Qualifications to help you stand out from the crowd in the Projects job market

Mark Astbury 05.04.2016

In the first quarter of this year we have seen the job market to be somewhat stagnant. Whilst this is frustrating for both recruiters and candidates alike, seeking a competitive edge can help your chances of securing a role.

Below are a number of different options that can help you stand out in a tough job market and the benefits of gaining qualifications can do for your career. Investing in yourself now can pay dividends for your job search in the future.

Lean Six Sigma

The application of Lean Six Sigma allows quality and efficiency improvements to be effectively realised. The focus of Lean is about speed, efficiency and taking waste out of a process. Six Sigma focuses on effectiveness and removal of errors. When combined and implemented properly it can be a powerful management tool that can greatly improve an organisation’s performance, by providing a structured approach to resolving problems. Lean Six Sigma can help you to bring about rapid improvements.

In the current economic climate, businesses are always looking at ways that they can save money. Having the Lean Six Sigma accreditation will help you stand out to employers as it shows you have the underlying knowledge required to help streamline and consolidate processes. This qualification is best suited to those working within the Business Process and Process Re-Engineering environments.

MBA

An MBA is a very useful tool to help you stand out. Below is a summary as to what an MBA qualification can do for you.

Better career opportunities

Graduates of an MBA programme have, due to their qualification, higher chances of obtaining and holding a high level management position. It is estimated that 70% of the MBA graduates worldwide are senior managers or board directors. This type of position brings along a higher salary but of course also a higher responsibility and longer working hours.

Consolidated business network

As an MBA student you have great networking opportunities. Through this type of study you get to know and interact in a relevant manner (in a context that accentuates your business management capabilities) with colleagues (future high level managers), professors and teaching staff (usually former or current potent business people, with great on-field experience). Furthermore if you are not doing a part-time MBA next to your job or within your company you have good chances to meet potential employers through the various internships that are part of most top MBA programme. Last but not least you gain access to the extensive alumni network of that particular MBA programme and of others (professionals with key positions to whom you already have a direct link through the MBA education you possess). This extensive, well consolidate business network is bound to pay off throughout your whole career making you the first-hand recipient of all relevant information in the field and giving you better chances at seizing the best opportunities.

Holistic perspective over the business world

As mentioned before, through studying an MBA you become part of a great network of professionals and companies and you constantly challenge yourself with the newest problem-solving. These things together give you a great overview of the business world, a deep understanding and a certain receptiveness to the slight changes of this environment. This type of overview and sensitivity is very hard to achieve without spending a lot of time on it. Also, as regular employee, your access will be restricted to much of the relevant information. As an MBA student or graduate this insight comes with the territory and is a great asset, not only to you as a manager, but also to any potential employer.

Whether you wish to further your current career by advancing in a leadership position, or you want to pursue a new career, an MBA is definitely going to boost your chances of achieving these goals. By improving your network, you may hear about job opportunities that are not being advertised on the market. An MBA is best suited to those wishing to move into Project Management and Programme Manager/Director roles.

PMP (Project Management Professional)

Project Management Professional (PMP) is an internationally recognised professional designation offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI). Government, commercial and other organizations employ PMP certified project managers in an attempt to improve the success rate of projects in all areas of knowledge, by applying a standardized and evolving set of project management principles as contained in PMI's PMBOK Guide.

Again having this type of qualification makes you an appealing prospect to employers as often the success and / or failure of the project has an effect on business performance. Someone with a PMP qualification and experience is more likely to stand out to a potential employer. After all, businesses are also looking for ways to minimise risk!

Prince 2

The Prince 2 is widely recognised and understood and so provides a common vocabulary for all those involved in a project, which helps effective communication. The method also provides for the explicit recognition of project responsibilities so that participants understand each other's roles and needs. There is a defined structure for accountability, delegation, authority and communication.

PRINCE2 is compatible with all other project management qualifications as it provides the technical structure of the framework for the project, which will complement the softer skills learnt on other qualifications.

There are three levels of PRINCE2 qualification: Foundation, Practitioner and Professional, which are aimed at project managers and those who are involved throughout planning and delivering projects. These three qualifications examine the PRINCE2 methodology in increasing depth and offer individuals and organizations the ability to implement PRINCE2 to suit their specific needs.

A Prince 2 qualification is best suited to those looking to move into the Project Management arena or for existing Project Manager’s looking to enhance their knowledge and have a readymade framework that is widely used.

Whichever route you choose, investing in a professional qualification will do you no harm in adding value to your CV. As we see the market picking up in Q2 and Q3 of this year, an extra element to your CV could make all the difference between securing a role and being the second choice candidate.

For any help and guidance on which qualification is best suited to you, please get in touch with myself or the team at Morgan McKinley to look at your CV in depth to help you best decide the career path to take.

Mark Astbury's picture
Associate Director
mastbury@morganmckinley.com

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