What’s in a Name? – The Deal with Post-Nominal Letters

What’s in a Name? – The Deal with Post-Nominal Letters

What’s in a name?

The saying goes, “if you’ve got it flaunt it”, but what about post-nominal letters? It’s a long debate to get to the bottom of when and where you should use them, but what about getting them?
Post-nominal letters (PNL) are letters after a name for example: PhD, ACCA, FCCA, CFA, PMP, MBA, etc. With a vast number of post-nominal letters available, if you’ve worked to get them, why not use them? It can take years to achieve letters such as PhD and MP, is it not right to use them. It’s a very confusing to know when and where to use them, so let us walk through a few major points.

So when should you use them?

A rule of thumb is that you should only use them in situations where they’re pertinent. Using the PNL LLB (Bachelor of laws) on a lawyer’s business card is a way of proving your credibility. Academic credentials are normally only applicable in areas where it’s of a greater importance for them to know you’re academic status. This is in educational institutions or as a doctor/teacher. If you are a doctor though it is normally sufficient to call yourself “Dr. Surname” without any post-nominal letters.
Apply them to business documents when you need to get the point across that you’re a professional working to the highest standard. Adding them to social networks such as Facebook and Twitter is almost worthless with the exception of LinkedIn and other professional networking services. Another rule of thumb is: “If they don’t know what it means, they probably don’t need to see it”, your PNL’s should never be in any document that doesn’t apply to something directly related to your profession. It seems slightly pretentious and out of place, especially in personal communication where the person receiving will not necessarily understand what it means.

How do you get them?

Firstly you could be royally bestowed with the accolade such as Bart. or Sir. But that’s not very conventional. Think of your career path, where do you want to be and have a look online. Courses are often available that train you specifically in one area such as being a lawyer or a doctor. They can take years and often require full time study of the course of them. Here’s a list of some career or job specific PNL:

  • Educational Accolades – BSc , BA(Hons)
  • Accounting – ACCA
  • Financial Analyst – CFA
  • Project Management – PMP
  • Management – MBA
  • Armed Forces – RAF, RN

There are some short courses such as the discounted courses listed on Coursevine, that could fast track you to PNL’s such as ACCA and FCCA. With Coursevine, these PNLs can be achieved for a much cheaper price and send you on the right track to success. Having these courses under your belt not only beefs up your CV but they also impress employers, it shows you know your stuff and you’re completely committed to your career choice, and if you’re lucky, you might learn something new as well!