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Diary of a CPSM Candidate: Finally Taking the Plunge

March 6, 2014

Since “Diary of a CPSM Candidate” series was so popular last year, we’ve created a sequel! This year’s “Diary of a CPSM Candidate” series is written by Anna Luciano, Marketing & Communications Specialist at Nitsch Engineering and Director of the SMPS Boston Communications Committee. Anna is planning to take the CPSM exam in 2014, and is participating in the SMPS Boston CPSM study group that runs through June. She can be reached through Twitter @annaluciano or LinkedIn.

If you’ve seen me at a recent SMPS Event, you’ve probably heard the news. I’ve been telling everybody I see: I’m taking the CPSM exam this year. No more procrastination. No more excuses. It’s time to make my career a priority. It’s time to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. And it’s time for me to finally hold myself responsible for a goal I’ve had for a long time: becoming a CPSM.

I fully believe all the benefits that come from becoming a CPSM (some of which are detailed here, here, here, here, here, and here), and I’m lucky to work for a firm that supports professional development and certification. So here we go. This year? I’m all in.

With that said, you may be wondering, “Well, how’s the studying going?” After the first study meeting, I learned three key things:

  1. Studying is not as easy as reading: Before the first study meeting, we were supposed to read 52 pages of the Marketing Handbook, along with 36 pages from other books. I’m a fast reader, so I didn’t think too much of having to read 88 pages… and gave myself one week. I had forgotten that reading to study is not the same as reading for pleasure. Taking notes takes time. Figuring out WHAT to take notes on takes time. And so it happened that the night before the meeting, I’d only finished half the reading. Lesson learned? Allow myself more time than I think I need to get things done!
  2. Scheduling makes all the difference: There is a lot of great information in the CPSM recommended reading materials – techniques and advice that will definitely make me a better marketer. But some of it is hard to read, and some of it is hard to absorb. I realized that I needed to break up the readings into one chapter (or two, depending on the number of chapters before the next meeting) per day if I wanted to retain any of the information. This meant I needed to create a schedule, and hold myself accountable to meet my own deadlines.
  3. Attending meetings needs to be a priority: This is now the third year in a row that I’ve participated in the study group. Two years ago, I made it to two meetings. Last year, I made it to two as well. It’s just so easy to find excuses: “Well, this proposal is due tomorrow so I need to keep working on it.” “This press release really needs to go out tomorrow so I need to stay late to finalize the draft.” “I should really finally check such-and-such off my to-do list.” “Well, I really want to see that movie…” But attending the meetings is so important. It gives me different perspectives on the reading. It helps me find out what areas of the reading I actually remember, and what areas I need to revisit. And it gives me a hard deadline to meet – a time that I actually need to be done with my reading, not just a time that I want to be done. So now, if I have a work deadline that may conflict with a study group date, I’ve given myself two options: stay late the night before the CPSM study group, so that I don’t have to stay late the night of, or else go back to work after the study group.

Hopefully these tips make studying for meeting two a little easier!

One Comment leave one →
  1. March 6, 2014 2:01 pm

    I’m happy to see Diary of a CPSM Candidate has a sequel! Great advice on managing the studying. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series as you move toward your goal of certification.

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