You are a Certified Record Manager…now what?!

“CONGRATULATIONS! The ICRM Part 6 examination has been graded, and the results indicate that you have passed!”

What?  What does that say?  I had to read it three times before I realized what the email I had just received was saying to me.  After four years of studying and learning new information, four years of learning new terminology that was completely foreign to me, four years of sitting in the hotel room studying on family vacations because a test was coming, and it was that important to me, and after hours of working over phone and email with a mentor, I finally did it.  I passed.

Some legends have passed the exam series in one testing cycle.  My predecessor at my company had taken the full five years before she passed.  No matter how long it takes you, when you are going through the process there are so many emotions – anger, nervousness, excitement, you name it.  I received big hugs from my boss once time and another time encouragement because she believed in me.  When I got the email saying I had finally done it, I admit, I screamed in the office with my husband listening in on the phone, and then I cried.  It was so amazing and relieving to know I had finally passed the last test.  I am finally a CRM.

What happens now?  Accomplishing this is exciting, but once you achieve this, you can’t just hang your hat and walk away.  There is a constant and ever-changing arena ahead that it is now your responsibility to navigate and then educate your peers, your supervisors, and your customers (both internal and external).

My first steps have been small, but I am planning much in the future that will build on them.  Technology is the biggest part of our future and knowing how to work in that and with that is critical.  ARMA International has excellent resources that you can download at no charge or pay a small fee for that will help you to grow in your understanding of data and technologies.  With GDRP as a new player in our business, I have written policies for that, working with our offices and legal team in London to ensure that the policies will cover what both our countries require.  The opportunity to work as a CRM as a consultant on behalf of my company has also been given to me several times already, which I greatly enjoy!

There are also ways outside of employment that I have worked on building my knowledge base and experience as a CRM.  I have volunteered as a CRM exam part 6 grader and am also currently a mentor for individuals in the Midwest that are getting ready for part 6.

When I started to write this, I really didn’t think I have had many opportunities afforded me since passing my exam, but now that I write I look back and realize what a whirlwind the four months have been since passing.  In four months I have already come so far and been given so many opportunities!  Without my CRM and without the support of ARMA and the ICRM team I would not be able to feel like I have so much on my horizon!  The future is big in records management, and I hope that you will come along for the ride!

Jennifer Coker, CRM is the Records Manager, Training and Safety Coordinator for Underground Vaults and Storage, a global records management company headquartered in Kansas.  She is regarded as a leader in the safety industry working closely with OSHA and MSHA regulations, speaking across the United States at Safety and Health conferences.  She most recently was challenged to obtain her CRM which has taken her on a different career path.  After receiving that certification, she has begun volunteering with ICRM as a mentor and grader for Part VI exams. 

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