When I first thought about pursuing the Certified Professional in Talent Development (CPTD), I was unsure if it would provide the benefits I was seeking. Having completed my journey, I can tell you that it was worth the effort.
Stand Out from the CrowdWhen searching for a new job, the first hurdle job seekers face is getting the initial interview. Unless that hurdle is crossed, candidates cannot even begin to explain why they are the best fit for the position.
As the world has become more digitized, many job seekers struggle because recruiters and hiring managers use key words and phrases to screen resumes and narrow the pile of interested applicants. Many also use algorithms to separate those candidates who have at least 80 percent alignment with the job description and then sift through what remains. As a best practice, many job seekers research the companies they are interested in to ensure that they thoroughly meet their qualifications and include words that match what the companies are looking for on their resumes or cover letters. If we see a position of interest and realize we cannot make it past this hurdle, we train (in the form of stretch projects or more education) and sometimes settle for a lower position to meet and document the experience required for the roles we desire.
Prove Your Knowledge & SkillFor some, an advanced degree in an area of talent development may help them to pass into the interview phase of a job search, in which they can showcase their skills and expound on their experience with the hiring team. Some of us, however, are accidental talent development professionals and may have degrees (including advanced ones) in an unrelated discipline.
I am an accidental TD professional and have functioned in this capacity for more than 15 years, so I felt pursuing my CPTD would help prove my depth and breadth of knowledge in the talent development space. Given that I was not sure which graduate program I wanted to pursue, I felt the certification process (and exposure to additional capabilities) would help me to narrow my interest in a faster and more economic manner. In addition, since professional certifications require recertification every three years through continuing education, employers can be assured that credential holders are staying abreast of the field.
Deepen Your Understanding of the FieldI initially obtained my certification to increase my visibility to recruiters and hiring managers (as I know that the acronym CPTD is included and often heavily weighted in the minds of those who hire and within the algorithms they use). However, what I got out the certification process was a deeper understanding of the depth and breadth of talent development field as well as a general confidence boost in my role within the industry. Now I do not just think the methodologies I employ may work, I know the pros and cons of all the things that should be considered and can make more significant decisions. As I consider an advanced degree, I see that there are more areas to consider than those that I had encountered in the talent development space. I now know enough about each to make an informed decision about continuing my education.
If you ask anyone who has attempted the process, receiving your CPTD is not a simple task. You cannot simply read the Talent Development Book of Knowledge and successfully sit for the exam. It is not a sprint; it is a marathon in which each step provides more insight about the path. And although I initially prepared alone, I quickly learned the value of a study group. Enlisting the perspective of others helped me with the metacognitive skills related to certification preparation. I learned the areas that I had a good mastery of and the areas where I needed to sharpen my skills.
If you are seeking employment in talent development and want to get noticed or sharpen your job skills, consider earning your CPTD. You will be affirmed in what you know and challenged by what you still need to learn.