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TOPIC: PMP in Non-profit world. Is it worth it? I’m losing hope

PMP in Non-profit world. Is it worth it? I’m losing hope 4 years 1 day ago #18660

  • Eric Heimbecker
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Hello all!

I’ve been running federal economic development grants for the last five years and would like to move up with a better organization. I already have an MBA and some great prior private sector experience which has helped me get to the final round of interviews many times. I need the extra push though so I have been working on the PMP. A series of higher-priority events diverted my time/attention for two months and I am finding it hard to get back to the last few chapters. Is the PMP worthwhile in the non-profit world? I am worried I am putting energy in the wrong area. I have only met one other PMP here (in a god job for sure). Anyone also from non-profit? Advice would be much appreciated!!!!
The following user(s) said Thank You: A Khan

PMP in Non-profit world. Is it worth it? I’m losing hope 3 years 10 months ago #18954

  • Lisa Sweeney PMP
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Hi Eric,

Is it worth it? Yes
Is it a hard test? Yes
Can you do it? Yes Yes Yes

For me, it was painful at first. Just like a gut punch. I was never fully confident I would pass, even on THE test day.

I wanted to score around 70% on my simulated exams, which I finally was able to do, so I decided I was ready.

1. Consider this test taking strategy that was CRITICAL for me to pass the exam:
On my first pass through the exam, I automatically skipped all questions that were more than 2 sentences or had any calculations. The shorter the better. My exam did have a number of short questions with just 1 or 2 sentences. If a question had more than 2 sentences, I didn’t Flag for Review, I just selected Next. I practiced this strategy on all 8 simulated exams I took. This technique made a huge difference in my test score because of PMI’s inclusion of “experimental questions”– 25 long, vague ones that are not counted towards your score. You have to practice this, however, because on THE day, you may get swept up in reading all questions in the first pass.

Why it works: Let’s say you answer 50 questions on your first pass through the exam. If it takes you 2-3 seconds each question to count the number of sentences and click Next, you only lose 5-7 minutes with this strategy. Remember, the computer’s response time was lightning fast – no pauses between clicks.

After the first pass, I started to tackle the 3+ sentence and calculation questions. I was banking on the probability that the unscored, “experimental questions” were in this second group of longer, more vague questions. If they were particularly ambiguous or lengthy, I skipped them again. I Flagged for Review questions that I answered, but felt there was more than 1 good choice.

2. Finally, here are a couple of links to an interview that Cornelius did with Marie Sharp, MBA, PMP. She has worked in the nonprofit sector and highly recommends a PMP credential.
Episode 421: Maximize Career Advancement with Project Management Training
Maximize Career Advancement with Project Management Training: Interview with GGU’s Marie Spark, PMP®

Hang in there, Eric. We’re rooting for you!

PMP in Non-profit world. Is it worth it? I’m losing hope 3 years 10 months ago #18961

  • Harry Elston
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I will comment only from my personal experiences. As a scientific consultant, I am not a "professional project manager," but I must manage projects professionally. Additionally, I am a "newly-minted" PMP, although I have been interacting with project managers and managing projects for well on 25 years.

First and foremost, "No education of any kind is ever wasted." Make no mistake, studying for and successfully passing the PMP exam is an education in and of itself. As a more technically oriented individual, I found the material and rubric areas of the PMP exam to be extremely challenging. It was a very "right-brained" exam for me and I found the PMI-testing method maddening. It was very much like learning a new language. However, I found in a very short time from the time I started studying for the PMP, I was interacting with other project managers in a different way - I was speaking their language and we were communicating much more precisely and efficiently.

Moreover, studying the PMBOK guide and other resources in preparation for the exam taught me how using professional project management techniques will help assure success of projects that I run for clients; and as they say in business, "Success begets success."

I would strongly encourage you to pursue certification.

Best of luck!
Harry J. Elston, Ph.D., CIH, PMP

PMP in Non-profit world. Is it worth it? I’m losing hope 3 years 10 months ago #19125

  • Anonymous
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A nonprofit PMP here. Got my certification in 2015 and, honestly, it has transformed my career. I've given some trainings at conferences and found that project management is a really hot topic within the sector. A PMP would make you stand out for sure. Stick with it!

PMP in Non-profit world. Is it worth it? I’m losing hope 3 years 9 months ago #19384

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Thanks for the encouragement! It is good to hear from someone in the same field. I am back on track and almost finished the materials (I am using the PMP Prepcast, Rita's book and the PMBOK). I hope to take the exam in March!
Moderators: Yolanda MabutasMary Kathrine PaduaJohn Paul BugarinHarry ElstonKyle Kilbride, PMPJean KwandaDaniel Soerensen

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