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Digital badges lead to job offers

March 1, 2022

Business and Technology Graduate News Stories

When Shauna Spencer M’21, C’21 was first told Saint Mary’s was offering her a digital badge to recognize the graduate certificate she had earned as part of her master’s degree at Saint Mary’s University, she wasn’t sure what to think. 

“It was cool to get an email saying that I had this badge and that I could print out my certificate,” Spencer said. “But my initial thought was ‘What else does it do?’”

At Saint Mary’s, graduate students are offered digital badges as a graphic verification representing their achievement after completing a specific online course or program. The badges can then be added to a résumé, portfolio website, or LinkedIn and other social media to draw attention to what they’ve learned. 

Now, with six badges added to her résumé and LinkedIn profile, the M.S. in Business Intelligence and Data Analytics graduate says she understands the value of the digital credential. 

Like many students in the Schools of Graduate and Professional Programs, Spencer sought out Saint Mary’s for its flexibility in allowing her to continue her career while earning a degree.

“Working and learning on the job, along with obtaining a formal education was super important, and Saint Mary’s allowed me to do that,” she said. 

After finishing her master’s program in business intelligence and data analytics in September 2021, it didn’t take Spencer long to find a new job with Children’s Minnesota. And she says her education from Saint Mary’s, combined with the digital badges, played a role in the career move. 

“When I was talking to the person who is now my supervisor, he said, ‘By the way, I noticed all these badges or certificates that you received from Saint Mary’s, can you tell me a little bit more about those?,’” she said. “They’re really a great conversation starter.” 

Most of those conversations about the badges aren’t even started by her. “It’s usually the recruiter or the person interviewing me who asks about them,” she said. 

To Spencer, the badges give recruiters and hiring managers a quick look into what students have learned while in the classroom. 

“You can always say you got a master’s degree from a certain program, but employers want to know more about that program’s content,” Spencer said. “Digital badging allows you to stand out, because it shows a software engineering or specific analytics class you may have taken and succeeded in.” 

As someone who has seen the benefits of digital badging, she encourages any Saint Mary’s students or graduates who have accumulated the credentials to take advantage of them. 

“I just think it’s a great way to differentiate yourself from other competitors when you’re looking for a position or even looking for a promotion,” she said. “They’re just a great way for you as an individual to stand out.”