6 Ways to Maximize Your PMP Certification
People do funny things with possessions they value. We’ve all heard stories of people that have died and when their belongings are being sorted out a massive cache of cash is discovered in their mattress. Or there’s a note discovered that points everyone in the direction of the accumulation of funds that are buried in jars in the backyard. Money is an asset to these people and they don’t want to chance it leaving their sight. So, rather than putting it in the bank or investing it (where it can make more money for them) they decide to hold it close to their chest and allow it to stagnate.
Your PMP Certification is an Asset, are you Investing it in Ways that will Increase its Value?
Hopefully, you realize that your PMP certification is an asset that can grow in value over time. This value is realized in the amount of salary you earn which is directly tied into the decisions you have made to optimize your credential. Apply these suggestions to make sure you are getting the largest return on your investment possible.
• Keep Your Eyes on Project Management Salaries
Let’s face it…the world is one big marketplace. People are buying and selling things all the time. This includes your talent as a PMP certified project manager. At the most basic level, you are nothing more than a service that someone needs to buy in order to get the job done. You may be horrified when you hear this, yet what does a company do when it can no longer afford your services? They let you go. It’s the way business works and we all understand the rules.
So, since we all understand the rules, there are times when the market will pay for project management PMP services and other times when they will not pay as much. I know PMP certified project managers who at one point in time, (not too long ago) would work for half of what they are making now, despite the fact that they were portfolio management experts. It’s up to you to keep your eyes on the marketplace and see what people are willing to pay for your services.
A great place to start is the Salary Survey at PMI.org. This report is put out every couple of years and provides a good description of the services rendered (also known as job descriptions) and low, average and high salaries for various regions of the world. This is a great place to start if you need some leverage to have a conversation with your current employer or are looking to make a change.
• Have the Guts to Make a Move
You probably started out with a savings account when you were a teenager that earned next to nothing when it came to interest on your money. The older you got, the more you realized you needed to make some changes when it came to where your money was residing. You moved your financial assets into CDs, mutual funds, stocks, bonds, and other investments. Then, you kept moving them around these financial vehicles because the market conditions were always changing.
Guess what? You need to do the same with your certification. In line with “keep your eyes on project management salaries” (above), you may need to move around a bit to maximize your opportunities. Here’s a phenomenon you may want to consider. When you leave one job to take another job for a 20% increase in salary, do you know more on the day you start the new job than the day you left the old job? Probably not. What changed? Your job! You had the guts necessary to move from one position to the next!
• Project Management Niche Career Development
You need to earn 60 PDUs every three years to keep your PMP status current. There are a number of people who will go PDU chasing and collect anything and everything that’s out there to earn their 60 PDUs. Their first question is “how many PDUs do I earn?” Don’t do this! Your first question should be “what will I learn?” You must have an educational path you’re following. We all know that specialists in the medical field make more than generalists. Look at your insurance card. Your primary care Doctor is paid [x] and your Specialist is paid [x] plus 25%-50%. Become a project management specialist. Take courses that take you down the path of a risk specialist, scheduling specialist, procurement specialist or whatever other project management discipline you find intriguing.
• Take Advantage of PMP Networking Opportunities
Yeah, yeah, yeah…we all know we need to network. But, in order to maximize your PMP certification you need to go out of your way to make this happen. Plus, check your motives. Why do you want to network with others? Most people will begin networking when they need a job. “Great to meet you. What do you do? Yeah, great. Do you know anyone that is hiring right now?” is unfortunately heard too many times at project management meetings and conferences. Here’s a different approach…try networking when you don’t need a job. Network with others to share project management best practices. Network with others to see what you can do to help someone else (maybe you can help them find a job). Network with others to just form a relationship for the sake of a relationship. Volunteer on committees and look for pro bono opportunities where your experience can be shared and benefit others.
• Mentor Others
I had the opportunity of having a mentor who helped me earn my PMP certification. It was a great time in my professional life. We would meet every couple of weeks and review the progress I had made. We would plan out the next couple of weeks, identify resources, answer questions and work toward the goal of passing the PMP test. I loved it. My mentor loved it too. It gave her the opportunity to keep up with her skills, keep herself challenged, and share that feeling of pride when I passed my PMP exam. You can do the same thing by helping others pass their PMP exam. Use your PMP as a springboard to help others move forward in their PMP careers.
• Tell Others You Are PMP Certified
You have spent a great deal of time and effort to achieve your credential. Don’t hide it. You don’t have to be obnoxious and tell anyone and everyone you see that you are a PMP Project Manager, yet there are things you can do to gently remind everyone of your achievement. Make sure to include the PMP certification after your name on your business card. Include the PMP certification after your name on your default email address. Include your certification in presentations you give. Why? Because people will view you differently when they realize you are a PMP. Just like there’s a difference between a bookkeeper and a CPA, there’s a difference between a project manager and a PMP certified Project Manager. Subtly and consistently, highlight the fact that you have achieved this status and you will go far in your career.
Please invest any money you have stuffed in your mattress or buried in your backyard immediately! And, if you are a certified project management professional, be sure to follow the six ways above to maximize your project management PMP certification. At the same time, if you’re looking to add to your professional project management repertoire try ProjectManager.com FREE for 30 days and expand your knowledge of online project management tools.