02 Aug Becoming a Fellow of the Association for Project Management (FAPM)
Fellowship is the highest level of membership that the Association for Project Management (APM) offers. It’s provided for people who’ve been full Members of the APM for five years or can demonstrate equivalent experience.
This year, I became a Fellow of the APM. Initially, I thought that I may not have enough experience to be a Fellow. I waited until I’d done a lecture on risk and value management for projects at Greenwich University and planned to apply after a book I co-authored was published but I spoke with the Chair of the APM specific interest group I volunteer for (value management) and he advised me that my portfolio was very strong and I should apply. So I collated an application and, within a week of applying, I was one of the youngest female Fellows of the APM. You may be wondering, what did it entail and how can I do the same?
- Send them the completed application form and your portfolio by email or post
- They undertake an initial review to make sure nothing is missing or needs further detail and then they send an email confirmation
- The approval panel takes place and they review your submission
- The panel may contact your referees (who wrote letters of support) or invite you for a professional interview.
- You’re informed of the outcome
The application pack
- There’s a form to populate, which is quite straightforward but lengthy
- The portfolio will take up the bulk of the work
- Include letters of recommendation (two or more)
- If you’re involved in the APM, one of these should be from your Head Office contact
- At least one should be from a Member of the APM
Compiling the application
This can take awhile! Useful sources of information are your CV, LinkedIn profile, performance reviews, membership application for the APM, other professional bodies and more. They are looking for evidence of influence and impact within the profession and commitment to your professional development.
Allow time to dig out your certificates and proof of qualifications. Here are some documents you may want to consider including under the requested categories:
- evidence of practical professional achievement
- professional accolades
- evidence of innovative professional work
- intellectual property rights
- evidence of involvement with professional organisations, including the APM
- partnering with professional organisations
- positions of leadership
- volunteering (particularly with the APM)
- published material in any format
- public speaking engagements
- evidence of research which has been accepted by a university or equivalent body.
You may want to use testimonials to supplement these: I included some feedback from speaking engagements.
Don’t be afraid to bring up modern techniques: they specifically say ‘evidence may be submitted in print, electronic or audio-visual formats’. I included running the Value Management Committee’s Twitter and the short videos for megaproject professionals that I share on YouTube and LinkedIn!
Make it as easy as possible for the Panel to review the content. I sent the submission as a single pdf with a cover page and numbered pages. The contents page had the following elements:
- Cover page
- Application form
- Curriculum vitae
- Personal statement
- Three letters of support
- Eight public speaking engagements
- Six project management videos
- Four qualifications
- Five articles
My submission was on the long side at 34 pages, largely due to including the full texts for my top articles. I later realised that I could have included fewer articles and make reference to the others (including links), so I’d recommend that approach.
Are you applying as a specialist or a general project management practitioner? The APM recognises that there are many supplementary disciplines that are crucial to effective project management and will consider all with substantial experience and impact for the industry. I applied as a risk and value management specialist who focuses on megaprojects.
I couldn’t find many resources on becoming a Fellow but this APM recording was very useful. My natural inclination is to be a ‘corporate robot’, so this is what encouraged me to be open about what the profession means to me and what motivates me to share it with others.
The membership department in the APM are really helpful. When I was considering applying, I contacted them and shared what I’d done to see if they thought I’d have a good chance.