Inside the global project manager’s travel kit
PMP. These three letters indicate you are a Project Management Professional, according to the global association Project Management Institute. But what does this mean for your international prospects?
In late 2005, at the tail end of my first solo trip overseas, I wound up at my uncle’s house in Vancouver, Canada. My aunt and uncle own a cafe and had great relationships with their staff, past and present. My aunt knew I was freelancing and invited me to have coffee—on the house, of course—with a former staff member who had started working at a local news outlet. We chatted for about an hour and he gave me his card in case I decided to pursue a journalism career in Canada.
I returned home a couple of weeks later and thought seriously about it. Journalists moved around all the time, didn’t they? What was different about stringing for magazines in Vancouver versus Sydney? In the end I felt I had a better chance of finding work in Sydney, the hub of the Australian publishing sector, against Vancouver, which was not as hot as Toronto as the Canadian counterpart. It did start me thinking about some of the transferable skills I had, however, and some of the other in-demand occupations that would be lucky enough to travel anywhere.
Project management is one of those occupations. And project managers are some of those lucky people who could travel anywhere for work if they wanted to. But where journalists might need to show articles in their portfolio to potential editors, the difference with project managers is that often they’re only seen to be as good as their last project, which you and I know is not necessarily the best indicator of skill, knowledge and experience. Unless, of course, the project manager has a transferable accreditation.
Accountants have the chartered accountant status. Engineers have the chartered engineer status. Project managers have the Project Management Professional (PMP), a certification issued by the Project Management Institute. Recognised in 185 countries, the PMP (and its relatives for program management, Agile practitioners, risk management and project scheduling) is a doorway to global employment opportunities. Just like having a journalism diploma or degree, having PMP accreditation may not be sufficient to get you into a role (after all, you need to show you can do the job) but more and more it is becoming a necessary antecedent particularly when translating your local experience into an international context.
Are you a global project manager? Do you use PMP to help you secure roles in other countries? Or are you so renown as a project manager that your reputation alone distinguishes you?