Project Management

Project Management Central

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Topics: Career Development, Ethics
Next Step in Career Development
Good afternoon,

I am a newly minted PMP with over a decade of experience working in and coordinating various government IT projects. Most recently, I've been in a hybrid Business Analyst/Project Manager role, implementing Insurance Benefits changes for state employees. I've been doing this several years now and am looking to venture elsewhere, using the PMP certification as a springboard to attain a more formalized Project Manager role within an organization.

My issue is this: while I have extensive experience in some aspects of project management--project planning, coordinating teams, test planning, scheduling, resource allocation, etc..., I have little to no experience in other aspects, such as creating a project charter, contract negotiation or closing out a large project.

While I have a PMP certification, I don't want to misrepresent my "incomplete" skillset to potential employers, who may assume that an individual with a PMP certification has experience in all aspects of project management. Given the certification, I'm surely able to master these skills in time, but have been given no opportunity in my previous and current roles to gain that practical experience.

From what I've seen advertised in my area, the vast majority of project management positions are similar to what I'm in now, or a Sr. Project Manager--to which I would expect should have mastered all aspects of project management.

Any advice would be appreciated.

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Congrats on your PMP designation.

First of all, being a PMP doesn't imply by any means that someone has the experience or can do the job. It is merely an indication that someone has an in-depth knowledge of the PM Processes, tools, techniques, etc.

Second, no one is expected to master everything in project management so it is totally OK to have some areas that require development / improvement. That said, I don't think any employer will or should assume that you have mastery in everything.

While you are applying for PM Jobs, I suggest the following:

1) In the first page of your resume, highlight your skills and areas of expertise.

2) When you elaborate about our JFD with previous employers, make sure you are transparent about what you've done.

Now, when you evaluate a potential opportunity, if 80% of what's required falls within your areas of expertise, then you should apply for it and when interviewed, be open and transparent about your strengths and weaknesses.

When I used to interview PM's and other staff members, I never assumed they know everything nor was that a requirement. I assess their skills, strengths, weaknesses and if they fit the overall JD, I would recruit them and provide training and mentoring in the areas where they require guidance.

This is my humble and professional opinion so hope I was able to help. Good Luck !

I have to be an expert in project management not a subject matter expert in things you need to integrate into a project. Taken your words you have to be a master in creating a project charter but you need people that will help you to create it giving you the needed content. Or about contract negotiation if is needed in a project you have to engage the people that will help you on that.
Michael -

I'd echo Rami's feedback. You can still be a very competent PM if you don't have experience with some specific processes or practices. The key is to know where you have gaps and ensure that you have a strategy to address those gaps. A good option is to have one or two seasoned PMs as mentors who can help you avoid the common pitfalls with a new practices or technique.

Congrats, Michael, for achieving the PMP. You can feel proud of yourself to have mastered such a difficult exam (I was, back in 1998).

Nobody who got the PMP has experience in all of its parts, so you are among equals. Nor should they, as practicing on the job and gaining experience cannot be replaced by reading or courses.

But if you go into unknown areas, as we all do, consider reading about them, asking others about them, get a mentor and maybe attend a short course or webinar.

It is good to have a can-do attitude, know your gaps and see what life is offering as opportunities. Good luck.

Well done, Michael.

It might be daunting at first in domains that you have no direct experience in. Gradually you will realize that nobody does ! The value of your deep project management experience is that you can build up others, to handle projects systematically, and to motivate and to facilitate resources to close projects.

We are all learning after all.
Thanks everyone for the advice and encouragement. I have a promising lead and hope to be moving on to new endeavors soon.

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