kite surfingWith the current state of the economy, the job market is an extremely competitive place. Thousands of graduates with similar skill sets are fighting it out for the same pool of jobs. It’s therefore important that you set yourself apart from them; and for those in the project management industry, a PMP certification is one way you can do this.

The Project Management Professional (PMP) credential is one of the most important certifications in the industry. It’s recognized globally and shows that you are competent, qualified and experienced in the field of project management. In order to apply you need a four year degree (bachelor’s degree or the global equivalent) and a minimum of three years’ of project management experience. You also need at least 4500 hours of leading and directing projects along with 35 hours of project management education.  If you do not hold a bachelor’s degree or higher, you can apply if you have a secondary diploma (high school or the global equivalent) and you have at least five years of project management experience along with 7500 hours of leading and directing projects and 35 hours of project management education.

There are many benefits to having a PMP certification to your name, so let’s take a look at some of them.

Employers will notice you more quickly

Because the PMP is internationally recognized and because there are certain pre-requisites for obtaining the certification, it’s something which is held in high regard by many employers. If you are looking for work specifically in the project management field, this certification can sometimes be the difference between getting your first interview and having your resume tossed out.

Many employers now require candidates to have a PMP certification. Having the certification just makes finding a job that much easier. If you have this qualification, make a big song and dance about it. List it right at the top of your resume, next to your name. Don’t hide it further down. Potential employers only need a few seconds to look at a resume to decide whether the candidate is a good fit for the job or not. Make it clear that you are different to the rest, value those three letters.

It proves you’ve tested your mettle

In order to take a PMP exam, you will need to have some heavy experience under your belt. If you have an associate’s degree, you need at least 60 months’ worth of experience before you can take the exam. If you hold a bachelor’s degree, it’s 36 months. The audit process from the Project Management Institute (PMI) can be rigorous in order to ensure that potential candidates are honest about their prospects.  Therefore, if you have the certification and you show it off, prospective employers immediately know that you are experienced. Instead of having to wade through your whole CV, the qualification will stand out and those three simple letters will speak volumes of what you already achieved.

A PMP certification will give your earnings a boost

Research has shown that those who are in possession of a PMP certification will earn more money that those candidates who are not certified. What’s more is that these salaries are still increasing every year and the job market seems to be doing well. On average, candidates who are PMP certified earn around $6,000 to $10,000 USD more per annum compared to those who are not.

A PMP certification will give you great networking opportunities

When you are PMP certified, you are linked to all the other PMPs in the world. According to the PMI’s publication, PMI Today, there were more than 357,770 PMI members around the world in August 2011 and the number just keeps on growing. The PMI offers a broad network of local chapters in different cities where all PMPs can get together, talk about project management theory and even talk about possible job opportunities. These meetings also allow PMPs to earn Professional Development Units (PDUs). PDUs are needed to renew certification every three years. These network opportunities are excellent because it helps you keep your finger on the pulse of what’s happening in the world of project management.  If you wanted to move to a different city or even a different country, reaching out to your fellow PMPs will be the first step you take towards a change of scenery. It’s much easier finding a job in a different city or country if you talk to somebody in the industry. If making a big leap away from your comfort zone is something you think you may consider in future, a PMP certification is a good investment.

Taking all of the above into account, if you are committed to working in the field of project management and you are looking for the best career options, a PMP certification is seriously worth considering.  While it can be a tedious and somewhat pricey process, the pros of having a PMP certification far outweigh the cons.

Employers will go through hours and hours of effort to find the right candidate. It’s not always easy for them and they get tons of resumes which are completely irrelevant. In a dog-eat-dog job market, setting yourself apart from others is the key to getting noticed and three little letters that say “PMP” can do just that.

in Project Management]