A current trend that seems to be gaining a lot of steam in the IT industry is the need for certifications for certain positions. Many candidates I speak with seem to have a love/hate relationship with them. I see some that have several certifications in many different disciplines and also see some candidates that have several years of experience in specific areas without any relative certifications. One of the biggest gripes I hear from experienced candidates is that certifications are expensive and don’t really prove anything other than someone is a good test taker. While I do think there is some merit to this but it also shows initiative and follow-through. Someone actually took the time to pay for, study and pass an exam that shows some level of technical ability. Hiring managers like to see this mixed with good experience because it adds instant credibility in backing up someone’s work experience.
Another thing that I see is a candidate that has several different certifications in several different disciplines without the necessary experience to back it up. This can absolutely send the wrong message to a hiring manager. If someone has a CCNA and Security+ then has a certification in .NET development without any relative experience a hiring manager may think the candidate does not have an idea of exactly what they would like to do. The best thing to do is find certifications that match up to what you are currently doing in your position. This can add weight to your resume and make hiring managers take notice. Proper work experience combined with certifications is always a good thing.