How valuable is a chartered institute accreditation?

In uncertain economic conditions and a competitive jobs market, how important is chartered institute training and accreditation? Can a recognised certificate enhance your prospects and is additional training always worth it? We investigate the impact that chartered institute certification can have on your CV and whether employers always look for this in prospective employees.

Is chartered institute accreditation essential?

Additional training obviously won’t do any harm to your personal development, but accreditation is not always a necessity in all industries. Of course, some professional qualifications are essential if you want to be taken seriously in a certain field – such as accountancy for example, but not all job descriptions will request chartered institute status as a prerequisite for a role.
Let’s take the CIM (Chartered Institute of Marketing) as an example. Is a CIM certificate actually necessary in securing a new marketing job in today’s industry? In a continually evolving media landscape, is the role of up-to-date, hands-on experience much more important to employers than a qualification?
In reality, few marketing jobs will actually specify the need to have a CIM qualification. It will entirely depend on the employer in question; some may see it as the norm for a serious marketer, while others may give it very little weight. Similarly, becoming a member of the Sales Institute of Ireland won’t necessarily give you the credentials needed to land a top sales job, but it can show a commitment to ongoing development and improvement.  Even if a qualification is not deemed a vital attribute for a role, that’s not to say it wouldn’t be impressive on your CV.
If there are several candidates with similar experience all vying for the same job, any extra training or accreditation could set you apart and give you the edge. Equally, if you’re looking to find a new job abroad, an internationally recognised and respected accreditation may catch the eye of a potential foreign employer.

Your personal circumstances

You’ll need to look at your particular circumstances when assessing the value of further training and accreditation. If you’re entering a new industry from another discipline and hold an unrelated degree, a chartered institute certificate could be a good stepping stone in making the leap into a new area of work. If you already have a relevant degree and/or a proven track record in your field, more training and certification may be of little added value.
If you feel you have a gap in your knowledge and are lacking specific, useful expertise – some additional training could help to bridge this skills gap. For example, if you have lots of experience in traditional marketing techniques, you may want to undertake some digital training to keep in step with the evolution of online channels.

Experience vs. certification

With the exception of industry-essential qualifications, employers generally seem to favour making hiring decisions based on actual experience and the synergy of businesses/industries a candidate has worked in. Typically, a demonstrable track record will be of more importance than whether the applicant has a chartered qualification or not. Moreover, a combination of the two could make a candidate a highly appealing option. Chartered certification usually suggests an interest in current market trends and a commitment to ongoing personal development – which is certainly no bad thing.

To summarise

A well recognised and respected qualification could be beneficial if you’re looking to break into a new discipline or to fill a knowledge gap in your CV. They are often looked upon favourably by UK and international employers alike, but they’re not always considered a must-have by hiring managers.
A wealth of experience and proven success in a related field is typically more important to employers than a certificate. Of course, a combination of both could be a winning formula for professionals wanting to progress in their chosen career. Work experience is most important to clients, but a solid qualification to back it up will always add weight to any job application.