That famous certification

Maybe it is cultural, and I confess, while France has been tied to the idea of its reputation, de facto, for ages, without worrying much about its image from abroad, titles and certifications have often been looked up to by a fairly limited number of ambitious, and sometimes hungry or greedy, young people. Maybe it is generational too: wanting to spread as many acronyms as possible beside a name on a business card may have come and gone for some. Yet, times are changing, and the race to collecting more titles, certifications and other degrees, has also picked up in that old Latin country, largely influenced by an Anglo-Saxon customs.

When I crossed the Atlantic Ocean to move to (the English-speaking side of) Canada, it became very clear to me that holding a title was going to be my ticket to get some doors open wider than others. To be fair, getting my credentials validated by a school everyone can place on a map, briefly refer to the latest educational institutions ranking that can produce a smile, is definitely comforting and reassuring.

Lori Greiner, from Shark Tank (picture from her Twitter account –

Granted, from a recruiter standpoint, credentials are also a sort of safety net as well. Of course, it takes a bit of work to have them recognised to their just value. When the hiring process follows the basic review of candidates outside of anyone’s network, certifications help categorising applications into the “possible contender” pile or not: hello keywords!

Then comes the time to evaluate skills, talents and adequacy to the hiring environment. That is probably when and where holding a series of degrees might fall short from some expected promises. Working from projects to projects, with new clients every time, new cultures, sometimes even new languages, offers a nice challenge on how far one’s character can adapt. Some industries intentionally pay more attention to these assets (and a few recommendations from their network usually help) than to the titles that sometimes go from a frame on the wall to the back of a forgotten drawer. And that is ok. (It is also very ok for medical or aircraft professionals to confirm they were properly trained and taught). Not everyone can be Erin Brockovich.

Now I will just go and get some more training. So I stay up to date with what the market is eyeing on, keeping my brain away from “it has always been done this way” standard, juggling between the processes and the mechanics on the one hand, and the values and mindsets on the other. Ah, the steps to getting wiser…