Advice for Re-entering the Project Management Field

“I am curious if you have any input as to how to re-enter the PM field after an absence. My situation is that I worked in project management at a land development company up until 2006 when I moved into a public sector job.  I’m now looking to get back into project management, but PMI says my experience is too far in the past for the CAPM certification. Any ideas?” , 
Adam from Tucson.

Yes, you’re in a tricky situation. Some thoughts, in no particular order:

  • No experience is required to take the CAPM exam. 23 hours of formal PM training will suffice.
  • Your experience from 2005/06 is too old to use for the PMP exam, where experience must be within the past 8 years.
  • Having the CAPM certification at the top of your resume may beg the question, why don’t you have your PMP? Depending on your strategy, it may be better to avoid certification, talk about your project management strengths and experience, and not draw attention to your lack of PMP.
  • You don’t have to have had the title PM for your experience to count towards the PMP requirement. If you have been involved in managing projects as a part of your current role, that experience could still count – although it may not be enough.
  • Is there a way to gain project management experience in your current role, or a different role within the same organization?
  • You could get some practical PM training (not aimed at certification) including MS Project training, and talk up your familiarity with current best practices, tools etc.
  • Networking at local PMI chapter meetings.
  • Target organizations that don’t know about, or don’t value, PMP certification. There are still many of these.

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