For those working in communications, gaining a certification can increase your knowledge and skills, allow you to be recognized for what you already know, and earn you notable credentials to use in your title.
Looking for a job? A relevant certification can make you more appealing to potential employers over the competition.
Have a job? A certification can encourage your current employer to notice the value you bring, making you a candidate for a promotion or leadership role.
So, which certification(s) should you consider?
Check out five communications-oriented certifications that can give you an edge in both present and future roles.
1. Accredited in Public Relations (APR) – The APR is available to practitioners with 5-20 years of experience, and certifies your professional expertise, ethics and personal commitment to the industry. The accreditation process takes a year and involves preparation of a work sample and taking both written and oral exams. In Canada, the APR is available through the Canadian Public Relations Society.
2. Communication Management Professional (CMP) – This certification is for generalist, specialist and other business communicators established in their careers and looking to demonstrate their competence. To write the CMP exam, applicants must have at least six years of work experience, two years of education and 40 hours of training. The certifying body, the Global Communication Certification Council, was created by, but is independent from, the International Association of Business Communicators.
3. Google Analytics and GoogleAds – Google Skillshop’s online course offerings get you “Google certified” and proficient in using Google’s products. Why is this an advantage for a communications professional? An understanding of website analytics can allow you to prove that visits or purchases spiked linked to the timing of an event or campaign, or that traffic originated from an earned media piece. Further, understanding how GoogleAds works can enable you to write more SEO-friendly, keyword-driven articles, news releases and blog posts to drive search traction for your brand.
4. Project Management Professional (PMP) – The PMP certification proves that you’re a skilled and knowledgeable project manager. The majority of communications campaigns face the three constraints of a project – time, cost and quality – and a PMP will be better able to successfully manage them all. Getting your PMP requires education, at least three years of work experience, 35 hours of training and writing an exam. (Note: I have my PMP certification, so drop a comment below if you have any questions about it.)
5. Business French – Being able to speak, write and read French can give you an advantage because many national communications campaigns are bilingual. I’d recommend in-person courses so that you can practice speaking the language and discuss questions with instructors and course mates, in addition to building your reading and writing abilities. That said, apps like Duolingo are also valuable because they’re free and flexible.
Bonus: Niche certifications – Other certifications can be beneficial for communications professionals in certain industries. For example, if you specialize in investor relations, passing the Canadian Securities Course would assure your clients that you’re knowledgeable about the nuances of the financial services industry and financial instruments.
Are you considering completing one of these certifications? Share in the comments.
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