What Are Post-Nominals And How Do I List Them?

Now that we have introduced a second certification for the home inventory industry, the question arose regarding what order the post-nominals (initials) should be placed in the new website directory. Do you place them in order of achievement? Maybe they should be listed alphabetically. Some members of NICA have other industry certifications, so do you group them by industry or mix them up? And for those who have college degrees, where do those initials fit in this line of initials?

To learn the proper placement for our directory, as well as for each of our members who choose to display their efforts of achieving certification, we relied on Robert Hickey, Deputy Director of The Protocol School of Washington® (PSOW). He has been conducting protocol trainings and workshops since 1988 and is the author of Honor & Respect, The Official Guide to Names, Titles, and forms of Address.

According to Hickey’s blog, Academic Degrees (BS, MBA, PhD, etc.) are to be listed first, followed by professional licenses and certifications. If you have more than one post-nominal in a category or industry, they should be listed alphabetically.

Also, there is a frequently cited ‘rule’ that your list of post-nominals should not exceed three. This is not to be considered a hard and fast rule, just a preference, as we often see professionals list more than that suggested number.

What post-nominals should I list?

One factor to help you decide which initials to include and which ones to omit are to determine what is most pertinent to your clients. Let’s say you have a degree in nursing, have an MBA, and have chosen to be an inventory professional with both your CIS and CAE. The best choice is to leave off the nursing degree, as it is not as relevant to our industry. However, if you have an insurance certification, that would be very beneficial to show your expertise in this related industry.

Here are a few scenarios:

  • CAE, CIS (only inventory industry)
  • MBA, CAE, CIS (education, followed by industry)
  • MBA, CISR, CIS (education, insurance industry, inventory industry). The CISR is for Certified Insurance Service Representative.

Remember to add your certification’s initials to your website and other marketing materials, as well as LinkedIn and other social media and professional profiles.