By Mallory Dees, BPP
It isn’t just when you’re looking for your first role in marketing that your qualifications come under scrutiny. From a Professional Certificate to a Chartered Postgraduate Diploma, when you’re talking to recruiters or employers a professional qualification opens doors and can even be a pre-requisite to be considered for a new position. But, from networking with colleagues to finding out about different sectors, you might be surprised by what you can learn from studying.
Real help, right now
Professional study has real, tangible benefits on your day-to day work - the skills and knowledge you learn can be invaluable to your current role. You can quite literally learn something in class one evening, and put it into practice the next morning. If you’re a marketing executive, say, studying for a CIM Professional Diploma will help you write marketing plans and give you a broader understanding of how to review the market and assess the competition. Plus, shop around. Some providers also offer you further skills workshops or training which can give you knowledge and experience outside the syllabus. This can sometimes be included as part of the course fees.
Is the grass greener?
You may think you know your industry inside out, but you might be surprised what perspectives marketing colleagues from different sectors have. As well as giving you exposure to how different industries work, lessons you can learn from them and widens your perspective. Debates in class can be lively and are encouraged. And that’s before you even get started on what you’re learning from your tutors who are often veterans of a diverse range of sectors themselves. And of course, if you find a certain sector or industry particularly interesting, it can give you ideas about where to further your career that you might never have thought of otherwise.
Even if people aren’t looking at your CV – say if you’re being considered for an internal promotion or transfer, having a professional qualification will give you a real competitive advantage. It might just show how dedicated you are to Marketing as a career. It will certainly show that you’re committed to improving your skills and knowledge. And don’t forget that what you learn when studying will help you adapt and make the transition to a new position - giving you the knowledge, tools and confidence to perform at a higher level.
Networking, while working
Talk to people who’ve done one course or several, and they’ll say that one of the most enjoyable aspects of studying is the people you meet in class, or afterwards. Your fellow marketers will hail from a wide range of sector and backgrounds and even if you’re not looking at the kind of social life you might have enjoyed at university, people often socialise after classes, and lasting friendships are formed – with professional benefits too.
If you’re self-employed or working as a consultant, professional qualifications can be a great way to share your ideas and experiences with your peers. Regular contact with fellow marketing professionals might offer you more than you thought and certainly keep you up-to-date with the latest thinking and practices. You might even get some work out of them too!
Whichever of these reasons might be right for you – and even if you’re simply looking to beef up your qualifications and improve your CV, the best people to give you advice on whether additional study is going to be a good thing for you personally and professionally are those who have gone through the process themselves. So read the brochures and look on websites, but there’s nothing like discussing it with colleagues or friends who have seen the advantages first-hand. Most colleges will hold Open Days or other events for potential students, so don’t be afraid of finding out for yourself. Enjoy!
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