Are accreditations damaging your reputation?

IT people (project managers in particular) know about the pressure to embellish their CVs with industry accreditations. And many have succumbed to the pressure. They join an association, gather evidence to prove their competency, and do exams to gain those (supposedly) all important post nominals.

I do wonder if all this extra curricular activity is really worthwhile. After all, most of the senior professionals I know don’t seem to bother with any of it.

To my way of thinking, a string of post-nominals trailing off the page is not a good look. What I see is not a person with an eminent set of qualifications, but someone who may be not be quite there yet.

What do you think are the benefits of industry accreditations, and what’s the best way to present them to clients and employers?

4 thoughts on “Are accreditations damaging your reputation?

  1. Topical thought in the current economy. For every personal account of leaders without degrees, there are lists such as the HBR 100 that notes CEOs with MBAs rank on average 40 places higher than those without. Certification bodies such as the Project Management Institute cite higher average salaries for those with a Project Management Professional certification.

    I am reminded of links doing the rounds a few weeks back saying it is ok to do an MBA, but don’t “be” an MBA. Personally, my certification and degrees give me confidence that what I make up in the chaos of commerce is aligned with what has generally worked for those before me. Others may not need such confidence and may rely on a greater capacity for luck, intuition, or leadership nous.

    There is also the factor of mixed messages from the market, on the one hand celebrating the network and who you know, while demanding paper to open a door in the absence of connections or industry-specific experience.

    I am unsure if there is ever a point of being “there”. Perhaps we are all working to get there, while making “here” the best it can be.

    Good topic.

    • Hi Chad,

      Thanks for that thought about making being here the best it can be – love it. Very Zen-like.

      A little catch-phrase that I like is “Stop striving to start thriving.” There might be something in that for people suffering from lack-of-qualification anxiety.


  2. I know when it comes to exciting new fields, most people worry about “certification” and “licensure.” We live in a culture where academic degrees have been highly valued and given with the expectation that success will then follow. However, real life does not support that expectation. We see people who have sacrificed time and money in exchange for a degree, only to discover that real opportunities require characteristics other than a piece of paper. People pay for competence and results – not for the privilege of looking at a diploma.

    Often the person in the street does not recognize the merits of licensure or certification; what he/she is looking for is a person who can produce results. Training programs seldom have an accurate measurement of competence – they, like most any program of academics, reward people who pay tuition and regurgitate printed information.

    • Hi Patrick, Thank you. There’s certainly a huge gap between the real world and many of the academic programs that are on offer. Mentoring used to be a big part of the leadership responsibilities of managers and supervisors – now they (managers and sups) expect people to come job ready. It seems to me that the long term effect is that fewer people have the skills to mentor their team, leading to a deficit in leadership and an overall decline in capability.
      Thanks for your insights.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s