What Are Digital Badges?

blog cover with icon of digital badge

Two trends are standing out at the center of today’s hiring strategies: the use of social media and networking sites, and a more skills-based approach. And at the intersection of these two trends is digital badges.  

This post will break down what digital badges are and how they can help both hiring managers and job seekers in today’s talent search.  

What are Digital Badges?

Digital badges are a virtual credential to signify skills, knowledge, and/or abilities. They are web-based and clickable, and they contain information such as: 

  • Issuing institution 
  • Date of issuance 
  • Skill or credential earned 

They can also link to a list of the criteria and steps required for the digital badge in question—like rubrics, curriculum, course info, time commitment, and expert endorsement.  

But put simply, they’re a visual representation of professional achievements that clearly and prominently display one’s expertise as well as their commitment to learning. 

Examples of digital badges offered by Adobe, Oracle, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Microsoft.

Benefits and How to Use Them

Talent searches are predominantly online—especially in the initial stages. And LinkedIn profiles, digital resumes, and online portfolios have become popular tools for recruiters and hiring managers to find and vet candidates. They’ve also become a resource for candidates to demonstrate their qualifications and network with potential employers.  

Because digital badges work within any digital platform where it can be uploaded or embedded, they’re an asset to job seekers and hiring managers alike. 

So, let’s look a little closer at how this resource benefits each side of the talent search, and how to make the most out of them!  

For the Job Seeker 

For job seekers, a detailed list of hard and soft skills has always been a way to stand out from other candidates. But imagine the impression it would make if this list of skills was proven and officially verified?  

Through digital badges your list of skills, knowledge, or abilities becomes exceedingly more valuable to employers because they can trust that they’re legitimate. But that’s not the only benefit—digital badges are also great for: 

  • Goal setting and goal tracking 
  • Differentiation in the job market 
  • Demonstrating work ethic and commitment to professional development 
  • Continued learning 
  • Supplementing or substituting traditional degrees
  • Showing up in more LinkedIn search results  
  • Advancing your current career through upskilling  

Here’s a few suggestions to ensure you reap the full extent of those benefits: 

  • Determine which skill or ability you need for the career you want (or to further the career you have now) 
  • Research institutions that offer digital badges that align with your goals 
  • Once received, add digital badges to any site or document you want to be seen by hiring managers 
  • And don’t be afraid to share your new credentials with your professional network!  

For the Hiring Manager 

Digital badges are equally useful to hiring managers—especially in a skills-based approach. They can give a clearer idea of skill level, knowledge base, and a candidate’s general qualification for the role. Plus, you know you can trust the validity of the skill, knowledge, and ability in question.  

Basically, they’re a new and versatile way to assess candidates. When you see a digital badge, you can trust that you’ve found someone committed to their trade.  

To integrate this new tool into your hiring approach, try following some of these tips:  

  • Enter skills into the search bar and look for digital badge verification 
  • Research top digital badges, identify the ones an ideal candidate would have, and include those specific badges in your search 
  • Incorporate questions about the candidate’s digital badges into your interview  

Digital Badges: Great for Resumes, and Great for Talent Searches

Digital badges are rapidly gaining traction for their data richness, transferability, validity, and clear display of skills and knowledge.  

Whether you’re looking for your next hire or trying to take your career to the next level, consider adding digital badges to your strategy! 

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