Your Personal Brand (It’s More Important Than You Think)
Matt Roux 07.23.2014
I’m not a marketing expert, but I do know that “personal brand” is something every manufacturing engineer should pay attention to. By this I mean: what do you stand for, in the eyes of your customers and colleagues? Most of us are strong achievers. So when we think about this, we have a natural desire to stand out and be known for our expertise, talents and contributions. What if I told you there’s a way you can separate yourself from the pack, and create a name for yourself that instantly communicates your level of knowledge, your credibility and your dedication to excellence?
There are many professions that require certifications for practicing professionals to be taken seriously. In accounting there’s CPA (Certified Public Accountant), in health care there’s LPN (Licensed Practical Nurse), in the legal field there’s ALP (Accredited Legal Professional), in aviation there’s ATP (Airline Transport Pilot) – the list goes on. In our own industry, professional salespeople often attain a CMTSE (Certified Manufacturing Technology Sales Engineer) designation. Many of the salespeople across Okuma’s distribution network have gotten their CMTSE, and it’s strongly encouraged and supported by executive management in many companies.
For manufacturing engineers, there is the CMfgE (Certified Manufacturing Engineer), a program run by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME). There are so many people who have most of the knowledge in their heads already to add this to their achievements. But many don’t. Why not? I’m guessing it might be the lack of awareness of the value that this brings.
The Benefits of Certification
Most of us live by a code of excellence each and every day. Adding CMfgE to your professional name is shorthand way of communicating your excellence to the world, and brings the following benefits:
- Demonstrating Your Level of Knowledge: The CMfgE communicates that you have a high level of training and are therefore a reliable expert. Maintaining your CMfgE requires that you earn continuing education credits, so you’re known as a professional who is up to speed on the latest technologies.
- Instant Credibility: When you visit customers or meet with colleagues, you get immediate recognition of your level of knowledge. This gives you instant credibility, because the certification process provides external verification of your expertise. You will be respected as an expert, even when people don’t yet know you well.
- Stands for Quality: The CMfgE designation raises the bar of “who you are” to other people. This gives you a competitive edge and signals that your standards for professional quality are high.
There is no other certification available that applies to manufacturing engineers. Yet with all the above benefits, the CMfgE certification isn’t pervasive in our industry – but it should be. In my opinion one of the reasons for this is that many people in our business rise up the ranks “on the job,” rather than through traditional educational channels. Then, after 15, 20, or 30 years of building their knowledge base, individuals feel they know their stuff, and don’t really need a certification because they have so much experience. Well, experience is great, but certification PROVES you’ve achieved a certain level of knowledge.
It’s a Simple Process
The process for CMfgE certification is pretty standard stuff. It involves studying then taking a 4-hour test. As I mentioned, many of you already have a lot of the knowledge for this from your years on the shop floor. After that, you simply need to earn credits every three years to maintain it.
As for myself, I took the first portion of my certification test right after graduating with my degree in manufacturing engineering. I did this so I could have an advantage over other candidates in my job interviews. I wanted to verify my level of knowledge, and also demonstrate that I put extra effort into my professional pursuits. Nearly 20 years later I’m still a huge believer! I happen to be the CMfgE certification chairperson for our local SME chapter. I also work to expand awareness about CMfgE in our industry.
What are your thoughts, does CMfgE have value in our industry? Feel free to comment and share your thoughts, or contact us if you’d like to learn more.
Matt Roux, CMfgE, is Applications Engineer, Okuma America Corporation.