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How To Use Your CSA Credential

Are you making the most of your Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)® credential? By increasing the visibility and recognition of your certification, you can increase its value and start defining your personal brand.

Start Thinking of Yourself as a Brand

Mistakenly, branding is often perceived as only applying to companies, but in today's business environment almost every individual needs to start thinking about their personal brand. Branding is the marketing practice of creating a name, symbol or design that identifies and differentiates a product from other products. As a specialist in aging, you are the product. The CSA credential is the part of your personal brand that differentiates you from others in your field.

What do you want people to associate with you when they hear your name? Is there an area of focus for which you want to be perceived as an expert? Think of this as your defining your personal mission statement.

By becoming a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)® you have already taken an integral first step in defining your personal brand. You have attached yourself to the strong brand of the Society of Certified Senior Advisors to create an identity for yourself. You have committed yourself to a higher standard as a professional who works with seniors. The next step is to convey your expertise and personal brand to the world at large. How you position yourself both online and in the real world, determines how you are perceived by colleagues and clients.

The following are tips on how to leverage the Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)® credential to begin building your personal brand:

1. Digital Badges

Communicating your credentials in an ever-expanding online marketplace can be challenging. That is why the Society of Certified Senior Advisors partnered with Acclaim, a part of Pearson, to provide you with a digital version of your credentials. Digital badges can be used in email signatures or digital resumes, and on social media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. This digital image contains verified metadata that describes your qualifications and the process required to earn them. Click here to learn more about digital badging.


Website 'About Us' Section Example


Pro Tip: Acclaim also offers labor market insights, based on your skills. You can search and apply for job opportunities right through the digital badging platform.

 

2. Website Presence

Most CSAs don't realize how often their About Us page is visited, it's often one of the first pages a prospective client will visit. If you are not mentioning your company's commitment to the higher standard of the CSA credential, you are missing out on a valuable opportunity to position and differentiate yourself as a leader in your industry.

If a majority, or all, of your staff has received CSA certification, make sure the public is aware of this tremendous accomplishment by mentioning it on your About Us page. Explain that holding the Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)® requires your employees to pass a rigorous exam, a background-check, continuing education and to uphold the highest ethical standards for the benefit and protection of the health and welfare of older adults. Connect the dots for prospective clients so they understand how they benefit from your certification. This will most certainly set you apart from your competition.

If your company has personal bios for employees, be sure to list your credential. Don’t miss any opportunity to highlight your accomplishment and make your Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)® status more visible within your organization.


Website 'About Us' Section Example


Pro Tip: When possible, always spell out the acronym for your certification. For people who don’t know what the acronym stands for, the letters after your name are just that – letters.

 

3. LinkedIn

LinkedIn can help you build a professional presence and showcases your work. It's often one of the top search engine results people will get when they Google your name. Therefore, it's important to make sure you are representing yourself in a manner that enhances your personal brand. Is your Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)® credential displayed prominently? Are you explaining what the credential is, and why it matters?

Adding a credential to your LinkedIn profile is easy! Check out the video below for a step-by-step tutorial on how to add your credentials to your profile.



Additionally, your LinkedIn "Summary" and "Certification" sections are prime real estate for your showcasing your Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)® credential. Consider mentioning your status as a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)® in your "Summary" section, and how it applies to your professional life.

To add a certification to your LinkedIn profile follow these steps:

  • 1. Sign in to the LinkedIn and go to your profile.

  • 2. At the top right-hand section of your profile page and click the “Add new profile section” button.

  • 2. Select the "Accomplishments" section.

  • 3. Select the “Certifications.” A new window titled "Add Certification" will appear.

  • 4. Copy and paste "Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®" into the “Certification Name” box.

  • 5. Enter the "Society of Certified Senior Advisors" as the "Certification Authority."

  • 6. Enter the "Time period" (this will differ based upon when you received certification).

  • 7. Enter the "http://www.csa.us/" as the "Certification URL."

  • 8. Click the “Save” button at the bottom of the window to add the certification to your LinkedIn profile.

How to add certifications to LinkeIn


Pro Tip: Once you've created a fully developed LinkedIn profile, be sure to join the Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)® LinkedIn group. This can be a valuable networking tool!

 

4. Email Signature

The average business worker sends over 40 emails every single day. That's over 40 daily opportunities to market yourself as a trusted professional resource! Having an email signature that reinforces your personal brand is vital to communications in the digital age. For tips on creating an email signature that's sure to be noticed, click here.

If you're just putting your name, job title, email address, and phone number in your signature, you're not taking full advantage of the opportunity to market yourself. The aforementioned elements of an email signature are the basics, the bare minimum. As a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)® your email signature should include a brief description of the certification, and why it's important, beneath your contact information. Below is an example of a well done email signature:


Email Signature


Pro Tip: Include a hyperlink to the Society of Certified Senior Advisors' website when mentioning the Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)® credential to make it easier for email recipients to gather more information.

 

5. Networking

Although digital marketing is an ever growing field, you can't expect to grow your personal brand from your computer alone. Taking time to build your network in-person is still a vital strategy. Make yourself as visible as possible. Attend industry conferences, even if it’s just to network and socialize. Are you promoting yourself as a specialist in aging, with expertise in your given field? When you are known as a strong resource on a topic, people will turn to you for suggestions, ideas, and referrals. Your value as a thought leader will keep you visible to them because you are now an integral part of their business network.

