The proper way to add your professional designations after your name

We all know that one guy with a slew of post-nominal letters (designatory letters) attached to their name, maybe even longer than their name. you know these people – John Doe, followed by ten designations. It could make you wonder what the purpose of your professional designations after your name really is, and if there is a common etiquette.

This article is written to particularly deal with that.

The first thing to say about this is that adding your professional designations after your name is beneficial for a number of reasons. You can easily demonstrate your expertise in the relevant industry, if properly used. You can also show your dedication to educating yourself.

However, just like any good thing, there is fair use. There are also proper orders of using them. For example, in the U.S., your professional designations are only one of the many other post-nominal letters that you can have attached to your name, depending on the situation.

The proper order for these post-nominal letters is:

  • Religious institutions
  • Theological degrees
  • Military Decorations
  • Academic degrees
  • Honorary degrees, honors, decorations
  • Professional licenses, certifications and affiliations
  • Retired uniformed service.

Your professional designations fall on the 6th place, following this order. Luckily, however, you are not likely to have all these forms of post-nominal letters. Even if you do, occasion would determine which are relevant. In a professional setting, it is proper to focus just on the relevant professional designations.

So, adding your professional designations after your name is a way of proudly displaying that you have what it takes. However, you have to be careful not to go over the top. If you have a couple of professional designations, that is good. You can list them under the right section on your resume.

But when it comes to how you add them to your name on resumes, emails, and business cards, stick to those that are highly relevant. Try as much as possible to stick to one or two. There would surely be those professional designations that overshadow the others in that particular situation. Use those ones alone.

For example, you could use your most advanced educational qualifications and then use your most relevant professional designation. Having lower professional designations when a more important and relevant one has already been listed is not wise. In fact, it could cast a bad shadow on the better ones. You don’t have to “wear the whole badge” at once. Remember, too many cooks spoil the broth.

Having your professional designations is a huge honor for you. Not many people do. According to a report released from the U.S. Census Bureau in 2014, only 12% of the U.S. population has attained a masters, doctorate, or professional degree. That is something for you to be proud of. Just make sure not to overdo it.