As the economy makes its slow rise after the recession of 2008, the job market is gradually growing. Fortunately, this means more employment opportunities for professionals of all ages. On the other hand, this also means that the job market is becoming more competitive than ever before.
The college has become a necessity for most, and the number of people with degrees and certifications above and beyond a bachelor is also becoming more common.
So how do you, a project manager, remain competitive in the job market? Whether you are a fresh newcomer or a well-seasoned professional, there are many ways to thrive and stand out among your peers. Below there are three ways to advance your project management career.
Get Your PMP Certification
No matter where you live or what your local economy looks like, you will still need the standard project management credentials.
The most common of these is the PMP or Project Management Professional certification. If you are new to the scene, you will no doubt have to pass this exam to continue in the field.
It is not usually a prerequisite to starting your career, but you will find that the number of project managers without one is very small.
Often, you may not even be considered for a job without one, even if you have an impressive resume. The exam can be tough, and some find they must take and retake the exam.
There are sites that offer online coaching and mock tests; companies like these offer study materials that provide insight into best test-taking practices and help you earn your certification.
Get Additional Certification
As a project manager, you can never learn enough to become better at your job. Because so many people have their PMP certification already, getting additional training and certifications is one of the best ways to advance your career.
A few of these include an MPM, or master project manager, whose education in the vein of the doctor, lawyer, and engineer licensure. This certification is designed for those with that already have three years of project management experience or those that already have a master’s degree.
Another is called the CPM, or certified project manager. This certification is internationally recognized and is based on a wide range of skills: IT, marketing, finance, human resources, and risk and quality management. These subjects make the CPM a well-rounded certification that looks good on any resume.
For this degree, you must first have a bachelor’s degree as well as four years of experience, and 36 hours of CPM training. However, Project Management in IT Security—also known as PMITS—is a degree that focuses specifically on upholding the security and protection of a project.
These days a lot of projects are done in agile methodology, often project managers perform the scrum master role. Having a scrum master’s certification is not only going to push you further, you can also perform your job better.
This is a more specific certification that shows your potential employer the specific education you have to stand out. Finally, another certification of note is the CPD or Certified Project Director certification.
This is the highest certification you can get, with an emphasis in directing complicated multi-faceted projects, and how to handle multiple projects at a time.
These are just a few of the many certifications, so find one that is best for you and your path.
Obtain a Masters degree
Although it is not necessary for you to have your masters to become a project manager, you have probably noticed that in order to get an additional certification you will likely need one.
Earning a master’s shows your employer that you have a well-rounded education and that you have gone through extensive training to get to where you are. Your chances of growth with a master degree also becomes higher.
In addition, more project managers are getting their master’s degree, which makes the market more competitive. If you haven’t already, consider getting a degree in the area of business, business management, international business, or business administration.
Other degrees may be useful as well, depending on the project you are in charge of (engineering, computer science, etc.).
If you are a working professional who can’t afford to take time away from work or family, consider online schools.
Online education is becoming more reputable as the younger and older generations alike feel as though they must earn additional degrees to become more qualified for a job.
As you can see from this list, continuous education and certification is the most effective way to become an invaluable asset to your employer in the area of project management.
Sharpen your skills by investing in any or all of these certifications to advance your career now and in the future.