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From Invisible to Unstoppable: The Empowering Journey of an Overlooked Professional to PMP Success

career advancement overlooked professionals pmp certification professional development project management success story Apr 24, 2023

Over the years, I have worked with thousands of people from all occupations and backgrounds. Each of them has their own unique story, struggles, and aspirations. However, there is one story that I have heard repeatedly from many of my clients - the story of talented and hardworking professionals who are overlooked and undervalued in their current organizations. It's a story that resonates with me deeply because I too have experienced it in my own career. That's why I decided to chronicle the journey of one of my recent clients, Sarah, who came to me looking for guidance and support in her pursuit of the Project Management Professional (PMP) credential. Sarah's journey is a testament to the power of hard work, determination, and the right guidance, and it offers valuable insights into the challenges and obstacles that many professionals face in their careers.

Sarah is a talented and hardworking professional who started her career in a junior role at a major shipping company. Over time, Sarah began to take on increased project management duties. Her colleagues relied on her to solve problems and complete projects successfully. Despite the added responsibilities, Sarah was never recognized for her hard work and contributions.

  • Sarah was often responsible for creating and managing project schedules, even though this was typically a task reserved for senior project managers.
  • Sarah was also responsible for managing project budgets and tracking expenses, even though this was typically a task handled by more senior financial analysts or project controllers.
  • Sarah was frequently tasked with leading project status meetings and presenting project updates to senior leadership, even though this was typically a responsibility reserved for more experienced project managers.

As Sarah worked tirelessly to complete projects successfully, she saw others with less experience and fewer qualifications getting ahead and receiving more recognition.

  • Sarah noticed that her colleagues with less experience and qualifications were being given more prominent roles on high-profile projects, even though she had a proven record of accomplishment in delivering successful projects.
  • Sarah was often overlooked for promotions and opportunities for career growth, while her less experienced and qualified colleagues were given these opportunities instead.
  • Sarah saw that her colleagues who were less qualified were receiving recognition and praise for work that she had done or contributed significantly to, without being given proper credit or acknowledgment.

That's when Sarah began to research ways to level the playing field and gain the recognition she deserved – and that’s when she found me. She knew that obtaining a Project Management Professional (PMP) credential could be the key to advancing her career and I would help her in achieving her goals. The PMP credential is a globally recognized certification that demonstrates an individual's expertise in project management. She was often concerned that PMP was something she was not qualified to do and then found out from me it was quite attainable as she had the main pre-requisites covered:

  • Four-year degree: To be eligible for the PMP certification, candidates must have a four-year degree from an accredited college or university, and she had this.
  • Project management experience: Candidates must have at least three years of project management experience, with a minimum of 4,500 hours leading and directing projects. While her title was not “Project Manager” that is not a qualification and functionally she had way more than the required hours.
  • Project management education: In addition to experience, candidates must have completed at least 35 hours of project management education or training, either through a formal classroom setting or online courses. Sarah got this in less than 30 days from me, Coach Dan.

Sarah knew that pursuing the PMP credential would not be easy. She would need to study and prepare for the exam while also juggling her full-time responsibilities at work and her family at home. However, she was determined to succeed and knew that the effort would be worth it if it meant finally achieving the recognition and advancement she deserved.

  • Sarah knew that her busy schedule with work and family obligations would make it difficult to find time to study for the PMP exam. However, I offered classes and training programs at nights and weekends, which allowed Sarah to work around her schedule and still have time to prepare for the exam.
  • The cost of training and preparation materials for the PMP exam can be a significant barrier for many people, especially if they are already facing financial constraints. However, my flexible and low-cost programs helped Sarah to access the training and resources she needed without breaking the bank.
  • For someone like Sarah who was new to the world of project management and PMP certification, it can be overwhelming to know where to start or what areas to focus on. However, I offer personalized 1-on-1 coaching sessions providing Sarah with the guidance and accountability she needed to stay on track and make progress towards her goals. This helped her to feel more confident and prepared as she worked towards obtaining her PMP credential.

Sarah began in earnest working with me on weekly 1-on-1 coaching sessions that took place on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 7-8 pm. During these sessions, we reviewed Sarah's progress, discussed any questions, or concerns she had, and set goals and action plans for the coming week.

