There are many reasons why you might attend a professional development course or want to acquire CEUs (Continuing Education Units):
*keep your job
*earn a certification
*your certification requires CEUs for recertification
*compete for a position or promotion
*score higher on your employment evaluation
*another reason why you deserve a raise
No matter the case, it’s important that you can find the documented proof of attendance or credit at a few moments’ notice in the event that you:
*don’t want to lose time to searching for all of these different documents and certificates
*work in a department that’s been selected for audit
*are presented an incredible opportunity for which you need to act fast
*were notified last minute that you need to immediately show proof of attendance or certification in order to be able to jump through the next hoop
To be able to secure your CEU certificates immediately, here are a few steps to take:
1 Locate a cloud storage space that will permanently be yours.
Never keep your original files on a company server. I know a number of people who have stored their certificates by either archiving the emails with these attachments or dumping their CEUs into a folder on their company’s server, and then lost all access to them. The problem is that a company’s server is owned by them and not you, so they can do whatever they want with their server and files: delete, transfer, reboot, or start from scratch with a whole new server. Should they always have a backup of their files? Of course they should! Should they always notify employees that there will be an update, maintenance or switch to a new platform so that you have the chance to secure your files? Of course they should! But do they always? No. A company also has the right to block your access to all files in the event you resign, get fired or are involved in an HR-related situation. And in today’s world, if company data storage is compromised by hackers, they most certainly don’t warn you ahead of time that you’re about to lose everything.
Therefore, select a digital space where you can keep your permanent records. You could use a flash drive, but those can be lost or stop working. The best place currently is through password-protected cloud storage such as DropBox, Apple iCloud Drive, or a similar service. (Here are some recommendations from PC Mag.) You’ll have access to your records from any device with internet service.
2 Create a digital file cabinet.
You should have one folder called CEUs or Professional Certificates or whatever file name is appropriate for your situation and memory.
The organization of your subfolders will be based on what you need to “prove” and how the proof needs to be shown. For example, will you need to submit your documentation by:
*type of delivery (in-person, virtual or self-study)
and so on.
If you need to provide documentation for a certain year range, notating both delivery type and course subject, you can use something like this:
Professional Development Courses
2021 – 2023 CEU courses
2021 02 14 Accounting_CWRU_virtual
2022 09 30 Tax Law_Chamber_in person
2023 01 05 Course Subject_Provider_Type of Delivery
In this case, the main folder is called Professional Development Courses. Any type of coursework proof will be housed in this folder.
The sub-folders will be by year ranges.
Within the year ranges, the certificates will be named by Date, Course Subject, Provider and Type of Delivery. This should be more than enough detail to help you locate a particular document within seconds, especially if your device’s search function isn’t bringing up what you’re looking for.
3 After each course, immediately scan or transfer your certificate to your cloud storage.
We have a tendency to want to put this off because there are other more pressing tasks we need to address, especially if we’ve just missed several hours of work to take the course in the first place. But when this step gets pushed to the backburner, it increases the probability that locating this CEU certificate in the future will turn into a monumental task. After each course you take, get into the habit of:
*capturing information highlights and next actions for you to take
*adding next steps or follow-up sessions to your calendar
*scanning or downloading your certificate of attendance or completion
Even if you are not currently required to show proof of CEU certificates, it doesn’t hurt to put these recommendations into practice now since you never know what opportunities the future might bring your way – and what kind of proof you might need to take advantage of that opportunity.
For more productivity strategies and tips for efficiently storing your documents, check out The Inefficiency Assassin: Time Management Tactics for Working Smarter, Not Longer.