The Society of Certified Senior Advisors offers networking opportunities for CSAs to benefit from. Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)® should strongly consider attending a CSA Leaders Network event. These events bring together professionals from multiple backgrounds and areas of expertise. They are attended by CSAs and non-CSAs alike. They are an excellent way to grow and diversify your network beyond your industry's silo. Furthermore, the CSA Conference is another great networking opportunity to connect with colleagues and grow your network.


Networking at the CSA conference


Pro Tip: A lot of people go about networking in a self-serving manner. They focus on their own needs, while completely ignoring the needs and wants of the other person. Instead, try to create a mutually beneficial networking experience by making sure you are giving the other person an opportunity to benefit from the relationship as well.

 

6. Business Cards

A business card is often someone's first interaction with your personal brand. Make sure the first impression is a good one. Treat your business card as an extension of your marketing efforts. The graphics and messaging should be deliberate and purposeful, immediately conveying a sense of who you are and what you do.

Similar to an email signature, the direct purpose of business cards is contact information. It should include your name, company name, job title, phone number, and email address. However, these are the bare minimum and unlikely to be noticed. In order to optimize your business card, try using the back of the card for supplemental branding or messaging. Does your business card mention that you are a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®? Does it explain why your credential differentiates you from the other guy? If not, you are missing out on an opportunity to define who you are to your audience.


Business Card Idea For CSAs


Pro Tip: The more people see a logo, the faster they will recognize it. Try incorporating the Certified Senior Advisor logo into your business card.

 

7. Display Your Credentials

Hang your CSA certificate in a location where it is prominent and easily accessible. Consider wearing your CSA lapel pin daily, as a part of your uniform or business attire. These can be great conversation starters!


Displaying the CSA Credential in your office


Pro Tip: Be prepared with a well rehearsed 30-second elevator pitch for when someone asks you about your certificate or lapel pin.

 

8. Become a Trusted Source

You'll know your personal brand is strong when you become the source of information. Strive to be the person clients and professionals turn to when they need expert advice or information. Being an authority on a subject helps build your following, and promotes brand loyalty.

Each month the Society of Certified Senior Advisors publishes content that CSAs are encouraged to use and re-distribute. Have you ever considered emailing CSA Blog articles to your network? Why not? As a CSA you have access to the Senior Spirit Newsletter, the Top Stories in Aging newsletter, the CSA Blog, and the CSA Journal. Are you sharing these resources with your audience and positioning yourself as a subject matter expert?


Senior Spirit Email Inbox


Pro Tip: Don't stop at emails. Social Media is a great way to share articles to your audience and position yourself as a valuable source of industry news.

 

9. Social Media

Today, 83% of Americans have a social media account and 48% of Americans have interacted with companies on at least one social media platform. If you are not taking the time to develop your personal brand on social media, you are behind. Consider applying the above principles of building a personal brand to your social media footprint.

If your company has a Facebook page, consider mentioning the Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)® credential in your About Us section on Facebook. Companies should also consider highlighting employees who have earned the CSA credential by posting a photo of the employee and what their certification means for clients.


Facebook Company About Section


On your personal Facebook account, consider adding your expertise and credential to your About section. Facebook allows you to write an About You bio, which is perfect way to highlight your accomplishment. Furthermore, Facebook allows you to detail "Professional Skills" and "Education" in your About section.


Facebook About Section


Pro Tip: Use the cover photo at the top of your business' Facebook page to portray your company’s brand message. If you're a CSA, the cover photo can be an excellent tool to promote the importance of using a certified professional.

 

10. Enhance Your Search Engine Optimization

CSAs are in a unique position to enhance their website's visibility and ranking in search engine results pages by creating up to 10 customizable pages through their CSA member profile. Building "inbound links" to a website is one of the most effective strategies for the Search Engine Optimization of a website. CSAs can harness the power of the Society of Certified Senior Advisors domain authority by creating a member page that links out to their website. The more links your website receives from high quality, high authority sites, the better your website will rank in search engine results pages (SERPs). Be sure to use this member benefit to your full advantage.

Furthermore, anyone using the CSA Locator is likely to come across your profile. Be sure to list your website when filling out your business information in your bio, and send links to your site's important pages when creating customizable pages. Your bio and accompanying pages will show up in CSA Locator results and your website will benefit from the referral traffic (people who click on the link and are transported to your website).


Optimize Your CSA Profile


Pro Tip: Learn how to enhance your company's digital presence in our "MBA: My Business of Aging" portal. There you can find tutorials on how to create a Google My Business listing.

 

11. The Company You Keep

You are judged by the company you keep, and one bad apple spoils the whole bunch. Be sure your network includes professionals who hold themselves to the highest standard. You've taken time to go above and beyond to become a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®, shouldn't your referral network reflect the same high standard? Your referrals and business contacts are a reflection of your personal brand. Are you referring clients to credentialed professionals who have 3rd party verification of their skills? Are you referring clients to professionals who have committed to continuing education? Are you referring clients to professionals who have been background checked? If not, you are risking allowing someone else's poor business record to affect yours. Is this a liability you want to incur?

Watch the video below for a more complete understanding of why vetting referrals is an important component to a successful business and personal brand.



Pro Tip: When you are vetting potential referrals, be sure to Google their full name and company name with negative search modifiers such as accused of, convicted of, bankruptcy, etc. to further ensure that you are referring clients to a reputable source.

 


 

Author -  Jordan Ambron

- Jordan Ambron

Jordan Ambron is the Director of Content & Digital Marketing at the Society of Certified Senior Advisors. He has over 5+ years of experience in online marketing after majoring in Marketing at the University of Colorado's Leeds School of Business.

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