  • I helped Sarah to complete her PMP application, demonstrating to her how her experience and skills were more than enough to meet the eligibility requirements for the certification. This helped Sarah to feel more confident and assured that she was on the right track.
  • Sarah attended one of my PMP bootcamp sessions over the weekend, where she learned more about the key concepts and strategies for passing the exam. She also used my PMP exam simulators to practice over five hundred practice questions, following a custom checklist designed by me to help her focus on the areas where she needed the most improvement.
  • As Sarah continued to practice and study, her scores on the practice exams steadily improved. I monitored her progress and provided feedback and support along the way. When I felt that Sarah had reached the level of proficiency needed to pass the real exam, I gave her the green light to pay for and sit for the exam.

Sarah passed the PMP exam with excellence, receiving an "above target" score in all areas. She was thrilled with the results and grateful for the guidance and support provided by me throughout the process. By working together, Sarah was able to achieve her goals and gain the recognition and advancement she deserved as a skilled and capable project manager.

To her absolute dismay, Sarah returned to her employer with her new PMP credential and improved professional profile, but unfortunately, she still did not receive the recognition she deserved. Sarah's employer may have had biases or preconceptions about her based on factors like gender, age, or previous job titles that made it difficult for them to see her as a qualified and capable project manager.

It's possible that Sarah's previous job titles or roles within the organization may have influenced her employer's perception of her as a project manager. Even though Sarah had taken the steps to obtain her PMP credential and improve her professional profile, her employer may have still seen her through the lens of her previous roles or job titles.

For example, if Sarah had previously worked in a more administrative or support role within the organization, her employer may have had difficulty seeing her as a capable project manager. They may have perceived her as lacking the necessary leadership or technical skills to effectively manage projects, even if she had demonstrated those skills in her current role.

Alternatively, if Sarah had been promoted internally from a lower-level role to a project management role, her employer may have viewed her as lacking the same qualifications or credentials as someone who was hired externally into a project management role. This could have made it more difficult for Sarah to receive recognition or advancement opportunities, even with her PMP credential and improved professional profile.

Sometimes we just must face the fact that our employer is just straight up unwilling or unable to offer us the recognition or advancement opportunities we deserve and for reasons unrelated to our qualifications or abilities.

I had previously discussed with Sarah the possibility of biases or preconceptions that her employer may have had based on her previous job titles or roles. However, Sarah was initially skeptical and didn't fully believe that it would impact her chances of recognition or advancement. After returning to her employer with her PMP credential and improved professional profile, Sarah faced the reality of her employer's biases and preconceptions. She then turned to me for guidance on what to do next.

  • I rewrote Sarah's resume to highlight her PMP credential and experience as a project manager, creating a resume fit for a six-figure salary.
  • I also wrote cover letters for Sarah tailored to three different job interviews.
  • I introduced Sarah to several professional recruiters that he had partnered with, leveraging my network to help her get interviews for new employment.
  • I then worked with Sarah to prepare for all the interviews, going over every detail to ensure she was fully prepared and confident.

I continued to support Sarah throughout her interviewing process. He worked with her to prepare for each round of interviews, providing guidance on how to answer common interview questions and how to effectively highlight her skills and experience. I also helped Sarah negotiate her salary with potential employers, providing valuable insight into industry standards and helping her understand her worth as a PMP-certified project manager. In the end, Sarah was able to secure a new job with a new employer and received a salary increase of over $18,000. My support and guidance proved invaluable in helping Sarah achieve her career goals and take the next step in her professional journey.

If Sarah's story resonates with you, and you too feel overlooked and undervalued in your current organization, please don't hesitate to reach out to me. I am passionate about helping professionals like you gain the recognition and advancement opportunities you deserve. Whether you're looking to pursue a new certification, need guidance on navigating workplace challenges, or want assistance in finding a new job that values your skills and experience, I am here to help. Together, we can develop a plan tailored to your unique situation and goals.

Please contact me today to schedule a complimentary consultation, and let's discuss how I can support you in achieving the career growth and recognition you deserve. Remember, you don't have to face these challenges alone – I am here to help you every step of the way.

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