The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) has just published a report on how the public view professional bodies. In a survey of over 2,000 people, these are the 3 statements (out of 11) that were most commonly agreed with:
- Professional qualifications help people to earn more.
- Professional qualifications raise standards.
- I would trust a professional more if I knew that they were a member of a professional body.
Does this apply as well to editors and proofreaders as to builders, lawyers or doctors, I wonder? I think it does, especially when we are now competing in a global marketplace. Having an association with a professional body such as the SfEP shows that we care about our credibility, our skills and how we do our jobs. It says to potential clients that we care so much about doing a good job for you that we’ve taken steps to learn how to do it properly, and to abide by the standards and good working practices set by our peers.
In return, our professional credibility raises trust among people who may want to use our services. Awareness of the existence of our training efforts and professional membership creates positive perceptions of the jobs we do. Potential clients can begin to see what we do as a real thing and can start to envisage how it could benefit them.
However, to gain these credibility benefits from our professional membership, the professional body itself needs to have credibility. It’s one of my tasks, as the marketing and PR director for the SfEP, to help make that happen – to raise our profile and get us known for being the go-to place for quality editorial services and training. But all of us have a hand in raising that profile too. When we’re asked what we do, do we take the opportunity to mention the SfEP?
To quote the CIOB report, ‘for professional bodies, familiarity leads to favourability’, so the more people hear about the SfEP, the more they are likely to see it as a professional body that knows its stuff and consequently are more likely to hire an SfEP member rather than an editor who doesn’t have that association.
So, my fellow editors, to mangle JFK’s well-known call to action:
Ask not what the SfEP can do for you, [but also] ask what you can do for the SfEP.
 Understanding the value of professionals and professional bodies, The Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) 2015, p. 28
 Ibid. p. 29.
The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the SfEP.