The problem with most of us is a lack of time, but in this job market, where you never know when you will be looking for work, you need to make your resume as impressive as possible. Even if you don’t currently have a certification in Project Management, you can still gain experience in project management through volunteer activities. There are several ways to gain this experience.
One of the most effective I have found is by finding a local chapter of Project Management Institute (PMI) and volunteering for either helping with a single short term effort or volunteering for a larger role, such as a Director position. Generally, these positions take less than three hours per week, but in exchange, you gain actual experience in project management and earn PDU’s – which will be required for certification or recertification. The regular meetings for the local chapters of PMI are a great way to network with others in the industry and the meetings provide valuable educational presentations.
Another method is through volunteering for leadership roles in other non-profit organizations, such as Habitat for Humanity, Boys and Girls Club, The American Red Cross, etc. If you are not sure of which organization would be best for you, I suggest that you check out VolunteerMatch.org, where you can find other organizations that are looking for volunteers in your area. As you choose your volunteer/leadership assignments, you should not just throw yourself into the work, you should stop and ensure that you are following project management techniques that will help you not only succeed in your project, but will highlight how much you have succeeded – through capturing metrics for success and will provide the support for your experience.