My CIP Story: Using Certification to Advance Myself and Others
I am brimming with pride right now.
On November 27, 2023, the Association for Intelligent Information Management (AIIM) debuted a new version of the Certified Information Professional (CIP) credential.
On November 27, I also found out that I had earned my CIP!
About the CIP
The CIP is an internationally recognized information management certification. AIIM created the CIP in 2010 to recognize information professionals with the skills to protect and manage information and develop organization-wide strategies based on established methodologies and industry best practices. The CIP helps credential holders, and their organizations stand out in today’s information-driven world. Since its establishment, over 4,000 professionals have earned the CIP.
To obtain a CIP credential, an information management professional must pass a proctored, 100-question multiple-choice exam. Certified professionals display “CIP” as a post nominal.
Why I Wanted the CIP
While I have experience in information management and IT, I wanted to earn this respected designation to demonstrate my expertise and commitment to AIIM to our members. As the main spokesperson for AIIM, I also wanted to be sure I understand AIIM’s body of knowledge so I can represent our community of practice well.
I also wanted to test my knowledge. Before I studied for the CIP, much of what I learned about information management was from hard-won experience. Admittedly, I wondered and worried if there were gaps in my experience. If so, I wanted to use the CIP body of knowledge to bolster my experience.
Studying for the CIP provided structure and principles based on the collective expertise of top industry experts. More than just an exam, the CIP is a body of knowledge that lends creditability to intuition and experience.
In addition to affirming the expertise of experienced professionals, the CIP serves as a guide to those who are new to information management. The CIP body of knowledge is the resource I wish I knew about 15 years ago when I was trying to create governance and labeling conventions around shared files for the first time.
How I Prepared for the CIP
Since I love reading and taking notes, I really enjoyed using the CIP Study Guide to prepare for the exam. The study guide contains a chapter on each domain, broken into manageable sections. Written in plain English by industry experts, the guide is a pretty easy read. Each section concludes with a series of practice questions and answers.
I printed a copy of the study guide for my use so I could highlight a hard copy and take notes in the margins. I took about 3 weeks to review the study guide. I dedicated 20-30 minutes five days each week to study. I spent approximately 8 hours studying for the exam.
The study guide is available to members of AIIM+ Pro as a downloadable PDF file. We are also creating interactive, online learning courses based on each domain.
Resources to Prepare for the CIP
Every learner is different, though. That’s why AIIM provides additional resources:
- AIIM+ Pro Membership – Join AIIM+ Pro, which is loaded with training courses that cover the body of knowledge that makes up the CIP exam.
- Online Study Group – AIIM+ and AIIM+ Pro Members can use the study group in our online community to ask questions and connect with other test takers.
- Member Meet-Ups – New in 2024! We are hosting regular online, live CIP study groups via Zoom. Dates will be announced soon.
- AIIM Conference Pre-Conference CIP Workshop - AIIM offers a pre-conference workshop - the CIP Exam Accelerator - at the annual conference for anyone interested in a final cram session and taking the exam in-person.
Additionally, anyone (regardless of membership status) can take the free 100-question CIP Practice Exam to assess your strengths and weaknesses.
What I Would Do Differently
In retrospect, I wish I had given myself 2-3 additional weeks to study. The exam is designed for someone with at least 5 years of experience in information management so I was not overly worried about passing, but I believe additional time studying would have led to a higher score. I also would have benefited from taking the practice exam and then completing online courses in areas where I could improve my score.
Prior to taking the exam, I was very focused on studying and nervous about not passing the exam. As President & CEO, failure would have been slightly mortifying. Now that I have earned the right to put CIP after my name, I realized there I are two unexpected, happy outcomes of my experience with the CIP:
- I want to learn more. The process of learning something new can cause a rush of dopamine. I was excited by areas of the CIP where I had less experience, like digital preservation and retention policies. AIIM offers year-round programming so I am making an early new year’s resolution to explore one new topic each month.
- I want to share my experience and help others earn their CIP. As an AIIM employee, I am biased, but I believe the CIP is a great resource for our community of practice and I want to share it with others. Count on seeing me at some of our virtual study groups in 2024.
Ultimately, we don’t want the CIP to be an endpoint. It is a foundation for advancement. The CIP is an on-ramp for information management professionals who want to become information leaders. The CIP is a way for organization to advance goals by providing employees with the skills and credibility to lead information management projects and programs.
So I’ll take a moment to celebrate my newly earned CIP, but then I am moving forward and putting that CIP to good use. I plan to use the CIP to inspire my own learning and share my knowledge with our community of practice. To learn more about the CIP or register for the exam, visit aiim.org/cip.
About Tori Miller Liu
Tori Miller Liu, MBA, FASAE, CAE, CIP is the President & CEO of the Association for Intelligent Information Management. She is an experienced association executive, technology leader, speaker, and facilitator. Previously, she served as the Chief Information Officer of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and has 16+ years of experience in association management. Tori is a former member of the ASAE Technology Professional Advisory Council and a founding Board Member of Association Women Technology Champions. She was named a 2020 Association Trends Young & Aspiring Professional and 2021 Association Forum Forty under 40 award recipient. She is also an alumna of the ASAE NextGen program. She is a Certified Association Executive and holds an MBA from George Washington University. In 2023, Tori was named as a Fellow of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE).
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