Are you a member of your local PMI Chapter? I have been on and off for a few years now and there are a number of benefits that make it worthwhile. If you are thinking about expanding your skills during 2015 then getting involved in your local Chapter could be a great step forward for you. Here are some of the ways that they can support your in your career goals over the year.
If you want to get into project management but don’t have a great deal of experience then volunteering for a project-based organisation like PMI is a good step in the right direction. You can get involved project managing some of the events that the Chapter holds. They might even run a scheme where you can work with local schools or businesses providing volunteer project managers. It’s an easy way to get project experience without having to do it as part of your job. You won’t get paid but you will get the experience that can go on your CV and also count towards the professional requirements for qualifications.
If you are already a PMP® or hold another PMI credential, then it won’t have escaped you that you’ll need to get professional development units (PDUs) and record them as part of the continuing certification scheme.
Your Chapter can help you gain PDUs through the events they hold. Even your volunteer experience hours can count towards your PDU total so record everything you do with the Chapter – it will all help you somewhere along the line.
One of the main benefits of being a Chapter member is the events that they hold. This is good if you live or work in a large metro area where there are local events. But if you commute or work from home, getting to events isn’t always that easy.
More and more Chapters are offering options for people who aren’t in the big metro centers, such as joining online webinars or attending events virtually via web recordings in real-time or watching recordings after the event. These may be only available to members (which is where the benefit of joining comes from).
Chapters attract high-quality speakers and many of them hold their own annual conferences in conjunction with universities or local businesses.
It’s almost impossible to underestimate the benefit of networking that being with a group of like-minded people brings. I always leave events feeling a renewed sense of achievement and possibility. I love that I can mix with people who have the same problems as I do and who use the same tools to get things resolved at work. I come away with ideas and a buzz that reaffirms my love for project management.
Plus, it never hurts to have a network of people in ‘real-life’ instead of only online that you can turn to when you are job hunting or have a recruitment need to fill at work.
Many Chapters offer training courses, either as a short course or a longer event and often around PMP study to help get members through the exam. This could be classroom-based, self-study or by partnering up people at similar points in their careers and learning journeys to be study buddies during the exam preparation process.
Your Chapter may also have someone who can help you with the application process for PMP and other credentials, and if you have known the people long enough they could also act as references.
Some events will still be chargeable but members get a discount. Being part of your local Chapter could also get you discounts on other things like PMP training courses or local project management events, so it is always worth asking what your Chapter management team have managed to negotiate on your behalf.