We all know that certifications and training courses alone don’t get you the job, that’s the same whether it’s the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)®, Project Management Professional (PMP)® or anything else.
It’s about the combination of experience, work-based skills, knowledge, education, work ethic, and interpersonal skills that gets you the job.
The CAPM, in my mind, has always been the one to do if you’re starting to work in a project environment or are straight out of college. It does two things; it provides the knowledge around project management and gives an insight into which work-based skills are required to put that project management knowledge into action.
It’s these two elements that you’ll be utilising post-CAPM to help improve your chances of gaining a position that will lead you to fulfill the PMP pre-requisites. Gain those 4500 hours of works experience in a project setting doesn’t necessarily mean doing the work of a project manager, there are other roles within the project management family that also qualify.
It’s these roles you will be targeting – such as Project Co-ordinator; Project Controller; Assistant Project Manager and Analyst.
The CAPM will give you an insight into how best to represent yourself on your resume and in the interview – big hint, with project management roles using the right terms or jargon goes a long way to demonstrating you’re on the same page as the hirer.
The CAPM should also be signposting you to additional learning which won’t harm your efforts in securing work. For example, you’ll learn about risk management, so look at how risk logs are created. Another work breakdown schedules form the Gantt chart so teach yourself how those work.
This self-development will come in useful when talking to prospective hirers. You’re demonstrating that the CAPM was just the start of your journey, and you are proactive and enthusiastic about the next stage in your career.
Finally, I always say to people that it’s much easier to find potential opportunities where you are working right now. That’s because people know you and know what you’re capable of doing so exploit that. It’s not always possible to switch to a project related role however make sure you explore that before jumping ship.
Always make sure you have a great question lined up to ask at the end of the interview, it’s certainly one way the interviewers will remember you favourably. The question should be chosen on the basis that you’ll also be able to give one last insight to your suitability for the post following the answer they give.