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How can I earn PMP PDUs for free?

Professional development is critical part of everyone’s career, no matter what industry they’re in. Opportunities for professional development have been shown to benefit companies, and have been ranked as more important than pay for millennials.

For people with certain professional designations, the completion of professional development activities is not only helpful, but it’s also necessary to maintain the designation.

Since obtaining the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification in February (and proudly crossed off one of my professional goals for 2018, which I shared in a post from earlier this year), I’ve started to complete the mandatory project management professional development units (PDUs). Completing PDUs allows PMPs to stay relevant as the professional evolves and as needs of employers grow and change. PDUs are educational tools that can come from a variety of in-person, digital and on-demand sources.

Resume, cover letter, job interview, career, public relations, project management, Pencil Skirts & Punctuation, Laine JaremeyThe Project Management Institute (PMI) stipulates that PMPs must complete 60 PDUs every three years to maintain the certification. One hour of training or education equals one PDU. Learn more about the PDU requirements for PMPs at PMI’s website.

One of the things that I noticed when I first started to investigate PDUs is that they can be expensive, which is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it’s important for PMPs to have high-quality and relevant training, and paying to attend an excellent in-person workshop or online course could provide a lot of value. On the other, completing some PDUs at no cost can reduce the overall financial burden of this requirement. It’s up to the PMP to decide which professional development opportunities are worth paying for, and which free opportunities still provide value.

If you’re a PMP, or considering becoming one, and find the costs associated with earning PDUs daunting, check out my suggestions for earning free PDUs below:

  • Listen to podcasts – Podcasts can be listened to at any time and in any place. I’d recommend the Project Management Podcast. It covers a wide variety of project management-related topics, the episodes range in length but are generally not too long, and the host provides a clear roadmap at the beginning of each episode that outlines its learning outcomes. Projectified is another relevant podcast that’s produced by PMI. A tip: Making notes while listening to a podcast provides proof of participation in case a PDU claim is audited.
  • Read – PMPs can earn PDUs for reading articles, blog posts and books. Picking reading subjects based on the areas for improvement indicated in the PMP exam results, or focusing on a specific area of the PMI Talent Triangle, can allow PMPs to advance where they need to most. This activity is great because one PDU is earned for each hour spent reading, so a lot of PDUs can be banked by the time a book is finished. Where can free reading materials be found? Local libraries are good sources for books. For example, check out some options based on the search results for “strategic project management” at the Toronto Public Library. Or, many blog posts, articles and white papers can be accessed for free. Again, making notes while reading can provide proof to PMI in a PDU audit that the claim is valid.

Woman reading in chair

  • Watch webinars – PMPs can log-in to Projectmanagement.com using their PMI credentials for access to live and on-demand webinars. The webinars can be searched based on the PMI Talent Triangle area, webinar length and other keywords. I’m a big fan of the on-demand webinars because I can access them outside of business hours when it’s most convenient for me, since many live webinars run during the work day.
  • Participate in online symposia – Projectmanagement.com offers full-day virtual symposia throughout the year, which allow PMPs to hear from experts in the field while earning PDUs. For example, I participated in the annual PMXPO in March 2018 (check out the agenda here). This full day of live webinars allowed me to earn 6.5 PDUs, and I had on-demand access to the presentations after the event in case any sessions were missed so that I could earn all of the PDUs being offered. The upcoming PMI Talent and Technology Symposium that takes place on June 13 gives PMPs the opportunity to earn 6 PDUs.
  • Work in the field – Many PMPs are already working as project managers for some portion of their day jobs, so they can get credit for something they’re already doing! PMPs can document and submit descriptions of up to eight hours of project management-related work for up to eight PDUs.
  • Give back – This category of PDUs captures the time spent teaching or mentoring others on project management. It also includes creating or delivering project management-related content, like webinars, presentations, or even blog posts (like this one!), to help further the education of others in the field.

What other free PDUs do you recommend for PMPs? Share your suggestions in the comments.

Photo credits: PMI.org; Pixabay.com.

Resume, cover letter, job interview, career, public relations, project management, Pencil Skirts & Punctuation, Laine Jaremey

Canadians can now Google their ways to new jobs

Last year I reported on one of Google’s new search features for people seeking a new job: Google for Jobs. At the time, this tool was being piloted in the U.S., while Canadians were awaiting a launch within our borders.

Google’s job search functionality is now available in Canada.

What’s it like? For the purposes of this post, I did a quick search of communications jobs in my area, and really liked what I saw. The search results loaded quickly and were easy to review. I liked that there were tags listed across the navigation bar at the top of the page to filter the results, and the option to turn on email alerts for new postings under the search terms. Check out what the results looked like below.

Resume, cover letter, job interview, career, public relations, project management, Pencil Skirts & Punctuation, Laine Jaremey

Not stopping there, on April 26, Google announced a $1 million investment into a new platform, called the Employment Pathway Platform (EPP), which will provide even more search capabilities for Canadians looking for jobs. It will search based on commute distance, ability to work from home, industry, title and time commitment. What’s also cool is that this new platform will be the result of a partnership with Toronto’s MaRS innovation hub, and my company is located in the MaRS Centre (pictured below).

