Obtaining professional recognition might be viewed as a strategic activity, in that professional recognition activities should be planned, tactical, calculated and deliberate. It involves more than just formal education, as important as that can be.

It is ironic that professional recognition, in a marketing sense, is literally PR or public relations which involves managing the spread of information. In the case of an individual pursuing professional recognition, the information spread establishes credibility that one is proficient in his or her field or profession.

What is professional recognition?  

The Analytic Quality Glossary defines professional recognition as “…the formal acknowledgment of an individual’s professional status and right to practice the profession in accordance with professional standards and subject to professional or regulatory controls.”  In broader terms, professional recognition extends to all qualifications, activities and behaviors that support an individual’s professional status.

Why is professional recognition important?

Simply put, professional recognition enhances a person’s professional status and/or qualifications which supports their credibility. It distinguishes an individual from others for job selection, achievement, or promotion. And, it creates a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment that comes from recognition by one’s peers.

How is professional recognition obtained?

Professional recognition can come from many sources, some of which include certification (Certified Manager), licensure (Certified Public Accountant), professional affiliation (National Management Association), community involvement (Rotary), mentoring, volunteering, and professional development. These sources demonstrate an individual’s commitment to continuous improvement.

Certification and Licensure recognize a standard of competency in a specific profession in order to protect the public.  Certification is voluntary, while licensure is mandatory.  Both receive professional recognition from employees, employers, and the public by confirming the qualifications of an individual to practice in a profession. They routinely are used to distinguish individuals for hiring and/or promotion.

Mentoring involves offering one’s wisdom, expertise, and guidance to a mentee with less experience. The mentor builds an understanding of the intricacies of a job or profession.  In so doing, the mentor develops a guiding relationship with a mentee that can provide personal satisfaction and recognition for a lifetime. Acclaimed movie maker Steven Spielberg states, The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves.

Volunteering can result in recognition that spans the continuum from personal to professional. If you are passionate about a volunteer cause, recognition will be the end result of a committed effort. Local community business organizations, such as Kiwanis, Elks, Eagles, Lions, Rotary, and others, provide rewarding opportunities for personal growth, professional recognition, and a rich source of career-related contacts.

Professional development offers recognition that comes from earning additional professional qualifications and credentials.  Countless development opportunities abound online and in the classroom delivered by academic institutions, private training organizations and corporate entities.  No longer are we limited by time and space, as everyone can access education and/or training to develop human, conceptual and technical skills.

Professional recognition should be viewed as a component of lifelong learning as it serves us well to become members of learning communities in the pursuit of continuous improvement. A focus on increasing our skills and knowledge leads to competency development that results in professional recognition–recognition that is meaningful and noteworthy and that serves to build a career full of rich personal contacts and business opportunities. In the words of President Abraham Lincoln, Don’t worry when you are not recognized, but strive to be worthy of recognition.