Get recognised! – for achievements such as your CIS and/or CITP certification and volunteerism with SITE
During one week in September 2020, SITE members from around the globe sat for the CITP exam and when the results were announced on November 17th, LinkedIn was flooded with positive posts from individuals who were thrilled to add those coveted letters behind their name. However, many people missed the opportunity to take full advantage of all the places where you can share this accomplishment. Please take a few minutes to review the below and update your profile accordingly to maximize this honored recognition.
Why is this important?
According to LiveCareer.com, “most recruiters will tell you that they value continual learners rather than those who do not pursue additional opportunities”. In my research, employers look at people who obtain certifications as lifelong learners who are willing to find ways to better themselves, therefore bringing higher value to the organization they work for. And, having a certification helps them identify you and provide evidence of this, so it’s important to share it publicly. Certifications can also enhance your confidence and provide an opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals that can serve as resources to you, which in turn is also a benefit to the organization.
Watch your settings!
One caveat before you begin, whenever you make changes to your LinkedIn profile, check your setting first! If you don’t turn these notifications off, you’ll have a flurry of edits and changes bouncing out to your network that will be confusing and unnecessary.
- Click the small round image of yourself in the upper right menu bar “Me”, then click on “Privacy and Settings”
- On the left-hand side menu, go to “Visibility” and click on “Visibility of Your LinkedIn Activity” and then go to “Share Job Changes, Education Changes and Work Anniversaries” and turn this to NO
- If you do announce a new job, then you can turn this on for that one notice as long as you make the announcement once and have proofed everything before you share it.
Where to highlight your certifications?
With LinkedIn, there are three places that you can highlight your certifications:
A) Your Name:
First Name Last Name, CIS, CITP
This one is quite obvious and normally the first, and sometimes only, place that individuals think to update.
B) Featured section:
You can add a copy of your CITP Certificate here to have a visual representation on your profile
- Click on the “+” sign in the upper right corner of this section. If you do not have this section, you’ll find “Add profile” section next to your name at the top the page and can add it there.
- Attached the jpg image
- Add a Description: This is helpful to someone outside the industry or for someone who may not be familiar with the program.
The Certified Incentive Specialist designation from SITE (Society for Incentive Travel Excellence) elevates your career by developing your skills to provide extraordinary motivational experiences worldwide. The CIS demonstrates that you have learned industry best practices and achieve a higher level of incentive education including how incentive programs are designed, what motivates people to achieve greater levels of performance and the positive impact of incentive travel and business results.
The Certified Incentive Travel Professional (CITP) certification is designed by SITE (Society for Incentive Travel Excellence) specifically for planners of incentive travel experiences in corporations and agencies. The CITP is also relevant to senior managers on the supplier side – DMOs, CVBs, DMCs, hotels, cruise companies, venues. Candidates are expected to have current, direct, hands-on involvement in the major processes associated with incentive travel sales, design, and management.
C) Licenses & Certifications section:
- Click on the “+” in the upper right corner of the section
- Credential ID: this another place to add a copy of the certificate. However, you cannot add a jpeg image, so I suggest you save it as a Google doc and then use that link to post it
- Credential URL: link to the SITE Global page about the certification
Don’t forget to also update your email signature line, business cards and your profile on www.SITEGlobal.com along with other industry memberships you may have. You worked hard to achieve this so show it off!
Volunteerism with SITE
And, while we are talking about LinkedIn, let’s touch on your involvement as a volunteer with SITE and how that should appear on LinkedIn. Volunteerism is fantastic and something recruiters strongly value, so you will want to acknowledge this in detail on your profile. According to research done by LinkedIn, 41% of Hiring Managers view volunteer experience as equivalent to formal work experience. Not only that, but profiles with volunteer experience get 6x more views than those without. Again, you definitely want this visible on your profile to stand out and maximize your personal branding message.
Your activity within SITE should be listed under the “Volunteer Experience” section on LinkedIn not “Work Experience” even if you hold a Board position or are a Chair of a Committee. On LinkedIn, Work Experience is positions you are paid for, whereas Volunteer Experience is something you donate your time towards. The goal is to make it easy for the people looking at your profile to understand what your full-time job is and that you also give back by serving as a Volunteer. And, if you list your involvement as “Work Experience” you will appear as an employee of the organization when you click on their page which can also be confusing. You don’t want to make the viewer work to try to understand what you do. As of today, the SITE page shows 246 employees, yet we really only have less than 10 people who are paid by the organization. This is a common error that can be easily corrected.
How to add your SITE Volunteerism to LinkedIn
Volunteer Experience section:
- Click on the “+” in the upper right corner of the section. If you do not have this section, you’ll find “Add profile” section next to your name at the top the page and can add it there.
- Add Organization of “SITE” from the auto-populated drop-down menu
- Add your role whether it be Board Member, Committee Chair, Committee, Special Project position, etc.
- Add your Start Date and click the “Currently volunteering in this role” or End Date if your term has been completed
- Add Description – this is important for a couple of a reasons:
- Explain what the Association is about for someone who may not be familiar with SITE
SITE is the Society for Incentive Travel Excellence, is the only Business Events association dedicated exclusively to the global incentive travel industry. SITE is composed of 2,500 members located in 90 countries.
- Provide detail about your specific Chapter, International Board, Board of Trustees, Task Force, etc. to help the reader understand the segment you are volunteering in. This is a great place to highlight Chapter Excellence Awards!
- Provide the title and detail about your specific role or project you are working on for the organization.
Private Members Group
And finally, you have access to be a part of a unique community within LinkedIn where you can share articles, ask questions, gain insight and network with others from around the globe. Make sure to join the private SITE Members Group: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/133708/ as a one of your benefits of membership.
Written by: Colleen Brzozowski, CIS, CITP
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