MaRS Centre West Tower

Once it launches, the new platform’s users can obtain a skills assessment, find jobs that match with current abilities and skills, and get information on courses that can help users build their skill sets.

This technology will help job searchers adapt to how the workplace is evolving. From automation to artificial intelligence, jobs today are changing at a rapid pace, and will continue to in the future.

This means that workers (including me!) must be open to continual learning and training opportunities to stay efficient, effective and competitive in the workplace. In fact, according to Inc.com, 91 per cent of the respondents of one survey said that the most successful employees are the ones who can adapt to the changing workplace.

Fortunately, the EPP will “pull together data skills and training options from multiple sources and then analyze a user’s existing skills and employment preferences against this.” Having data that will contribute to skills-building is definitely a perk for users of the future service.

The new platform that will result from the Google/MaRS partnership and investment is expected to launch next year. I’m excited to hear more about the new platform as things move ahead.

Do you think you’ll try the new platform once it’s available?

Image credits: Reuters; Erin Sugar.

Resume, cover letter, job interview, career, public relations, project management, Pencil Skirts & Punctuation, Laine Jaremey

Is it time for a change?

Have you ever made a change in your career?

Resume, cover letter, job interview, career, public relations, project management, Pencil Skirts & Punctuation, Laine JaremeyWhether it was from one job to another, from one industry to completely different one, or a change in the patterns of how you work and lead others on a day-to-day basis, a career change is a big transition. But, have you ever thought about how when you make these types of changes can impact your success?

I was inspired to think about how I would respond to this question myself after reading the March 2018 issue of ELLE Canada. In an article called “Say When,” journalist Sarah Liang reports on a new book called When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, by Daniel Pink. This book covers the scientific research linking the timing of decisions and their outcomes.

Let’s reflect on the title of this post: “Is it time for a change?” There’s more to making a decision than simply going with your intuition or what you feel comfortable doing. Be strategic. The timing of changes or other important milestones in your career can have long-lasting impacts.

“The secret to success is actually getting strategic with the game-changing “whens” of your working life, from major pivot points to the minutiae of the daily nine-to-five.” – Sarah Liang, ELLE Canada.

When does timing make an impact on a career, according to the article? There are four times to consider.

  1. On your mark, get set, go! Although people often can’t control it, when you start your first job can mean boom or bust for your career. The research tells us that those who graduate university in years with high unemployment earn 2.5 per cent less than peers when the rate was low, even 15 years into your career.
  2. All good things come to an end. I’ve heard that it’s important to stay in a role for three-to-five years to give you an opportunity to evolve in the job, and to also appeal to potential future employers who might be reviewing your resume or career history. The article reports that being in a role for three-to-five years is a prime time to seek a boost in position or pay at a new job.
  3. Can’t get you out of my head. You may find yourself thinking about getting a new job or changing careers at certain times of the day or the year. Things like energy ebbs and flows during the day, holidays throughout the year, or even your work anniversary may trigger thinking about moving on to something new.
  4. Like a boss. Good leaders do things like respond to their team members’ emails in a timely manner, and schedule review meetings in the mornings when staff are generally more alert.

It’s clear that looking at the bigger picture in terms of the timing of your career as a whole when making decisions has an impact on both the big and small things, affecting overall success.

How has timing impacted your career? What other milestones or moments make an impact? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Image credits: Elle Canada; Pixabay.com.

When will equal work = equal pay?

No matter what women have on their resume or how well they do in a job interview, chances are they won’t get paid the same as their male counterparts when they get the job. In Canada, a woman earns 74 cents for each $1 earned by a man.

If you think that there are extenuating circumstances that result in this disparity, like women working part-time more often, women putting their careers on the back burner to raise a family, or women accepting lower-paying jobs more often, not so fast! These are just some of the myths that lead people to believe that the gender-based gap in pay isn’t real.

The fact is that women don’t get paid the same as men for the same work.

From the perspective of a woman in the workforce, I find this both discouraging and frustrating.

60 Minutes screen shotHowever, a recent 60 Minutes episode has shed light on what’s being done about this issue. It featured a corporation that has recognized the pay gap and its strong leadership is contributing to the fight against it.

In this segment, 60 Minutes interviewed Mark Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, a company that offers customer relationship management software. He discussed how his company is prioritizing pay equality.

As a company that’s been named as one of the best places to work, Benioff expected that the pay gap wouldn’t exist at Salesforce. He decided to execute an organization-wide audit of positions and salaries based on gender to uncover the truth. Benioff admitted that he was surprised when the audit revealed that gender-based pay disparities did, in fact, exist there.

What happened next makes this story notable: Benioff acted on the results and fixed the problem. He revealed that in one year, resolving the issue cost the company $3 million (USD). I’m assuming that when he took this action, he was considering the advice of Salesforce’s human resources executive working on the project (notably, a woman), who advised him that if the audit revealed an issue, the results couldn’t be simply read and filed away – they would need to act to correct them to keep the company’s integrity  intact.

