Do The Letters After Your Name Really Matter?

Letters jumble

Earlier this week, I was part of an exchange, where the value of certifications and of other educational credentials used behind someone’s name was being discussed. One of the statements made was that in the end, none of it mattered. At the time, I didn’t respond and just assimilated the information being put out, yet as I thought more and more about the exchange it bothered me – but not because I may or may not have agreed with the particular thought itself; no…something else kept gnawing at me, I just couldn’t put my finger on it until this morning.

I think that it is fair to say that credentialing doesn’t necessarily imply competence, but it does communicate a particular message to others; especially if you are working in a specific field i.e Human Resources. Credentials show that you have taken the time to invest in your own professional development or gain a particular skill set to other professionals in your field or even clients/customers.

The statement made by this individual, in my opinion may not have been too far off base (I know that’s a controversial remark – but let me get this thought out). In the end, the inherent value that credentialing has for a person doesn’t lie in what others think of it (although it’s helpful if they serve their purpose of establishing your experience and/or knowledge of a subject), the value lies with the person that worked in achieving their particular accomplishment, not to mention the many other like-minded individuals in their field or who have worked on obtaining the same credential or education. In the end, I didn’t particularly disagree with the person who made the statement, but I think there viewpoint was too narrow. Unfortunately, when it comes to credentialing, at times it can be a “beauty is in the eyes of the beholder” situation.

Yet, regardless of what others think, I still think you should go out and get certified, or pick up that degree, and guess what: it’s ok to be proud of what you achieved! Wear it well my friends! – Just beware of creating an alphabet soup on your resume or in your e-mail signatures, nobody likes a show-off.

Ernesto Tamayo, PHR

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