Highlight Your Work in a PMP Portfolio

A part of practicing Project Management can be considered a form of Art. Managing the politics, emotions, and hidden agendas that are typically associated with projects requires judgment, discretion, and discernment. How you manage these situations is an expression of yourself and your view of the world. Like all good artists, you should have a Portfolio that showcases your talents.

Why a PMP Portfolio is Important

First, what is a PMP Portfolio? A PMP Portfolio is a bound book that is categorically broken down into project management phases or functional areas. Each section of the book includes samples of your work (schedules, plans, reports, charts) and sections on your professional affiliations and the results of your efforts.

A PMP Portfolio is important because you need to do everything you can to differentiate yourself in today’s competitive marketplace. The typical job candidate will bring in a copy of their resume and possibly some references. The atypical job candidate (you), will bring a resume, references, and a substantial body of work that showcases and highlights your skills and talents. What a difference!

What Should Your Portfolio Include?

You should include anything that highlights how you and your project team broke through a particularly challenging situation, kept a project on track, was a new approach to an old problem, or was just a great story to tell.

Do not underestimate yourself. You complete and produce things every day that are imprinted with your unique approach to Project Management. You have figured out things that others have not even contemplated. Think about what those are and include them in your PMP Portfolio.

How to Put It Together

There are two approaches to categorizing your PMP Portfolio:

  • Phase-centric: This is a high-level approach to categorizing your work. For example, you could use the Initiate, Plan, Execute, Control, and Close phases outlined in the PMBOK. This is a good approach to take if you are talking to larger companies with formal structure and processes already in place. A sample template for a Phase-centric Index is included in the right sidebar under Resources.
  • Function-centric: This is a more granular approach to categorizing your work. For example, you could use the knowledge areas (Scope, Time, Quality Management, etc.) as outlined in the PMBOK. This is a good approach to take if you are talking to companies that expect their employees to wear many hats or are just beginning to implement processes within their organization. A sample template for a Function-centric Index is included in the right sidebar under Resources.

You should also include a section about your Professional Affiliations and Results. The Affiliations section is where you include a copy of your PMP Certification document, volunteer project management activities, and other documents that show you are a serious practitioner of project management. The Results section ties everything together and includes testimonials from satisfied former employers and clients and anything else that objectively quantifies the value of your services.

How to Present Your PMP Portfolio

The best way to present your PMP Portfolio is to ask the interviewer if they would like to see examples of your work. Open your portfolio to the Index Page (see Resources in the right sidebar for sample Index Page templates), let them know how it is organized and ask them if there if there is a particular place they would like you to start. Then:

  • Tell a Story – Each document in your portfolio should invoke a compelling story about the problem, solution and result.
  • Do Not Get Bogged Down – It is not necessary to recount every detail to the point that the interviewer’s eyes glaze over.
  • Stop Talking – You could go on for hours about what you do and go through every page. This is not necessary and will be counterproductive. The fact that you care enough about your career to assemble a Portfolio and bring it with you speaks volumes without one word being spoken.

A few additional reminders: Do not leave a copy of your Portfolio behind. Do not include proprietary and confidential information from other companies, and do not include things you did not do or were not responsible for producing. All of these activities will backfire on you in the long run.

So, view what you do as Art and realize that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Once a potential employer or client beholds your PMP Portfolio with your project management artwork, the results can be amazing.

Resources

You can access your FREE Templates from the CUSTOMER REWARDS section of your PDUs2Go.com account

Below are Templates you can use as a starting point for your PMP Portfolio Index Page. These are based upon the PMBOK Phases and Knowledge Areas. Even if you do not have experience in all areas, you can customize these templates to reflect your unique set of experiences.

Index by Phase
High-level approach to showcasing your experience. Works with Avery 11132, 11133, 11163, and 11168 Eight-tab Index.

Index by Function
Granular approach to showcasing your experience. Works with Avery 11135, 11165, and 11169 Ten-tab Index.


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