CIM qualifications are by no means essential for a career in marketing, but many employers are now looking for candidates with certain qualifications as proof of their experience or commitment to the profession. The Chartered Institute of Marketing offers four main marketing qualifications, as well as a number of other awards in specialist areas, such as digital media, mobile marketing, professional sales practice, branding, and hospitality and tourism marketing.
Each CIM qualification covers six key areas of marketing: research, planning, brand management, implementing marketing programmes, management, and measuring effectiveness of marketing. They aim to give awardees the skills they need to thrive in their marketing career.
What CIM qualification should I do?
If you’ve only been in marketing for a couple of years or are only just starting out, you might look at some of the more basic qualifications; however, if you’ve got several years of experience under your belt, you might want to explore some of the higher level qualifications.
Marketing executives might also take a specialised qualification to improve their knowledge of other areas of marketing, or to branch out into a different area.
It’s all about finding the right qualification for you, so let’s have a look at the main ones:
CIM Introductory Certificate in Marketing…
No degree is needed for this qualification. It’s the entry-level award for people who want to find out more about marketing, or those who haven’t got a marketing or business-related degree. It’s probably the least important of the lot and by no means essential, but students might take it to demonstrate commitment and interest in the profession.
CIM Professional Certificate in Marketing…
This is designed for junior marketers with a non-business degree, for those in marketing support roles, or for professionals where marketing plays a significant role in their job. It aims to impart some practical skills and knowledge, as well as helping recipients gain some marketing credibility.
CIM Professional Diploma in Marketing…
The next step up is the Professional Diploma in Marketing. This bad boy is for people with marketing or business degrees (at least a third of your degree should focus on marketing content) or those with some managerial responsibilities.
Marketers who want to manage marketing activities at an operational level, or want to build on the knowledge they’ve acquired through the Professional Certificate in Marketing might take the Diploma. This qualification is much more management-focused.
CIM Chartered Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing…
You’ll need to be a big cheese to do this qualification. This is for people with a marketing degree and substantial managerial experience, or those who have completed the previous qualifications and have a lot of management experience under their belt.
It’s a high level qualification and, at the end of it, awardees will be able to call themselves a Chartered Marketer. It aims to equip people with the skills needed to run an organisation’s marketing activities and oversee the formulation of marketing strategies.
Funding your CIM qualification…
Plenty of employers will support you if you decide to do a CIM qualification, particularly if you can convince them of the value it’ll bring to their organisation. They might be able to subsidise the fees, or even pay for your qualification in full. Otherwise, you might have to pay for it out of your own pocket. Alternatively, you might be able to secure a professional career development loan.
Make sure you do plenty of research into each of the qualifications to assess whether or not they are the right thing for you. Have a chat with your manager or employer to see if they’ll be able to support you and double-check that it will be valuable investment, rather than money down the drain.