AKAM is looking for evidence that you have acquired a specific competency. That will be through writing down what you have done, how and why, and any outcomes. You need to show the context(s) and basis of relevant underlying theory so the understanding and appropriateness of your approach can be assessed. Your submission cannot simply be an action log of ‘I did X’ and ‘I did Y‘.

Each competency is divided into three or four parts: see Diploma competency specification. You can download the workbooks and write up your competency with this structure, but you are not obliged to use this format. However, the workbooks contain full descriptions of each part of the competency to help you frame your write-up. The assessor will use those descriptions as criteria, so you are advised to structure your explanation of your competency accordingly.

There is no set word limit but we suggest you aim for about 500 words for each competency part (i.e. 1500-2000 words per competency). If you are providing extra ‘evidence’, explain how the item demonstrates your competency and how much you contributed to it (100%? 60%?). You may be able to write less if you are providing separate evidence.

When you have completed your competencies, get it signed off by someone who knows your work, who may or may not be your line manager, to say it is substantially true, i.e. not a complete fantasy, rather like witnessing a signature. They are not being asked to judge your competency, so no special training or briefing is required.

Writing practice

The chances are that you don't do much structured writing in your position. So the first skill you need to relearn is how to write a clear account of – anything! This may feel strange and uncomfortable initially, but you should recognise that this is simply a consequence of being out of practice. It is really nothing to do with your competency in KAM. Nevertheless, it needs to be overcome, but you should find that the more you write, the easier it will get. Your mentor’s feedback will help. Don’t get discouraged!

Writing to a structure

The assessor will use the descriptions of the competency, as described in 'Diploma competency specification' as criteria against which your competency will be judged. You will make the process easier for them and for yourself, and therefore less effortful and more likely to succeed if you use these criteria as a structure for presenting your competency. It is also a good checklist for you, to make sure you have not missed anything relevant. If you write up your competency in a different way it will be more difficult to identify the required competencies.

Providing evidence

You can shorten your explanation/description of your competency if you send some evidence with it. That may be a pre-existing example of your work that demonstrates competency, e.g. if the competency is 1.4 Strategic planning for key accounts, then if you can send in an actual plan, it may itself demonstrate large parts of that competency. Similarly, other competencies may be supported by, e.g. maps of customer decision-making units, presentations, spreadsheets etc, provided you produced them. (NB All material will be kept confidential to selected AKAM Board members/ assessors and deleted after evaluation.)

Proof of having completed an appropriate training course can also be used as evidence. You should supply course documentation (e.g. presentations, handouts, assignment briefings) together with the signature of the course tutor or your line manager to confirm your attendance and successful completion of required tasks.

‘Missing’ competencies

If you do not have competency in a certain area because it has not been part of your job, don't make it up, the pass mark is 50%. You can miss out two of the fourteen competencies, you need to pass twelve.

If you acted inappropriately (i.e. incompetently) in a particular situation, you can still claim competency in that area if you now understand what you should have done differently and why, and can explain that.

Reference to theory

A serious qualification in any profession requires some knowledge of underlying theory. You should refer to the relevant theory (concept, model, principle or research findings) in your submission and how it was applied, you are not asked to explain the theory itself. You do not have to teach the assessor what you are talking about – but you do need to link the concept with your work and show how it has been understood and used.

The AKAM website lists a number of reference books where you can revise relevant theory and/or you may also take one of AKAM’s optional extra training modules (available to preregistered Diploma students).