Dear Danielle: Is Certification Necessary?

Dear Danielle:

Do many people in our industry feel that professional certifications such as PMP, MOS or others like it help in landing new clients? –SM

As someone who has been in this business for over 12 years and never once been asked by a client about certifications, I don’t feel they are necessary.

Some food for thought…

  1. Our industry designations don’t mean a whole lot to clients. They have no way of differentiating. The terms and acronyms we use are industry jargon to them, which means you may as well be speaking Greek. (Heck, I don’t even know what those designations are that you mentioned!). They don’t have any meaningful bearing or relevance in getting clients.
  2. Unfortunately, the impact of the good, reputable certification programs in our industry is diminished by the fact that there are untold numbers of opportunists and exploiters these days who create “certification” programs as personal sales vehicles to earn money and will “certify” anyone who can pay. Client’s don’t know how to tell the difference. Shoot, for all they amount to, you could create your own “certification” graphic and slap it on your site, and it would have about the same effect.
  3. No piece of paper or seal is going to ensure competence. The absolute best credential you can show clients is that competence that you demonstrate in everything you do, every presentation/image of your business, and every interaction you have with potential clients. That demonstration is the one thing that will engage both the rational and emotional senses in clients that make them feel safe and confident in a particular provider. That demonstration is the proof in the pudding, so to speak.

My advice… save your money.

You went into this business, presumably, because you have a body of administrative experience, know-how and masterful skills that you paid your dues to earn and didn’t come overnight. You don’t need to purchase some silly seal of approval to prove that.

Prove it by demonstrating your skill and qualification on your website, in your communications, in your marketing collateral, and in your participation and interactions with your market. That’s what will “seal the deal” and show prospective clients you really are and can do what you say.

You might be interested in a few of my other blog posts on this topic:

Are You Trying Too Hard?

Demonstrate Your Competence

What Can You Tell Me About Credentialing?

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