This follows on the heels of my post about earning a "mini-MBA" for ad operations specialists. Since that post I was accepted to Rotman School Of Management at the University Of Toronto for their Fall 2014 Session to get an MBA Essentials For Managers certification which is commonly called a "Mini-MBA" [it is a fraction of the cost of the full degree and gives grounding in MBA theory necessary to function at the executive level]. I also went out and acquired my Adwords Certification from Google. On top of that I am now pursuing my Professional CeM Certification from the eMarketing Association (eMA) of North America. All of this is free, except for the business school program, and is done at my own pace reading material provided by Google and a university textbook suggested by the eMA which I purchased used online cheaply.
From the feedback of peers here in Toronto, some of the coursework I was taking on was pretty heady especially for someone new to the profession or unlike me not a bachelor with time on their hands. So the idea blossomed to look for Certifications in Digital Advertising that involved training and course load that were within reach for the fresh Digital Advertising Ops, harried Sales-person and time-crunched veteran with their personal plate full. Ideally awarded from credible organizations and associations that could be transported on a resume from job to job. And even be credible enough to be allowed to do during work hours when there were spare moments. A search gave up some very credible and worthy course work that finished with a certification from major household names in the Digital Industry and were free and were done at your own pace. Here are the few that will lend immediate respect and credibility to your work experience.
There are a variety of Professional Certification programs offered by colleges and private schools, eMA and the IAB for a fee, but we prefer those that are free of charge. DoubleClick For Publishers (DFP) is one of the more widely used ad serving platforms in the industry. And they offer a DFP University and if you register for their free programs you can earn certifications in Web Analytics and Ad Serving, both of which are popular specialties offered those fee-based bodies. They also offer an Online Ads 101 program which functions as a grounding for anyone being introduced to Digital Advertising but you do not get a certificate of achievement upon completion for that one.
As mentioned in the opening, Google offers free Certification in Adwords. There are two exams out of three choices which you must pass to be Adwords certified; a Fundamentals Exam and either an Advance Search or an Advance Display. The Certification only lasts a year and has to be renewed for business owners who rely on it to manage other people’s advertising or else you can simply say you had “graduated” from those exams. Related to the Adwords Certification is the Google Analytics Certification earned through the Google Testing and Learning Center. As mentioned, Analytics is a vital aspect of a digital organization used to optimize ad campaigns and providing executives with insight on web traffic. And it is freely available for those interested in bolstering their resume after some experience using Google Analytics.
If you join the eMarketing Association, which is a must as it is the largest Digital Marketing Association in North America and is different from the standards-setting body called the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB). For your membership fee of $75 a year, and discounts are readily available if you join their community on LinkedIn, you get to take their Fundamentals coursework and earn a Certificate of Achievement as part of your membership fee. Other courses cost money but their Professional CeM Certification can get earned without taking additional courses through reading the E-Marketing textbook by Judy Strauss, a university textbook taught in universities meaning you can buy it used from a student if you search for it. The Professional CeM Certification exam costs $190 to take but there is a practice exam and you get two attempts at it.
Finally I want to mention other certificates of achievement that are further afield which will help transport your resume from job to job as you progress in your career. On my resume I note training from my volunteering effort with a Distress Centre help-line. It reflects positively on my communication and listening skills that can only be found for this community service. There are other workshops having to do with Team-building or Public Speaking [Toastmasters International] which reflect well on your ability to “fit in” while learning the ropes in any new organization.