Can three letters make a difference? Having a professional designation – those three or four letters beside your name, often makes a big impact on your professional development and career advancement. Those additional credentials, such as the Certified Association Executive (CAE) or Certified Meetings Professional (CMP) demonstrate that you have a superior level of expertise and experience in the field, and are a credible leader. Several Redstone team members have professional designations or are working towards them. Are you interested in pursuing a professional designation, but not sure where to start or what is involved? Here are a few words of advice.
There are many available designations, especially in the events and association management industry – CMP, CAE, CED, and the list goes on. How do you choose which one is right for you? Make sure to do your research to determine what designation matches with your career goals. Ask yourself the following questions: Where do I see myself in five years? What skills do I already have and want to build on? What skills do I need to develop further in order to achieve my career goals? When you answer these questions, you can better decide which designation is right for you.
When you narrow down the designations you are interested in pursuing, take a look at the structure of the designation and application process to see if you can realistically meet the eligibility requirements and complete the program in its entirety. Some programs have prior experience requirements, some are done completely online, some involve group work, and some have time limits for completion. Knowing the expectations of the designation and reflecting on your lifestyle and learning style will help set you up for success. You’ll avoid wasting money on an incomplete designation, should you decide later on that it wasn’t right for you.
Once you’re feeling good about your decision to pursue a designation, take a deep breath and dive in! There are often scholarship opportunities available to help you get started (Redstone’s Account Manager, Nzinga Brown, received the 2018 CSAE Donna Mary Shaw Award, which included a complimentary registration for CAE 100). You can also speak with your employer to see if there is an opportunity to include the designation in your compensation package. Once you’re registered for the first course/semester, make sure to set aside time in your weekly schedule to keep up with the readings, discussion boards, assignments and any other projects. Don’t forget to develop a good relationship with your instructors/peers to ensure you can get the support you need to be successful. Remember to maintain a healthy work-life-wellness balance, and pace yourself through the process. It will all be worth it in the end!
Hopefully these tips will help you as you consider upgrading your skills through a professional designation. Contact us to discuss how the Redstone team’s specialized skills can help you on your next project.