I was just laid off from a previous position, and I was searching for a new gig. Day and night, week after week, sometimes until it felt like my eyes were crossed, I would apply. Open position after open position, from my laptop, apps on my phone and calling on my network. Nothing. My resume wasn’t catching the eyes of the hiring managers. So, I knew something had to change, but what? I had years of experience, but something was missing.
As I perused the endless job ads, I noticed a recurring certification they were asking for PMP (Project Management Professional) certification. That’s what the jobs wanted, so that’s what I was going to give them. But first, research.
· How much is it?
· How do I get one?
· Why get one? - Other than a more appealing resume, how else would a PMP affect me?
Often, the answers I’d find to that question were mostly around one thing: salary; and while it’s true, PMP certified Project Managers get paid 20% more than not certified, the effects of someone getting their PMP are numerous and supersede just money. Even now, having passed the PMP exam, the common monetary answer to the last question troubles me. Not because it’s wrong but because in hindsight, there’s so much more I got out of the PMP certification. Personally speaking, external to a larger salary, the PMP gave me 3 huge things: focus, confidence, and it changed my outlook. Let me briefly explain each.
Focus – For about two months of summer, I isolated myself from everyone to focus on studying for the exam. Summertime is prime time for parties, cookouts, brunches, vacations and outdoorsy activities. All of which I love, all of which I turned down to reach my goal. But what that process showed me is that I am truly able to lock in, focus on a goal, and do what it takes to get there. I always knew I could, but the PMP reinforced that point. It’s a skill that I have used frequently both in the office and life in general.
Confidence – The feeling of accomplishment and happiness that overtook me when I passed the exam is unlike anything else, but I also felt a rush of confidence that I did not have before. Yes, I had the project management experience but being able to add “, PMP” after my name was the cherry on top. That confidence permeated throughout my entire life. Even now, how I approach career opportunities, entrepreneurship, or even simply buying a car, all changed for the better because of my increased confidence derived from passing the PMP exam.
Outlook – Another consequence of passing the exam is the way my outlook on life changed. The PMP certification opened new doors for me, some of which I wasn’t looking for but found me because of the PMP. After that, everything seemed like a potential opportunity. No idea too big, no detail too small. With my experience and PMP, I walked into roles as the “Project Management Subject Matter Expert.” Excuse the cliché, but it felt like I was on top of the world, my future was bright, and the sky was truly the limit!
Everyone will have their own experiences when they study for and eventually pass the PMP exam, but I promise, money won’t be the only positive change the PMP will bring into your life. But let’s be honest, a little extra for the bank account doesn’t hurt either. 😊
- Charles Gavin, PMP
Project Manager and PMP coach