A Winning PMP Story

Yesterday, we asked Project Managers to give us their thoughts on the benefits of obtaining their PMP® certification. The feedback was so motivational and inspiring that we had to share. See the story that won our PMP Story Contest below, and check out all the stories submitted about how PMP certification helped people reach their goals faster than ever on our Cheetah Blog.

Obtaining my PMP caused my marketability to sky rocket. For several years prior to obtaining my PMP, I
supported projects as a Documentation Specialist or a Project Coordinator. Although I started to pursue my bachelor’s degree, I decided to postpone that goal as my various employers were not offering any type of tuition reimbursement. During an assignment where I was a project coordinator, a Senior Management Executive counseled me on my career aspirations and strongly suggested that I consider obtaining my PMP. My years of project support enabled me to qualify for the exam. I obtained a position with a company that offered tuition reimbursement and also offered reimbursement of certifications. There was one catch… the company’s product was insurance and the language in the employee handbook did not take into account that the market offered certifications for more than just insurance agents. Because of that “loophole”, I was able to fight for the right to take the Cheetah PMP course and exam – at the company’s expense. Immediately after I became certified, the human resources department amended the handbook and included the stipulation that reimbursement for certifications and licensure was limited to the insurance industry and specifically excluded project management.

After earning my PMP, I was able to secure a Vendor Relations Manager position that increased my salary to $105,000 per year.
My salary ranged from $30,000 to $42,000 per year. After earning my PMP, I was able to secure a Vendor Relations Manager position that increased my salary to $105,000 per year. Due to the economy, my salary has dropped to as low as $63,500. After transitioning from the automotive industry to the healthcare industry, my salary is once again, a six-figure income. Maintaining my PMP and continuing to learn various project management and SDLC methodologies established by various companies has been extremely valuable to me. The foundation that PMBOK offers, equips a flexible project manager to adapt to the various methodologies and processes across industries. The only downside that most people find in this industry is that most positions are contract and do not offer the stability that is assumed with a permanent position. Having had the opportunity to fill this role as a contractor and as a permanent employee has been quite an experience for me. The stability that I thought I had with the permanent position was non-existent when the company decided to downsize its workforce by 24,600 employees (most of which were Project Managers). I was able to quickly adjust to the role of contractor again because of my previous experience.

The one piece of advice that I would offer to anyone interested in obtaining their PMP is very simple. Go for it. If you don’t go after what you want, you won’t get it. It certainly won’t be easy, if it were, everyone would have those 3 important letters behind their name. If you feel that you know how to effectively manage projects, you owe it to yourself to command the respect and the income that comes along with mastering that skill set.

As a certified Project Manager, the security of the position depends largely on the approved funding of the project and the skills and abilities brought to the project by the Project Manager. The longest amount of time off between assignments for me has been three months. The toughest time for me was when the automotive economy hit its lowest point in Michigan. With the headquarters for each of the three major automotive manufacturers located in Michigan, the need for project managers is very great when funds are available for development and enhancement work to information systems. Conversely, when the economy is suffering, typically, information technology is the first budget item that is cut.

As a result of my experience in various industries, I am now able to quickly reject any inquiries from recruiters that are not able to support the salary expectations that come with the level of experience that I am able to bring to a company. There are many positions that I do not qualify for simply because I do not possess a college degree. But many times, the door remains open because of my PMP and my background. Having my PMP is invaluable.

One Response to “A Winning PMP Story”

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