Victoria Nelson is a Learning and Development Strategist who earned the Associate Professional in Talent Development (APTD®) in 2018 and the Certified Professional in Talent Development (CPTD®) credential in 2020.
Why did you pursue the APTD and CPTD?
I pursued both the APTD and CPTD to validate my investment in and commitment to my profession. I also wanted to be able to clearly demonstrate I had validated expertise in the various skills and competencies that our roles as talent development professionals demand. I wanted to be viewed as an experienced and knowledgeable business partner, one who thoughtfully applies sound logic and best practices to the solutions I propose.
How have you benefited from the credential—professionally and/or personally?
Earning both my APTD and then my CPTD contributed to building confidence in my L&D skills and competencies and allowed me to demonstrate my commitment to this profession and to my career. I believe having a well-respected credential within the industry is a marketing advantage for career prospects and helps you differentiate yourself from other candidates.
Since earning my credentials I’ve achieved greater job responsibilities and I’ve elevated my role from being viewed as an order taker to a true business partner. I’m able to apply a big-picture approach to my role and contribute to organizational strategy and goals more holistically.
What advice would you share with others considering certification?
Go for it! Getting your certification will require an investment in both time and funds; however, it’s worth it. Give yourself the necessary time and space to sufficiently prepare and explore the different resources and formats to find the solution that will work best for you and your study preferences. Having a combination of formal preparatory courses, a study group, and reading the various resources on the recommended list were the ideal blend for me.
It is not enough to memorize key terms and concepts—you have to be able to apply them in a given situation.
How do you think certification helps the talent development field?
I believe certification gives more weight and significance to our field. Much like the CPA certification is to accountants, those who hold the APTD or CPTD are able to demonstrate that we have been assessed by defined industry standards and that we are able to apply them capably and critically in our day-to-day work as L&D professionals.
What does having your credential mean to you?
Earning both my APTD and CPTD credentials gave me a huge sense of accomplishment in my career and helped me feel like I’ve earned a true seat at the table where I can offer my expertise. I’m viewed as a valuable partner to the business when it comes to learning and development.
How did you get into the talent development field?
As for many of us in L&D, I fell into it by accident. My company at the time was going through a hiring frenzy and put out a call for people in my department to help new hires get up to speed in their jobs. I spent a lot of time training new staff one-on-one and in small groups, helping them get acclimated. I quickly discovered it was something I enjoyed, and the feedback from the learners themselves was positive. I became one of the go-to trainers, even though I had no formal training in it. When my company ultimately decided to create a training team, I was approached to move into the position officially. Once it became my primary job, I began to pursue all the formal training and education opportunities I possibly could so that I was intentional in my approach, incorporated learning best practices, and focused on adult learning principles. That was almost 12 years ago, and that happy accident of falling into training was the best thing that could have happened for my career.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
The best investment you can ever make is in yourself.
What is a great book you’ve read recently?
Love + Work by Marcus Buckingham
What is your favorite hobby or pastime?
I love to craft! I make my own greeting cards, and I scrapbook. I also love to cook, read, travel, and ski.
Have you earned the APTD or CPTD? Share your story with the community.