TB0ne makes a good point.
Cisco certifications are difficult to obtain, and they do show a good set of skills. But for a systems administrator position, they're not strictly NEEDED, but they are beneficial to have at times.
I work with one of the "big telecommunications companies" and Cisco Certs were pushed as an industry standard from the late '90's until '06/'07. Since then the consensus has been that Cisco trains technicians to work on Cisco equipment. It does not focus on the 'big picture', which is the problem with most certification programs. However, it is the closest standard that big companies have to validate an individuals skills and knowledge, other than a college degree.
With that said, people within a particular culture (ie. UNIX, Linux)continuously strive to become more proficient at their skills. These same people tend to resent certifications that render knowledge down to a basic 50-100 question test, validating them as System Admins. I assure you that knowledge and certifications have their place, but without experience that comes through trial and fire all you are capable of doing is making your resume shine.
Please do not get me wrong, I am a Manager and if I see a certification on a resume it will get my attention. But, I will be looking for experience to back it up. Either as vocational or "hobbyist" experience. Basically, you better have some sample scripts and be prepared to answer some questions.
One additional piece of information, be humble. If you come into an interview trying to impress to the point that you cannot possibly learn another thing about UNIX/Linux/anything, you will not be called back. Managers like to see competence and a WILLLINGNESS TO LEARN!