Certifications are a great way to establish yourself in the home technology industry whether you’re new or have already been on the job. CEDIA’s Cabling and Infrastructure Technician (CIT) certification is particularly helpful as first step into the industry.
For individuals looking for a career, it’s a great target to be able to say, “I’m going to study so I can show I have the knowledge to get hired.”
For those who have already been on the job, it can be a way to acknowledge and show that they know how to terminate cable and know the difference between cable types. For those who’ve been in the industry longer, it’s a solid baseline and the first step to earning the more advanced Integrated Systems Technician (IST) certification.
But having the certification doesn’t necessarily mean people will know what that means, particularly potential employers and clients.
As a certification-holder, you’ll have to do some basic marketing to help others understand what you can do and why your credentials are such an important part of your professional life.
Telling Your Certification Story
Even more than acronyms, people understand and connect with stories. What has your own professional journey been? What excites you about your work? What are your values? When you can weave certification into one of these narratives, it supports your message and builds trust in you as a person and professional.
One essential aspect of telling your story is representing yourself well – especially if you’re an integrator looking to connect with businesses and network within the local community. You’ll need to consider how to show your credibility and use your experiences and accomplishments to represent your values and the way you do business.
Certification connects to your story in what it represents. Becoming certified is really about someone who has earned and maintained their level of competence.
It takes work to earn CEUs and maintain an active certification. If you’re attending the CEDIA Expo, trade shows, online trainings, and manufacturer trainings, you know the updates and new systems. That’s what the certification message is all about.
This ethos is great for when you want to apply for a job or be promoted and take more responsibility. It’s a marker as you build your skills and move up the ladder. It’s not just for people who are new in the industry, either.
If you’re a professional who’s been in the industry for a long time, the certification allows you to say, “I’ve been doing this for 20 years and I’m staying up to date because our industry has changed since I started.” It shows clients and collaborators they can count on you to stay on top of things.
Key Aspects of Marketing Your CIT Certification
When you’re thinking about how to talk about your certification with partners, potential employers, and clients, these are valuable points to discuss.
Renewable – Holding an active certification means you’re staying up to date on the latest industry best practices.
Brand Neutral – CEDIA certifications cover essential skills and practices regardless of what product is being used. Combining these certifications with manufacturer credentials showcases the full range of your knowledge and expertise.
Code of Conduct Built In – Anyone who holds the CIT of IST certification has agreed to conduct themselves to a high ethical standard. Failure to meet this standard could result in a loss of your certification.
Educating Consumers – Part of recognizing the value of certification is understanding what could be at stake if an unqualified professional is chosen for a job. Consumers are not often aware of what goes into a successful project and the implications for safety, reliability, and overall long-term performance of the system.
Third Party Accredited – The CIT Certification is globally recognized to meet the ISO 17024 standard, which means the credential itself is a reliable marker of individual competence. Schools and government institutions are two examples of entities that use accreditation to make judgements about a certification’s validity.
Growing the Industry – Increased recognition from various stakeholders builds value around a commonly accepted certification and encourages more professionals to participate. When a wide swath of the industry holds credentials, the industry can grow and legitimize even more. It helps give you a seat at the table with larger project stakeholders and decision-makers. The certifications are also helping establish our industry as a separate and identifiable technical profession.
You don’t have to use these ideas as a checklist to talk about your certification, but these are the areas that should be top of mind as you create your own pitch.
Ways to Get Started
As technical and business professionals, it can be a daunting task to think about how to tell a story about your certification or pitch yourself to potential clients and industry partners. How does that look in the real world, and what are some concrete steps you
can begin taking to tell your certification story, so it accurately represents your knowledge and skills?
Here are a few simple ways to get started marketing your CEDIA certifications, or your employees’:
- Share posts on business & professional social media sites. When you or an employee earns the certification, it’s a great time to say “I earned this” or “We’re really proud of [Individual’s Name] because they just earned their CIT.” This is a powerful message, and when combined with a nice image, makes the accomplishment human and appealing to celebrate with others.
- Add the logo to your business cards. Tying the certification to your professional identity is an easy way for people to remember you’re credentialed.
- Add to job proposals. Share your credentials preemptively rather than waiting to be asked.
- Display the patch. Put the iron-on patch somewhere clients can see it while you’re working – your work uniform or tool bag are both great places to highlight it.
- Add the credential to company clothing. If you provide screen printed t-shirts or other branded items, including the certified logo is a nice visual clue for other industry professionals and clients.
- Add it to the company website’s About page. People don’t hire faceless companies, they hire people. Any way that you can showcase yourself and/or your staff, especially when they’ve earned an industry credential is a marketing win for your business.
- If you have a showroom, display employee credentials. Include a notice about why it’s important to hire credentialed professionals. We provide a standard template you can build on when you or your employee pass the CIT certification exam.
- Utilize digital badges. Digital badges are essentially a customized link where someone can click, and it verifies their credential. The person who’s inquiring can see the date you earned the certification, that it’s active, and how long it’s good for. They can also read a brief description of what you’ve had to do to earn the credential. Digital badges come with all full CEDIA certifications including the CIT, IST, ESC-N, and ESC-D. These digital artifacts are becoming popular and are easy to add to platforms like LinkedIn.
The most important way you can market yourself as a professional is to learn how to tell your story to potential clients and others in the industry. Once you can do that, it’s fairly easy to find ways to highlight your credentials.
David Whitney is senior director of certification at CEDIA.