Top tips on achieving your professional qualification

Top tips on achieving your professional qualification

Thinking about taking the first step to becoming an Incorporated or Chartered Engineer? Perhaps you’re ready to take the next step in your career as a Project Manager with a professional qualification?

Whatever your aspiration or specialism, here are our top tips on how to kick-start the process and a few helpful things to keep in mind along the way:

1. Don’t be afraid to take the first step

You have decided you want to further your career with a professional qualification – great! Don’t be afraid to take the plunge. Research and choose a body or institution relevant to you and your expertise. If you’re unsure which one to choose, speak to your employer or training department for help.

2. Having a mentor is essential

Mentors are invaluable in providing the guidance and support you need towards achieving your professional qualification. Choose your mentor early and set goals you can stick to. It’s also ideal to have a mentor who has already been through the same process, or has extensive knowledge of the qualification.

3. Make time to engage with your mentor

Arrange regular meetings with your mentor and prepare for these beforehand so you can discuss the particular parts you need help with. Your mentor is there to support you whenever you need it, so don’t be afraid to reach out if you need more immediate support and guidance.

4. Set a review date that is realistic

Look at the different review dates that are available and choose the one that is the most realistic and achievable. This will give you an end date to work towards and a set of submission deadlines to meet – make sure you are comfortable with all the dates. Remember that this is under your control – set a date that works for you, or you’ll resent the task. 

5. Keep it personal – be true to yourself

Practice your submission once a review date is set. Do mock interviews with your mentor and colleagues, and make sure you know the material inside out. Stick to what you know and try to tailor your presentation so that your reviewers will ask the obvious questions. Consider making deliberate gaps in your presentation that could lead to easy questions being asked, but not so deliberate it looks like a deficiency – a fine line!

6. Be honest – don’t bluff your way out of a question

Don’t tackle a subject you don’t know the answer to. There is nothing wrong with saying you don’t know the answer to something but qualify that by saying how you would go about finding the answer. Who you’d talk to, where you’d look next, etc. It’s always best to be honest.

7. Use this as an opportunity to expand your network

A professional qualification is a great way to make new contacts, both at your own organisation and members of the institution body. Don’t be afraid to reach out to more experienced colleagues that you may not know too well – this is a perfect opportunity to speak more with them and gain knowledge. Your chosen institution will also have an extensive network of professionals – sometimes worldwide.

8. If you don’t achieve your goal first time, re-group and re-focus

Just like a driving test, not everyone passes first time and it’s important not to get disillusioned. Sometimes you can have a bad day on the assessment day and you’re not successful. If you don’t succeed first time, try not to lose all motivation or be too disheartened. Remember that this is simply a bump in the road that you can overcome.

9. Try to enjoy the process

This may be clichéd, but true – enjoy it and utilise the knowledge you’ll gain from the process.


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