By: Heather Natal, CMP
Have you ever wondered if there’s a way to grow your career without going back to school? IABC’s Global Communication Certification Council (GCCC®) offers two tiers of certification: Communications Management Professional and Senior Communications Professional. While it can seem daunting to take the first steps, let me share my experience with you.
In 2009, I joined a life and material science company as a communications coordinator. We had a small team of two and although I had six years of marketing experience under my belt, I still had a lot to learn. My boss introduced me to IABC to keep our skills fresh and stay up to date on the latest trends within the profession. It was wonderful to find an organization that kept us abreast of current topics and challenges since many of our co-workers had more scientific minds.
As the years went on, my career grew and I was promoted to communications specialist, and then to senior communications specialist. I had managed everything under the marketing communications umbrella from product branding and tradeshows to social media, marketing collateral and website design. When people had a question, I was the first person they would ask. The only hold-up for me, was what’s next?
One day, while I was on the IABC website, I noticed the organization was planning to offer a certification as a Communications Management Professional. The details were not clear at first online, but I signed up to be notified once the exam would be offered in Chicago. I immediately signed up once I received the email. As soon as I hit submit, I immediately thought, “how am I going to study for this?” Since I was attending the first exam, there wasn’t a lot of information available.
On the Saturday afternoon of my exam, I drove downtown and arrived a little early at the office where I was greeted by two wonderful IABC members who were proctoring the exam. Their welcoming personalities put me at ease. As I sat down to begin the exam, I was given a pencil, test book and Scantron. The questions were written in a way I could use my work experience to answer them easily and the rest of the test went by quickly.
A few weeks later, I got the good news – I passed the exam and was a certified Communications Management Professional! I finally felt that I belonged to a larger community and that my skills were validated in my field. Along with the extra letters I proudly add to the end of my name, I was acknowledged as a leader in our company and continue to serve on the board for the Chicago Chapter of the IABC. Now, I’m on my journey to move to the next level and apply for the Senior Communications Management Professional certification.
To learn more about getting certified, visit https://gcccouncil.org/.