What most surprised you about the certification process:
I’ll have to say the comprehensive nature of the exam most surprised me, or maybe a simpler way to describe that would be just the sheer volume of material you have to be familiar with.
If you could choose one thing, what is your most successful economic development tactic?
Well I technically have two but they’re somewhat interrelated. I would say number one is relationship building and this is really true of anything that you do in life. Personal selling. However you want to coin the term, but cultivating relationships with other people is the name of the game in economic development.
Secondly, I would say asking questions is another really important tactic, again, in any profession that you choose to go into, but especially economic development because as I mentioned before there’s so much to know regarding economic development and it’s just not possible to know it all.
Plain and simple I would just say number one, don’t be in a rush. Number two, do your homework. Because this is such a significant undertaking and requires such a large portion of time and time away from family and all the other things that demand our time in life it’s important that you just take time to think about it, mull throughout, do your research, do your due diligence to determine if it’s right for you and the future of your career.
Plan ahead – make sure you give yourself plenty of time to consider the opportunity and to plan out how you’re going to approach it.
Pick other people’s brains – this is a great opportunity to do some things that you probably should be doing anyway as an economic development professional and that’s networking with others especially certified economic developers, talk to people who have taken the exam, and learn about their experiences, get tips from them, that sort of thing. Find a mentor, mentoring is an excellent way to prepare for the exam and just to become a better professional.
Prepare – this is a no brainer, but this test requires studying and a lot of it.
Practice – this is especially important in the essay portion. Sometimes people who don’t pass it’s not because they don’t know the material, it’s because they don’t finish in time.
Pat yourself on the back – even if you consider the opportunity but decide not to take it on you should commend yourself for furthering your career.