At the beginning of my HR career about 10 years ago, I was an HR intern eager to learn it all. I discovered a desire to learn about all the facets of HR and began working in an HR generalist role in a high-turnover environment. I enjoyed being a generalist because it meant I had to have a breadth of knowledge across almost every facet of HR to serve my population. Being a resource that my customer group trusted to help them in any area became a pattern in my career. In other HR generalist and HRBP roles I found myself gulping up knowledge about any area I could find. I took the time to ask “why” and that mentality led me to a be a valuable contributor in my roles.
I took a leap of faith and moved from my hometown of Nashville, Tennessee, to Atlanta, Georgia, for an opportunity to work as a talent development specialist in a start-up environment. It was there I saw my affinity for learning manifesting once more. I had a wonderful manager and mentor, Leon, who knew an extensive amount about talent development and encouraged me to set a foundation of best practices, so that I wouldn’t have to shake bad habits later. We started by reading Starting a Talent Development Program by Elaine Biech and The Six Disciplines of Breakthrough Learning by Roy Pollock, Andy Jefferson, and Calhoun Wick, as well as each issue of TD magazine. Those books and magazine issues generated a lot of great conversations with my manager, both about his anecdotes about applying talent development in a corporate setting and the exciting future innovations within the talent development space. After many months of these conversations, Leon recommended I pursue a relatively new certification to solidify my new knowledge: the APTD certification.
It was official! I was on my way to earning the APTD! Full of the foundational knowledge he had already helped me attain and what I’d gained from on-the-job learning, I began to take the APTD Prep Course. I used Quizlet to test my knowledge, read and re-read the prep course guide, and I leveraged notetaking to solidify the concepts. I don’t think I have taken that many notes in my life—but my hand eventually forgave me.
I’ve always been great at leveraging memory techniques, but ATPD added a layer of problem-solving that forced me to not only remember the concepts but also use critical thinking to determine which methods were the best decision for the question. I was skeptical whether I would pass but fortunately I only had to wait about five minutes for the results to print out and . . . I PASSED! I was ecstatic and could not wait for my results to come in the mail a few weeks later. It was a fantastic reward at the end of a long journey.
Passing this certification reassured me that I have what it takes to stand with talent development peers and contribute in an impactful and measurable way. I have always loved certifications because they give you a quick, external point of reference to show what competencies you have. With these new skills, I ensure my training programs start with a foundation of the business expectations and goals, I am confident that training is the right solution, my content is organized in a way that promotes learning transfer, and I can demonstrate the ROI for my offerings.
I believe the APTD certification enabled me to build an excellent baseline that I will refer to for years to come as I continue to gain experience in the talent development field. I would love to continue to enhance my skills so I can earn a CPTD certification in the future.