On Monday, I, along with 16 others, became the latest candidates to successfully undertake the CIPR chartered assessment. It was a rigorous and challenging process (which is right, if it was easy it wouldn't be worth having) but it was also kind of enjoyable in a tough-but-good way.
I was keen to become chartered because it demonstrates externally and within the profession that you're capable of the critical thinking required to add value to your clients and organisation. The PR profession is steadily becoming more respected for its input into strategic decision making and being chartered contributes towards that.
I thought it'd be useful to share some of my tips for my assessment:
- You receive the questions about two weeks before the assessment but it's worth starting revising before that if possible.
- I found it useful to look at the competences that you'll be assessed for and then prepare an example from my own professional practice, along with any relevant theory or case studies. You may find that a couple of your own examples double up for a few of the competences.
- Some of my theoretical knowledge was a bit rusty so I brushed up on it using books like Evaluating Public Relations by Noble and Watson.
- The assessment takes the form of three 75 minute conversations and a discussion with your peers around your two-year CPD plan. The conversations will cover the three questions on key competences of leadership, strategy and ethics.
- When the questions arrive the CIPR recommend you spend a weekend working on them; I think that's about right time-wise. I read them all the way through, made notes and then kept going back over them to refine my answers.
- You won't be able to read your notes fully as the conversation (in my group at least) was very engaging so it was only possible to glance at what I'd written.
- Be prepared for the conversation to go off at tangents. It's useful to have an idea of your best examples from your professional practice that you'd like to include.
- I developed my CPD plan in part from self-reflection and in part from considering what my organisation needs from me. Take a printed copy with you on the day as it needs to be signed by two peers.
It's also useful to make sure you're familiar with CIPR's guidance about how to apply.
If meet the eligibility criteria and you're considering getting chartered, I'd encourage you to go for it. It's a great experience. Good luck!