Benioff also noted that he recalled sitting in meetings with high-level folks in his organization, and noticing that the room was filled with exclusively men. He remarked that this practice had to stop, and moving forward, wanted to see women involved in every meeting, proactively giving women the opportunity to bring their perspectives, ideas and approaches to the table when it mattered.

Woman leading a meeting

Once his eyes were opened to issues with gender-based pay at Salesforce, Benioff has described pay equality as one of the big social issues that he’s gotten behind, and has started to spread the word. Other recent social media-based events, one of the more well-known ones being #EqualPayDay on April 10, are also helping to get the truth out and debunk the myths.

Why does spreading the word matter? In the 60 Minutes interview, Benioff said he believes that ending gender-based disparity in pay is one of the doors to gender equality, at the same level of importance as having equal opportunities and being free from harassment.

I’m inclined to agree with him.

What are your thoughts on Salesforce’s move toward implementing equal pay for equal work? Has the leadership in your workplace addressed this issue? Share in the comments.

Image credits: Pixabay.com; CBS News.

Resume, cover letter, job interview, career, public relations, project management, Pencil Skirts & Punctuation, Laine Jaremey
Quote

New year, new goals, new you

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, for many of us, the start of a new year is the time to take on resolutions to change ourselves for the better.

At the start of a new year, I like to reflect on my goals and check-in on where I’m at with them. A rule of thumb for me is:

“Write down two personal, two business and two health goals for the next 1, 5 and 10 years. Do this four times a year. Goal setting triggers your subconscious computer.” – Lululemon mantra

This mantra works well for me because it reiterates the importance of having different goals across the different facets of life, and over different time ranges. Writing your goals down is also very effective at helping you stick to them – even billionaire Richard Branson agrees! I also love that it acknowledges that goals can change based on the different circumstances that you face when you check-in on them, even if you haven’t achieved them yet – and that’s okay!

Resume, cover letter, job interview, career, public relations, project management, Pencil Skirts & Punctuation, Laine Jaremey

Although it’s January 3 and I should probably have fleshed out more of my 2018 resolutions, I’ve so far only focused on setting professional goals for the year. To keep me accountable, I’ll share them (in writing!) here. This year, I’m going to step outside of my comfort zone as a communications professional and expand my skill set in other related areas that aren’t categorically “PR”. I’ll be honing my graphic design skills and further advancing my project management knowledge.

What are your 2018 goals? Do you jot your goals down and check on them often to keep yourself on track? Share in the comments.

Image credits: Pixabay.com, Laine Jaremey.

 

Resume, cover letter, job interview, career, public relations, project management, Pencil Skirts & Punctuation, Laine Jaremey

Free career resources from the Toronto Public Library

“The best things in life are free.”

If you have a Toronto Public Library (TPL) card, this saying is true when it comes to ways to boost your career.

TPL provides access to helpful resources for searching for a job, refining your resume, and updating your skills and knowledge.

Career-related workshops

The fall 2017 edition of TPL’s What’s On publication lists some career and resume-focused sessions at library branches. They cover:

  • An introduction to LinkedIn
  • Job market opportunities
  • Resume writing and critiquing
  • Improving interview skills
  • Networking and job search tactics for newcomers to Canada

resources

Online education at lynda.com

LyndaTPL card holders have access to lynda.com for free. Lynda.com provides “over 3,500 video tutorial courses led by experts on web design, software development, photography, business skills, home and small office, project management, 3D + Animation, graphic design audio, music, video editing and more.” This perk gets you a Premium monthly membership, which has a value of $29.99 per month.

Completing courses at lynda.com can increase your knowledge of tasks you’re doing on-the-job or that you’re curious about, impress your boss, and boost your resume or LinkedIn profile.

Need a library card?

September is National Library Card Sign-Up Month, so there’s no better time to get or renew your card. Further to the TPL resources listed above, the other benefits of having a library card are numerous. You can get a TPL card if you live, work, go to school or own property in Toronto. Learn more about getting a card here.

Image credits: Laine Jaremey; Lynda.com.

Resume, cover letter, job interview, career, public relations, project management, Pencil Skirts & Punctuation, Laine Jaremey

Like motivational podcasts? Which do you recommend?

It’s safe to say that I adore to listening to podcasts. Any and all types! I usually have them on in the background while I’m at work, doing chores around the house or commuting, and have even listened to them while at the gym.

Over the past few weeks, I spent some time on the dock at the cottage (check out a photo of my view below!) and enjoyed hearing new stories and perspectives from podcasts as I relaxed in the sunshine.

Unknown-1

While one the dock, I got hooked on the genre of motivational podcasts. They generally cover increasing your productivity, thinking differently and transforming yourself for the better, both personally and professionally. Some feature interviews with experts, business people and even celebrities who provide valuable viewpoints, information and tips in an easy-to-digest format.

My go-to shows at the moment are the Tim Ferriss Show, the Tony Robbins Podcast and the School of Greatness with Lewis Howes.

That said, it can be ear-opening to listen to episodes of new shows that I haven’t heard before. What motivational podcasts do you recommend? Please share your suggestion(s) in the comments below!

Image credits: Pixabay.com; Laine Jaremey; Apple Podcasts.