Dear PM Advisor. Nov 11, 2013

Dear PM Advisor, I'm currently unemployed and want to boost my resume to increase my chances of being hired as a Project Manager. The state of New Jersey is offering me money to get some training. Would you suggest taking a training course in Project Management or a PMP prep course?

Novice in Morristown, NJ

Dear Novice,

The two different courses you mention serve two very different purposes. I teach both so I can provide a perspective.

A PMP Prep class will help you memorize the terminology, tools, inputs and outputs, processes and knowledge areas that comprise Project Management accourding to the Project Management Institute, (PMI). While you'll learn a lot of cool stuff, you won't know when to use the tools. More and more companies are asking for the certification so it will look good on your resume.

A course in Project Management will tell you when to use the tools and give you practice in using them. A good course will use all the PMI terminology so there is no confusion when you use the terminology with others. When you're hired as a Project Manager, you will be expected to know these skills.

If you are fortunate, you can take both courses. In that case, take the PM course first and learn how to use the tools, then add those formal training hours to those you need to sit for your PMP test. Then take the PMP prep course, pass the PMP exam and your resume should be ready. You will not only have the certification but the knowledge of how to use the tools.

If you only have money for one or the other, take the PM course. It will help you more in the long run if you know how to use the tools than it will to have the certification but not the knowledge how to use the tools. You can always tell future employers that you are working on your certification. Then take the PMP Prep course later.

Good luck,

PM Advisor

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