Apr 292018


Has anyone ever asked to see proof of your educational background? It occurs to me that twenty years on no company has asked to verify the degrees and certificates on my resume. Mind you, I have worked at larger and globally recognized multinational corporations and never been asked to actually submit proof of my degrees. Companies either are trusting or take the resume’s education section for granted. This came to me when reading an article about people who claim university degrees when in fact they took partial course loads or abandoned the quest for the degree prior to graduation. That article itself came a couple of months after a CBC TV investigative program about bogus degrees and universities a.k.a. degree mills. According to the program, the phony credentials are issued by impressive sounding universities like Harvey University, Barkley University and Nixon University. What is more the program claimed over a million of these phony degrees have been sold. It occurred to me that not only no one has ever asked me for proof, but, to the best of my recollection, as an interviewer and hiring manager I myself have never asked or challenged a candidate or one of my employees for proof of their credentials. I doubt my recruiters have either. While no one is asking for proof the coursework has certainly been helpful to me. There is no question that employers too rightly care for the experience and knowledge that legitimate education offers, but what of the sales and management professions specifically?

These have been operating on an ‘experience only’ basis far too often. That is, hiring and training for these jobs seem to rely on tenure and learning as one goes. Perhaps this is because traditionally people have thought of salespeople as reliant on their demenaour and charming people skills as opposed to having methodical skills. With products and services becoming more varied and advanced and buyers gaining more sophistication such elemental thinking has to make way for something more somber.

Things need not be that way. Yet, how many salespersons do you know who have studied ‘Sales’? The profession obviously would be more effective and respected were it reliant on more formal education. Compare this with a Marketing degree, which is considered more of a science and have been omnipresent at schools. There is a discussion to be had regarding why such an important role does not attract its own formal program. In fact, things sometimes seem to be going in the other direction. I completed a management program and curriculum in Ontario called OMDP (Ontario Management Degree Program), which was later cancelled. Salespersons and their employers have thus been largely reliant on the plethora of sales books, courses and certifications on offer.

There are attempts at change and advancement out there however. Below is a listing of some of the better known certifications (as opposed to sales methodologies some of whose books you can find reviewed here).

  • The Canadian Professional Sales Association offers three certifications. These are:
    • Certified Sales Associates (CSA),
    • Certified Sales Professionals (CSP) and
    • Certified Sales Leaders (CSL).
  • Certified Inside Sales Professional (CISP) through AA-ISP is a series of 11 courses.
  • Certified Professional Sales Person (CPSP) through The National Association of Sales Professionals’ (NASP) is a 45-day online course.
  • HubSpot Academy offers a number of free sales and marketing courses through its online portal.

More recently accredited schools have introduced programs to give salespersons and the profession training and the credentials that go with it. See these:

There are even offers out there for free workshops:

Other related reading:

What do you think about the topic? Which one of these programs or resources is the better one and which is worth the money?


*Things That Need to go away: Salespeople who think more about their power tie than what the customer needs.