Have You Earned Your DEPP™ ?

I have read enough LinkedIn profiles and resumes to realize that adjectives have taken over. There is an adjective-based claim that many people are making that I believe needs some sort of certification. It seems there are growing numbers of DEPPs in every profession.

Dedicated, Engaged, Passionate Professional.

All I need to do is find a way to certify those qualities and I’ve got myself a business model where you pay me to add the acronym to your credentials. The market is huge – every profession seems to have self-proclaimed DEPPs. They are literally everywhere. But are they certified DEPPs? How can you be sure?

The demand side is strong.  I can’t think of any discussions I’ve had with a hiring manager where some combination of these hasn’t come up.  It would be so much simpler to be able to check off the box for “DEPP™ Certification”. If you don’t have your DEPP™, you may as well not apply.

The road to earning DEPP™ certification doesn’t need to be too hard, and there could even be a secondary market for DEPP™ Prep.  The initial fee will need to cover some costs of the certification process, and need to be substantial enough to prove the Dedication element. “Well, he is dedicated. He spent the big money on getting his DEPP™”.

The biggest problem I see is the Engaged qualifier. Engaged with what? Your employer’s goals? Then what are you doing looking for other work?  Maybe it’s about being engaged with the profession. That’s probably self-evident in that you continue to work or seek work in that profession. Perhaps it’s the same as Dedicated. Maybe I should simplify this to DPP or EPP.

For all of you who have PHR, SPHR, of any of the other xxHR credentials out there, this post is not meant to poke at genuine credentials. I know enough about what you have done to earn those and why you have done it to have great respect for your achievement and your dedication to your continuing education. Certification is important, real, and has a value. Heck, I may just proclaim that all SPHR holders are automatically fully certified as DEPP™. Though to receive your DEPP™ certificate and be registered on the DEPP™ website may require that you pay a small fee.

What I am trying to say is that we are so over-marketing ourselves these days. Every time I check Twitter followers I am amazed at how many adjectives can be used to describe one’s connection to their work. And how meaningless those have become – to me anyway. I read them and think “Yeah, yeah, that’s how you see yourself, but what can you DO?”

Hey recruiters – does anyone search for those words? Is there an algorithm to remove them and see what the resume really says?

I know that we are all trying to be seen. We market ourselves and try and make our packaging stand out. Or stand out for the right reasons. It was recently suggested that I remove the phrase “Over 25 years in manufacturing” from my profile, as it says more about age than it does about meaningful capabilities. Over the next few weeks, I plan to review my various online profiles and make sure that the product is clear, and lighten up the packaging a bit.

By the way, I’ll give you “D” and “E” credits for leaving a comment. Dedicated, because you are obviously reading quality HR content to broaden your knowledge of the field, and Engaged because, well, you left a comment! You’ll be well on your way to earning your DEPP™.

9 Responses to Have You Earned Your DEPP™ ?

  1. Tim – great perspective !! Love your questioning of the over-marketing. I also love the fact that people may clamor to “prove” they are DEPP HR pros. I wish we all were !! I’d love to be a proctor on the “Passionate” portion of the exam by the way. Well done my friend !!

    • Thanks Steve. I realize that as a more reserved kind of guy, I don’t use those terms too much describing myself. I like to let my work speak for me. I think there needs to be some direct feedback from customers to test Passionate.

  2. Tim,

    I was having a conversation last week about credentials after names and how they have evolved and expanded over time. I recently came across someone with 7 different sets of initials after their name! It’s an interesting dilemma as people gain skills and certification, we are eager to show that we have them. As we know, if initials alone conveyed that, the world would be a much different place!

    Of course, I have every intention of adding three more letters (MBA) next month once I finish my final class!!!

  3. As always, another insightful article from the HR Introvert! Love reading your work.

    As for the DEPP, I agree that there are so many fluff words used in resumes and LinkedIn profiles that really don’t add value to the individual’s brand. Thanks for the reminder as it will cause me to evaluate my own use of superfluous adjectives.

  4. Tim,
    great post. I like your business idea and would like to join in. However, it is not working out internationally: e.g. in German the acronym means “fool” or “goof” – so that would not work over here and instead backfired big time 🙂

    • Martin-
      Thanks for the cross-cultural reminder. All acronyms that are pronounceable have the potential to mean very different things, even potentially offensive! Let me work on this a bit more before I seek international backing.

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