Letters after your name or more commonly known as “post nominal” letters can be very helpful.
In this article, I want to share with you my thoughts and also some of my top tips based on career experience.
A Quick Comparison
To give you a comparison, let’s say you have to choose between two medical practitioners and at this stage you have only met them face-2-face.
One says “I have 25 years of experience” and the other one says “I have 15 years of experience”.
Which one would you chose?
I know that I would most likely choose the one with 25 years of experience.
Because he or she has been around the block and hence they are bound to know what they’re doing. That was an easy choice I guess….
What if F2F meeting wasn’t an option?
Supposing meeting F2F was not an option.
They might be in different parts of the world and you were just presented with their CV and their qualifications.
You can see on their CV that the one with 15 years of experience has spent a long time crafting very carefully their career progression and getting a lot of accreditation.
Whereas the one with 25 years of experience and no letters after his/her name has just gone through the school of hard knocks.
Which one would you choose now?
The “assurance factor”
I would prefer the one that’s gone through a rigorous process of checking because it demonstrates that they have really established their credentials.
The letters I am referring to here are not educational qualifications.
I’m referring to specific letters associated with the profession.
For example, in my case, I deal with risk and safety so my membership is with specific associations or accreditation related to that discipline.
Letters after your name does help and it’s important.
Imagine you’re applying for a job and your CV is in a in a pool of CVs.
Your CV has to stand out.
If you can show your career progression with affiliation and accreditation, chances are higher that will stand out in the crowd and add weight to your profile.
I am still surprised that a lot of my colleagues who have much more experienced than me and have been around the block are contacting me asking to referee them for a specific association.
When I ask them “why didn’t you do this earlier” they say it was an oversight and now a lesson learnt….learn from our mistakes.
My Top Tips
It’s Never Too Late
My first tip that I want to share with you is that it’s never too late. The main issue is that some associations will only allow you to go back for your last 5 years of historical experience.
Maybe you are now in a leadership position and you don’t really do much technical stuff and this means you might have done yourself a disservice by not gaining the recognition for the technical stuff that you’ve achieved.
Refresh Your Career Profile
If you have left it too late, you can get a bit confused as to some of the things that you’ve done.
I have done another Vlog titled “The Skills Assessment Matrix” which has a downloadable template that will help you refresh and focus on where you are in your career.
It’s definitely something that I highly recommend and you should try out an periodically update your career profile.
Add Clarity – Choose Wisely – Get Focused
Perhaps after 4 or 5 years into your career you might start to have a mind-melt thinking about areas in your discipline that you may want to specialise in?
It’s important to have clarity in terms of the direction you want to progress because you will have to choose wisely which association or association you want to be affiliated with.
I made a big mistake at one point in my career when I had joined many associations and had many letters after my name. Later I discovered it was pointless and expensive.
Keep Your Network Alive
Keep your network active and alive because there will be time in the moment in the future when you want someone to referee you so it’s important to have a network people who are Fellows, Chartered members etc.
If you have worked with or for them, they will know about your work experience. Hence they can support and validate your application for association or that all important upgrade.
Stay on Top of Things – Plan and Do
Keep on top of things because leaving and procrastination is not going to do it any good.
You need to make sure that you keep a daily or weekly or monthly track record in terms of what you doing in your career to achieve the higher grades within your association.
Make full use of the guidelines and details that you Association will provide through their Membership or Continuous Professional Development (CPD) requirements.