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‘I Got My Certification, Now What?’

You’ve already made the life-changing decision to enroll in, and complete, a career training program, but now that you’ve taken your exam and passed the test, it’s time to put your certification or degree to good use.

It can be daunting to start looking for a new job, but if you take it one step at a time, your goals are within reach.

Start prepping early and continuously

This is, perhaps, the most important step because it sets you up for future success. If you get a chance to showcase your skills and expertise, take the leap. The more experience you have, the better your portfolio will look.

Whether it’s additional classes, field and volunteer work or apprentice experiences, it’s important that you document anything that makes you a strong candidate. Keep a running list of the things you accomplish, so that when the time is right, your resume will be ready to send out.

Do your research

Take some time to research what positions are open and best suited for you, research locations and companies that you’re interested in and exhaust your resources. Use various job-hunting sites, previous connections and your local Career Coach to help.

Put yourself out there

Now is the time to get out of your comfort zone. Reach out to employers you’d like to work for and set up informational interviews, ask for recommendations, utilize apprenticeship opportunities, etc.

According to U.S. News, 70% of people end up in their current position through networking. In 2013, Forbes reported that nearly 80% of jobs were never advertised and the position was filled through a personal connection.

Sometimes, it can really be about who you know and not what you know.

Make your move

At this point, you’ve gathered your application materials, done your research to find ideal positions and made impactful connections. All that’s left is to go for it. Go through your list of available opportunities and complete your applications one by one.

Stay organized and continue to take it one step at a time. Don’t be afraid to apply to several positions at once and try to stay positive throughout the experience. If you’re feeling stuck, don’t forget to use the resources made available to you through your local training program and community college.

Looking for help taking your next step? From finding the right training to connecting you with potential employers, a FastForward Career Coach can help you every step of the way. Reach out and connect with your local coach to learn about your options.