Some of you reading this might remember what it was like to look for a job before the digital age. Years ago, you could print a pile of résumés, drive around town and drop them off at company front desks for hiring managers to consider you for a job. If you did that today, most receptionists would look at you like you had two heads and then politely request that you apply for open positions on Indeed or LinkedIn. They might take your name and email down, but only so they can identify your application and immediately delete it if it crosses their desktops.
A lot has changed over the years, and one of the biggest differences in hiring practices today has to do with education and credentials. Hiring managers now rarely bother to review educational records or certifications listed on a résumé; not because these are irrelevant, but because traditional education and certifications fail to provide relevant documentation and evidence of skills. A bachelor’s degree in communications indicates the candidate graduated, but it doesn’t guarantee the person is particularly skilled at speaking in front of people. Similarly, a hiring manager may not recognize or understand the knowledge and skills required to earn a NABCEP Board Certification.
At NABCEP, we know there are customers and even professionals in the renewable energy industry who have either never heard of our board certifications or don’t fully understand the dedication, time and effort it takes to earn them. NABCEP Board Certifications increase a professional’s income (by an average of over $11,000 annually) and can also dramatically improve quality assurance in the industry as long as customers, employers and other stakeholders understand their significance. NABCEP certainly understands the importance of third-party certifications like the ones we develop — we’re ANSI-accredited ourselves — but the key is to help others understand. To that end, we have come up with a new mantra: “With your cert on display, success is one click away.”
To encourage clicks that lead to a better understanding of our programs and the value they add to the industry, we developed NABCEP digital badges for our Board Certified Professionals and Accredited Companies. Digital badges offer a breakthrough in how hiring managers and customers can access and confirm information about a person’s professional background.
The concept of the digital badge is fairly straightforward: it’s a logo that, when clicked, will instantly verify that the person has earned the certification, as well as provide a summary of the certification, skills, standards and educational requirements needed to earn and keep the certification. It also offers valuable information about when someone first earned the certification and when their certification will expire; and it gives NABCEP Board Certified Professionals the option to add a photo of themselves to personalize it further. Information like this is critical for employers and customers to make informed decisions regarding employment and contracts.
However, earning a NABCEP digital badge is only half the story; the next part involves using it. Once a person earns and accepts their NABCEP digital badge, it is equally important for them to use it in a way that encourages employers, customers and stakeholders to click it. With NABCEP digital badges, there are several ways to leverage your board certification and showcase it in a way that encourages those valuable clicks. To that end, we recommend a cross-channel digital badge strategy that involves:
- Adding the digital badge to email signatures
- Sharing it on career-focused websites like LinkedIn and XING
- Sharing it on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter
- Embedding the digital badge HTML code on your websites
- Sharing the digital badge URL with potential employers and customers
- Downloading the digital badge image to use with your name and certification number on marketing materials
- Adding the digital badge to an online portfolio with visuals of your projects in the industry
Digital badges are not just the new shiny thing; they are a tool that can be used to exhibit a person’s commitment to quality. The more you use them, the more opportunities you create for others to recognize your worth as a professional.
With companies in the renewable energy industry scrambling to find qualified workers, NABCEP digital badges can provide a competitive edge to help applicants get noticed and hired. Research from Credential Engine indicates that employers are willing to look at up to four digital badges when reviewing a candidate’s qualifications, which provides them with information they wouldn’t necessarily see on that person’s résumé. Customers are also looking to work with qualified professionals, so if they can click a NABCEP digital badge that instantly verifies industry-relevant skills, knowledge and competencies, it will make that person look all the more appealing.
Like NABCEP’s mantra says: “With your cert on display, success is one click away.”
Dan Pickel, program manager at NABCEP, will be contributing training columns to Solar Power World throughout the next year.