The start of a new year is an ideal time to set new personal and professional goals to work toward. Studying for and achieving an IABC certification can help check those boxes.
Professional certification provides an opportunity for communicators to demonstrate their knowledge and expertise, and it shows evidence of their outstanding abilities. Achieving and maintaining professional certification engages communication professionals in lifelong learning.
The Global Communication Certification Council (GCCC) has developed two certifications, the Communication Management Professional (CMP) certification and the Strategic Communication Management Professional (SCMP) certification. Here, three recent SCMP certificants, Jane Hamilton, Megan Thomas and Dan Costigan, share why they pursued SCMP certification, how they achieved the designation and where it can take their careers.
Read on to learn more about their journeys to certification, including engaging with study groups and deepening their skillsets, and find out how you can embark on the road to certification in 2021.
Why did you choose to pursue the SCMP certification?
Jane Hamilton: As part of my role with the IABC New South Wales Board, I’m responsible for professional development, and our goal is to increase our chapter’s certification numbers. I thought it would be beneficial to complete the SCMP myself to recognize my own experience and encourage others.
Megan Thomas: Communication is a profession that spans a huge variety of skills, and an ongoing investment in our development is really important. I also particularly wanted validation and recognition of the skills and experience I’ve gained as practitioner of more than 20 years.
Dan Costigan: I thought this would be a great opportunity to become a well-rounded communicator. Preparing for the exam prompted me to study all areas of communication, which has been greatly beneficial.
In preparing for the exam, what were some practices you found most useful?
JH: I developed a study group to share what I had learned about preparing for the certification process with others who were keen to pursue certification in our IABC chapter. The group became not only a great motivator, but it also created a great sense of camaraderie as we worked toward the goal of certification. We met weekly online in the months prior to the exam to cheer each other on, share notes, links and resources, and we communicated in WhatsApp and Slack groups. It really aligned with the best part of IABC membership — connecting and developing communication professionals.
MT: We had a great little study group that met weekly and rotated responsibility for sharing knowledge on a particular topic. It was very supportive, and we had a lot of fun too.
DC: I completed the IABC Academy course “Learning Path: Strategic Management Professional (SCMP) Refresher” and studied the “IABC Handbook of Organizational Communication.” I made a habit of studying for an hour or two each evening, as well as carving time out each weekend.
What do you see as the benefit of having this designation? Any changes in your professional life since becoming certified?
JH: After posting my certification achievement on LinkedIn, I received lots of positive correspondence from my network. More importantly, I feel more confident in pursuing new and broader communication roles after my current role finishes at Bayer due to a restructure.
MT: I’ve had lots of congratulations which has been really nice, and people have inquired about what the SCMP is, giving me the opportunity to explain the importance of strategic communication. I like that the yearly renewal will help ensure I stay focused on my development.
DC: The main benefit is what I learned through the process of preparing for the exam. It made me knowledgeable in more areas of communication, and I will draw on this knowledge going forward.
Interested in becoming certified? Visit the IABC website to learn how you can get started with CMP or SCMP certification.
By IABC, featuring Jane Hamilton, Megan Thomas and Dan Costigan
Jane Hamilton is the employee communications manager, Australia and New Zealand, for Bayer.
Megan Thomas is the change and communications lead for the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and joint vice president and secretary for the IABC New South Wales Board.
Dan Costigan is the senior marketing manager with the Canadian Patient Safety Institute.