Aimee Everest, Specialist Marketing Recruitment – The ONE Group
One question I have been asked A LOT recently by marketing candidates – both at a junior and senior level – is regarding the importance of doing the CIM qualification. The Chartered Institute of Marketing is the largest professional marketing body in the world, so undoubtedly their qualifications garner respect and recognition in the industry, however the question that still remains on job-hunters’ lips – “will this actually impact on my career or with finding a new role?”
Most will argue that personal development is priceless and it will always benefit your career in some way or another, however with many job descriptions listing requirements as ‘either a degree OR CIM qualification’, the importance can often be misconstrued. The ONE Group’s Marketing Executive Katie, who is currently in the middle of completing her Level 4 Certificate, definitely falls in the pro-CIM camp. She believes it has helped her with her career so far, both when it comes to putting the theory into practice and also with securing a new position.
However, one thing she does note is that it is not for the faint-hearted! It can be an expensive course (depending on the one you choose) as well as a weekly commitment; as such you need to have that level of dedication to giving up your spare time for extra work – and paying to do that! Unless of course you have a fabulous employer willing to undertake that cost on your behalf! Having said that, for those marketers that are not as motivated to do a full qualification, the CIM offer day courses in London which are obviously less time consuming and much cheaper – and still look great on your CV!
For those at the junior end of the market, completing a CIM will not necessarily guarantee your dream - or even first - role in marketing. Although it does have its benefits – particularly if you do not have a degree or your degree is in an unrelated subject. In this sense, it shows your commitment and that you are not just applying ‘for any old job’. When it comes to marketing, the most common attributes clients tend to want are ambition, drive and dedication. The CIM clearly shows all three. But if you have a good degree, some relevant experience, and you interview well then should not having the CIM hold you back from getting the job?
Similarly, at the senior end of the market CIM qualifications are definitely desired, but what if your experience is a perfect match? If you are applying for a senior marketing role in a pharmaceutical company and have worked for the last 10 years in the pharma sector – why should you be discounted on the basis you that haven’t got a qualification?! However, companies are recognising that the CIM does have senior options too, moreover on the strategic side, so it has its benefits with putting new skills and techniques into practice – there is always the argument you should never stop learning!
So, the CIM is clearly recognised as the standard qualification in the industry but is it necessary? In summary, I don’t believe it is as I am definitely in the group that experience should be regarded as equivalent, but the benefits can clearly be seen and who can criticise personal development and learning?! The fact that someone is in the middle of completing a CIM qualification definitely demonstrates intent and drive to achieve certain career goals, and the opposing side may argue that someone with experience – but no drive to improve – tends to plateau, which can translate into work ethic and willingness to throw new ideas out there.
What do you marketers think?!