator will better prepare you to take the certification exam.
making the case for career development
While you might prefer a certification that is accredited, employer-recognizable, and worth listing on your resume, it’s important not to discredit options such as Udemy, Coursera, and other MOOC-based online learning platforms. These are a great way to enhance your current job talents, learn a new skill, or even learn about a new career before making the transition.
For the most meaningful, valuable certifications, the accredited institutions listed above might be your best option. As a job-seeker, the cost of courses will pay off in the reduced time spent job searching and higher salary upon hire. Internally, online certifications such as these will help improve productivity, promote internal growth — and set the whole company up for success. Learn how to turn skills gaps into career development opportunities fostering a future-ready workforce in this webcast from Human Capital Institute and Randstad Risesmart.
Consider how partnering with an industry leader such as Randstad Risesmart can get the most value from career development, redeployment and reskilling. Learn more about our full suite of talent mobility solutions and how you can make the case for career development — such as through online certifications — to your employer.
Randstad RiseSmart team