After I wrapped up my Institute experience, I remember leaving for my drive home thinking, “Now what do I do with all of this?!” For some, the IOM designation is enough of a badge to reach for the next rung in their career. For others, it’s the first step in a commitment to lifelong learning and professional achievement. Here are five reasons why I think you should consider taking the next step:
Apply Your Knowledge
Aside from the stack of “wish list to-do” items that have amassed from all of your IOM courses, working on your CAE or CCE (or CMP or CEcD, for that matter) is the perfect opportunity to drop some of your IOM knowledge and show your mettle. The exam is an opportunity to lighten some of that load and prove that the information stuck; but more importantly, it’s a place to exercise situations that you may not encounter in your day-to-day job.
With certification comes recertification. If you need an excuse for regular professional development– especially in areas like finance, governance, membership and government affairs– an advanced certificate is a necessary reason. Recertification requires courses or volunteer leadership from certain domains and will be helpful in keeping your education well-rounded and up to date.
Access New Opportunities
We all know membership has its privileges and as part of an elite group, CAEs and CCEs have an upper hand when it comes to some job openings or professional development events. The certification can demonstrate that you have a broad knowledge of organization management and can help organizations navigate through larger challenges. Particularly for executives looking to relocate, the CCE or CAE is a minimum bar for larger or more sophisticated organizations.
Work the Network
Certified executives stand out above the rest and are part of a unique network of professionals. This network might be more inclined to lean on each other for professional advice, job referrals, or speaking opportunities. Certifications are a fantastic tool for others to search against in LinkedIn, Google, or resume searches and bring you to the top of the list.
Raise the Professional Bar
Certification helps members, board leaders and other stakeholders recognize the professionalism of staff. It also gives new association or chamber professionals a role model to look up to for a career path. Especially in markets where staff positions are not highly regarded or valued, a certification can show outsiders that you take your job seriously.
Everyone has their own professional journey; these were a few of the benefits I’ve experienced since graduating Institute. As you already know, it’s not about the letters after your name as much as it is the experience that gets you there. Good luck on your own path to excellence!