Certifiably Skilled

Submitted on December 12, 2017
CV on a desk (photo from the balance)

By Elizabeth Labiner

The job market can be a daunting prospect for graduate students, regardless of their field or desired career path. It’s never too soon to consider ways to make yourself a desirable job candidate, and one way to give your skills -- and your résumé, CV, and Linked In profile, etc. -- a boost is through additional certifications and trainings.

The University of Arizona’s Eller College of Management has several options for improving students’ career eligibility. While some might balk at business courses that seem to have little or no connection to their field, Brett Anderson, CRM Manager for Eller Marketing and Communications Team, points out that many of Eller’s courses focus on skills that can be applied to any specialty:

Eller certificate programs make a great addition to a non-business path of study for graduate students by adding business-related tools to the already established specialization that the graduate student is pursuing. These tools allow for a stronger résumé and show that the student is dedicated enough not only to pursue a graduate education but also to bolster their education with additional certificates and experiences.

Among Eller’s offerings are certificates in business, accounting, business intelligence and analytics, and enterprise security. Classes for the business certificate focus on aspects of sales, management, marketing, legal matters, and finance.

Another cluster of certificates is available through the Eller Executive Education program. Five of the six certificates focus on leadership in different forms and fields, including nonprofit organizations and the public sector, and the sixth certificate is in healthy workplace practices. While the Executive Education programs are tailored to individuals already in leadership and management positions, they offer many elements that are highly useful to graduate students, particularly those who wish to pursue roles in nonprofits and administrative or leadership positions in academe.

A vitally valuable skill for all graduate students is effective communication, Anderson says, for both academic and non-academic employment. “You can be highly educated in your given degree or field, but being unable to communicate that passion or vision effectively to a board or higher ups in your career can be debilitating and have an adverse effect on your career path,” says Anderson.

Along with sharpening their communication skills, Anderson encourages all students to diversify the abilities they bring to an employer, regardless of their desired career path. “Diversify your toolbox,” he emphasizes. “Diversifying allows for options and more doors open to possibility. [...] Someday you may not want to be the engineer, educator, or chemist, but instead run the company, school, or lab, which would allow you to continue pursuing your passions and pass along the education you worked so hard for.” Additionally, an array of skills and ability to apply one’s knowledge and experience in myriad ways shows employers that the graduate student will be an asset to their organization.

Graduate students have the intelligence, expertise, and drive to succeed in any number of careers; adding certificates to one’s résumé and CV is yet another way to convey one’s skills in a tangible, concrete fashion.

To explore Eller’s offerings, including certificates and degrees, visit https://www.eller.arizona.edu/.

Eller is just one among the many UA colleges that offer certificates. For a list of nearly eighty certificate programs offered at the UA, visit the Graduate Catalog and Program Descriptions page and put ‘CERTG’ in the search box.