It is a bizarre world out there. Recruiters have the image in mind of a perfect candidate that doesn’t exist but they have to keep busy by trying to find that person. They are so rigid in terms of qualifications that previous experience or graduate education has no impact on their thinking.
A recruiter emailed me last week to arrange a 30 minute “chat” which was not an interview. He wished to tell me about the position, discuss my expectations and review my work history. If you want to chat with me, why not an interview? I told him that I didn’t have anything more to add beyond what was on my resume and the job description was pretty clear. As far as expectations, I think that was code for “we don’t want to pay you what you deserve”. This was an international organization that engages in relief and development work around the world. I did similar work as a Peace Corps volunteer for much less than whatever they were offering and decided to pursue a career in the field with the understanding that I would not become rich. I also have two master’s degrees and interned in the State Dept. bureau that provides some of the funding for their activities but none of that mattered. It’s enough to drive you crazy!
I understand your perspective on the certification. However, I think you will find that it is almost a necessity because recruiters are looking for specific indicators rather than ability. I plan on getting a few certifications. They are valid across a wide range of industries so you can demonstrate to employers that you have the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. Check out the Project Management Institute’s certifications.