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Submitted by mdmcdani on


What letters are worth putting behind your name and what are better left off? Does it change for a business card or email signature? Currently, I work for an engineering firm and have my PE so I have PE behind my name. I also recently finished my MBA and am trying to decide if I should add MBA or if that is unnecessary? What if down the road I earn my PMP, is that something that should be added? If so, should I remove something else? Seems like one is enough, two is dependent on the two, and if you get to three you are becoming more of a joke to others than an inspiration.

pucciot's picture
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Remember that Communication is what the listener does.

A Business Card and an E-Signature are for contact info, and, some information on there is for ease of communication. Titles and Letters after the name are reminders for who you are and why keeping contact with you would be advantageous for the person you share it with.

Who is the Business Card or E-Signature for ?

What letters behind your name would they respond to, or be interestested in ?

Ask your peers (like you did on this board) and ask your supervisors.

Ask vendors that you have a good relationship with what letters they think are important to see.

* It will be different for each industry, and maybe different for each audience.

I have no idea what a PE or a PMP is (Yes, I just looked it up) or how that might related you and me working together.  

I work at a University, so the MBA resonoates with me more.

I'd suggest that you include it, but,  I may not be your ideal audience.  Do you hand your business card or send emails to many Academic Librarians ? -- Probably not.


I hope this is helpful.


Good Luck.







williamelledgepe's picture
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I'm a civil engineer (PE) and I have earned an MBA and a PMP.  In my email signature and on my business card I use PE, PMP.  The PE is there because of the legal requirements for stamping design construction plans - it is very fundamental to my job and the job of my staff.  I include the PMP because 17 of my skips are project managers and I am trying to encourage staff to get that training. 

The PE is a fundamental requirement in civil engineering.  I even have it my handles for social networking.  

I do not feel nearly as strong about including the PMP.  

Something to remember regarding use of PE: different states have rules about only using "PE" behind your name if you are licensed in that state.  I am licensed in 5 states and DC, but when I used to do marketing, I put an asterix with a footnote stating "PE in [ABC states] only" when marketing outside those states.  More and more states are going this direction.  ASCE and NSPE are good sources of more info about this and other issues related to using the PE.  

Another thought: I work for local government and am frequently on selection panels for consulting contracts.  I also look at a lot of resumes.  When I see more than two sets of initials I lose trust because I believe that person is trying to puff themselves up (ie: what else is exaggerated beyond practical day-to-day useage and knowledge?).  Since I also have PhDs on staff, there is one exception where I accept three sets of initials without frowning: PE, PhD, PMP (in that order).  The only time I actually look for the PMP on a resume or proposal is if that person is leading a project or program with fees more than $10M.  If the fees are less than a few million, I don't even care about the PMP.  

I wouldn't use the MBA unless you are proposing to teach a "business" course as an adjunct at an engineering college.  The MBA is a degree, not a license.  If I wanted to include a degree I could also write William Elledge, PE, BS, MS, MBA, PMP (which would be "gallactically stupid").  

Stick to the PE - it is a tremendous accomplishment and (more importantly) the PE exists to protect the health and safety of the public.  Add the PMP on a resume/powerpoint if (and only if) you are applying for or proposing for a major PM role.