By Daryl Lee Spiewak, CEM, TEM, MEP, Lead Trainer for the CEM Commission, and Chair, IAEM-Global Communications Work Group
Last month we completed our discussion on the program elements making up the AEM/CEM examination. It has been a long road, but a success- ful one. This month I will begin new discussions on the essay for the AEM/CEM application, as that is one common area often requiring resubmissions.
The first part the Certification Commissioners often find deficient is that a candidate will write about what the organization did to solve a problem rather than what he or she would or did do. The instructions are clear. They state, “You are the new emergency manager for an organization. After reviewing existing plans, after action reports, and training records, your first task is to develop and present a written description of a specific problem and how you would solve it to enhance resiliency and provide for continuity.” The key words being “…develop and present a written description of a specific problem and how you would solve it…” – not how the organization solved it!
Remember the essay “qualitative in nature and designed to assess the candidate’s knowledge and abilities (not the organization’s) of disaster/emergency management and skill in written communication. Candidates should equate this section to an “interview” when the candidate is asked to describe a problem and solution in disaster/ emergency management.” Write the essay as if you are presenting your discussion to an interviewer to demonstrate your Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSAs) in emergency management and your problem-solving process.
Missing an in-depth discussion of the three mission areas requires you to obtain a maximum score on all the other essay components. Since that rarely ever occurs, including them in your essay will increase the chances you earn a passing score.
There are two other KSA’s that candidates seem to overlook in the essay. Those are: developing a solution for the stated problem; and demonstrated knowledge of codes, legislation, regulations, plans, policies, or procedures which impact the disaster/emergency management function.
Then as always, read your essay again. Correct all spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. Ensure that the essay is properly formatted. Finally, sign your essay as required by the instructions prior to posting for Commission review.
Next month I will discuss documentation, because poor or missing documentation results in resubmission letters to candidates. As usual, please send any questions you have about the examination or the certification process to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will address them in future articles.
IAEM Bulletin, April 2018
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