October 14th, 2018
I was thrilled to recently find out that I’m now a Fellow of the Institute of Internal Communication (IoIC). Being a Fellow means that you’ve been recognised as making a significant contribution to the internal communication profession.
I filled out my application on and off over the summer, agonising over every detail, and dealing with several bouts of imposter syndrome. It meant a lot to me to achieve this accolade. To be recognised by a professional body as not only being good at what I do but as having made a significant contribution to the profession fills me with pride.
And I’m in excellent company – previous fellows have included Suzanne Peck, Rachel Miller, Justine Stevenson, Kate Jones, Sheila Parry, Nick Andrews, Steve Doswell and many more.
So, what does it take to become a fellow?
The application process is straight forward. You need to submit a form detailing two referees (one will need to be an existing Fellow), your CV and a one-page explanation about why you think you’re a good candidate to be a Fellow.
The fellowship criteria states that you need to have been working in the IC profession for at least 10 years and be either:
• responsible for a significant portfolio of work
• acknowledged as an expert in a particular subject area, or
• delivering IC education or training
Once submitted, you may get asked to a panel interview to discuss your application further.
What I included in my application
I focused my application on some of the ways I’ve supported the profession over the last 10 years. For example, I’ve helped organise the IoIC annual conference for the last seven years, sit on the CIPR Inside committee, regularly judge awards, speak at events, share my insights in my blog and have delivered training to other IC professionals.
If you’re thinking about going for Fellowship, there are lots of opportunities to get involved in the IC world:
- Volunteer for an event or committee
- Become a mentor
- Judge awards
- Get involved in IC research or conduct your own
- Speak at an event on a topic you’re knowledgeable on
- Contribute your thoughts to the various IC blogs out there
I also shared examples of my commitment to Continuing Professional Development (CPD), something I’m very passionate about. Both IoIC and CIPR run CPD schemes and there are lots of opportunities to collect points:
- Do a qualification
- Attend conferences and events
- Read industry books
- Watch webinars
- Committee participation
And of course, I also shared anonymous examples of work I’ve delivered for clients. I ensured every example could be backed up with client feedback and details of the impact it had. If you work in-house, you’ll no doubt have access to lots of projects you’ve worked on, and hopefully tangible measures of success.
When can you apply?
There are two opportunities to apply every year, in April and September.
What does it mean to be a Fellow?
For me, being a Fellow fills me with confidence as I’ve been recognised by a respected industry body. It’s also something I can tell clients to confirm my experience and knowledge in the profession, giving me credibility as an independent practitioner.
IoIC President, Suzanne Peck, says on the IoIC website: “It’s a public, highly respected quality mark and is also becoming a pre-requisite for many employers seeking to recruit for senior roles. As an institute, we value the diversity that professionals with differing backgrounds and abilities bring to the sector and we want to continue to recognise the effective contribution.”
Top tips for applying for Fellowship
• Take your time with your application and carefully consider which examples to include.
• Ask someone to edit and proof your one-page explanation document – it’s a tight wordcount, so a good edit could ensure you squeezing in an extra example.
• Speak to other Fellows about the sorts of things they included.
• Ensure your examples can clearly demonstrate the impact you’ve had.
If you’re thinking of becoming a Fellow, I highly recommend it. You’ll find more information on the IoIC website and I’m more than happy to chat to anyone about my experience.