Your health education specialist certification (or CHES®) is nationally recognized as a measure of your ability to meet and excel the guidelines and standards of the health education and promotion industry. This gives you a great advantage in the job market, as employers are seeking ways to distinguish candidates who are qualified through academic background and have completed a rigorous, competency-based national examination. Here are a few ways to market your certification in a job interview.
1. Showcase Your Title in your Resume and Cover Letter
Letting people know up front that you are a certified health education professional is one of the best ways to promote yourself in the job market. Make sure that CHES® or MCHES® is highlighted so that a potential employer immediately sees that you are credentialed. Here are a few examples:
- Cover Letters
- Email Signature
2. Highlight Your Value
Highlighting your unique value and expansive CHES® to the company shows that you not only recognize your worth as a professional but that you are also able to bring something to the table that other candidates may not. Keep in mind that a job is able to provide you with many benefits, but employees, especially those with additional certifications, can also provide their employers with benefits. Certification also ensures that you are actively participating in continuing education opportunities on a regular basis. This is a great bargaining tool in any job interview.
When applying for a particular position, determine what extra value your certification could bring to that organization and be prepared to discuss it. For example, a future employer will be able to market themselves as employing certified professionals, or they may wish to include the CHES® logo on their website to increase their value and trustworthiness among patients and consumers. If your interviewer doesn't ask, make sure to bring it up. Certification sets you apart.
3. Tell Your History
Giving a potential employer background on your education and training can help you stand out from the crowd. Highlight all of the preparation you went through to obtain your certification. For example, rather than simply providing the name of the school, program, or certification you received, go into detail about what you had to achieve or accomplish in order to do so. Employers are interested in hearing more about what your training and certification looks like in real life rather than just on paper. Be sure to discuss topics such as:
- How many hours of continuing education did you elect to pursue in order to maintain a certification?
- How many different techniques and skills did you receive hands-on experience in through previous positions, internships, or volunteer experience?
- What types of industry issues or topics did your courses cover?
4. Offer Solutions
Mention the independent critical thinking skills proven by the CHES® certification and your ability to problem solve as a result. Employers are looking for qualified candidates who are able to be self-starters that can solve the many inevitable problems that will arise in the healthcare industry on their own. A candidate who can provide proof of problem solving skills can stand out as a qualified candidate who can offer solutions to problems rather than hitting roadblocks when they occur.
5. Show Commitment
The fact that you chose to obtain a certification that you did not have to have shows your willingness to work hard and pursue opportunities. Highlight your professional commitment to continuing education through your credential by explaining why you chose to pursue your CHES® certification and detailing the process. If you're a recent grad, be sure to mention that your certification provides you with a wealth of hands-on experienced not possessed by graduates who did not pursue a certification program.
6. Demonstrate Knowledge
Demonstrate what you've learned as a certified health education specialist. List the topics covered in lectures you attended, stay aware of and be prepared to discuss industry changes or topics affecting your potential workplace. Know your Seven Areas of Responsibility, which include:
- program planning and implementation
- program management
- research and evaluation
- health resources
7. Update Social Media
Create a profile on LinkedIn if you don't already have one, upload your resume and qualifications, connect with other CHES® candidates to network, and apply for jobs. Many employers request your LinkedIn profile name so they can access a digital copy of your resume and experience and learn more about your connections and skills and services that others can attest to your ability to provide.
8. Edge the Competition
According to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), there were an estimated 57,570 health educators in 2016 while employment of health educators is projected to grow 21 percent from 2012 to 2022, faster than the average for all occupations. Assert that certification gives you a proven advantage over other applicants due to the national and international standards of CHES®.
9. Show Teamwork
Many employers prefer to hire candidates with certifications because they can count on their ability to problem solve, work well with others, and behave in an ethical and responsible manner. When speaking with a potential employer, discuss how your certification will enhance the work environment for a team.
10. Engage in Outreach
Get involved with your community and with professional membership organizations and highlight this in your interview. Employers will be impressed with candidates who took the initiative to network among other professionals while growing their knowledge and their resume. Many organizations offer networking opportunities as well as online job boards that help you find open positions. A few of the health organizations that offer membership and networking opportunities (and possibly student options) include:
- The Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE.org)
- American Public Health Association (apha.org)
- American College Health Association
- Association for Community Health Improvement (ACHI)
- Institute for Healthcare Advancement (IHA)
Download this free guide to marketing yourself in a job interview as a resource.