You Are What You Make
In the professional world there are only two things that matter:
1. Your ability to create value.
2. Your ability to prove it.
When an employer is looking at new hires, they are looking for someone that can create value for their company. What better way to show that you can create value by creating value? In the employer's eyes, you are only as good as what you can produce. In order to land that next job, you must show them the things that you have produced. Now many people can produce a third party credential from an institution, but have you produced something more (tangible)? If you haven't, you need to. By producing tangible results for the employer to judge, you significantly greater than chances of you beating out the competition.
Prove that you have the skills required for the job by doing what is required for that job prior to applying. If you want to work in SEO, build a Shopify store, market your store, track your online traffic, track your sales, track your conversion rates. When you are ready to apply for the SEO team at the company, package up all of your data to show them what you are capable of. When you have proof that you can bring to the table what they need and more, the ability for them to evaluate your MVP (Marginal Value Product) becomes much easier. When you make it easier for them to say yes, the needle begins to point in your favor.
Show, don't tell. If you haven't made anything that showcases your skills, do it. Better yet, when you do, make it a project that is specific for the company you are applying to. The more personal it is, the more they know you care.
Simply, when you are in the job market, you are what you make. Nothing more, nothing less.