Practical steps to achieve APM Fellowship

Save for later



The most significant changes in our professional and private lives start with small steps. Step by step, with genuine acceptance and encouragement, we edge closer to full confidence. As a self-employed project management professional, I feel mindful and powerful to take on the most challenging technology and regulatory transformations; I brim with confidence and excitement as I start new projects. Yet, I felt recognition belonged to others until a frosty morning in November 2018 when I thought about applying for the APM Fellowship, the highest level of membership. The APM Fellowship grants recognition to project management professionals that aim to shape and make significant contributions to the project profession. So what are the steps you need to take? Here’s what worked for me.

I knew the process would take some time, but I thought, ‘there’s no time like the present’ and proactively decided to take the first step on the journey, which has been rewarding and worthwhile. The Association for Project Management (APM) make it really straightforward, and I started with a phone call to find out what I need to do and gather to make my application. Then, the planning began, and trust me on this, I am a professional planner after all.

It takes time to compile the application as there are various things that are needed. To ensure success, I submitted a comprehensive application pack deliverable:

  1. Application form (also provided as a separate form)
  2. Curriculum Vitae
  3. Personal statement
  4. Other evidence
  5. Letters of support

There is a wealth of information available so that I able to organise my application which needed to demonstrate the criteria for Fellowship has been fulfilled. As I was contracting full time, it took a few months to compile my application. What preceded were years of practical experiences, knowledge accumulation, speaker engagements (IPMA international and UK based), published blog posts, and volunteering. I knew the approval panel would be independently reviewing my submission, looking for strong evidence of influence, impact and professional commitment so it was vital to highlight this.

My application included various pieces of information and evidence to meet the criteria of the application process:

  • evidence of professional involvement, memberships and volunteering with the APM Scotland branch;
  • evidence of practical professional achievement and positions of leadership as stated in my CV, several LinkedIn recommendations and supported written confirmation by my sponsors;
  • professional qualifications certificates such as PRINCE2 and Management of Risk Practitioner for evidence to support my CV and demonstrate my experience;
  • active contributions and partnering with professional organisations such as Woman in Banking and Finance (WIBF), and Women on Boards (WOB);
  • published material in various formats such as articles, books, research papers, podcasts, blogs and videos to demonstrate my involvement in advancing the knowledge of project management;
  • video evidence of my speaking engagements in the UK with APM Scotland, APM PMO SIG conference, various PMO Flashmob events, and IPMA Croatia SENET events; and
  • proof of innovative and collaborative professional work in technology and regulatory.

I then organised all of this into the application pack. As a consultant and project professional I appreciate information that’s neatly presented; it makes any document easier to read so I made sure my lengthy personal statement had clear sections with consistent style, clear titles, visual graphs, screenshots of social media, photos and numbered pages. There’s a lot of information to cover, so implementing this in an application pack makes for smoother consumption by readers.

I contacted my colleagues to obtain statements of support and was ready to take the next step, submitting the application. The APM membership team completed initial reviews to ensure everything was in order. Then the highlight of my career and professional achievements happened in March 2019 as I was awarded Fellowship (FAPM). I am glad I invested time wisely by applying and the recognition and confidence I feel as a project management professional has grown ever since.

The impact of project professionals in our ever-changing and transforming world deserves recognition so I hope you realise your value and feel empowered to believe in your dreams and take the next steps. What are your career goals and aspirations, and do you want to celebrate and recognise your achievements as a project professional? Have you considered applying for APM Fellowship?

Further resources

Image: MJgraphics/

Sunchana Johnston

Posted by Sunchana Johnston on 20th Jan 2020

About the Author

Experienced Independent Director and Fellow of the Association for Project Management - relentlessly advocating innovation & professionalism in project management, strategic planning, corporate governance, risk, project management, technology and business change, now actively seeking a non-executive role.

Author & international technical bilingual motivational speaker, experienced mentor and coach.

Fully qualified delivery oriented senior project/programme/portfolio management consultant. BREXIT PMO delivery.  AGILE coach & mentor, an expert user of MS Project & JIRA.  Fully certified Sarbanes-Oxley Expert (CSOE), Managing Successful Programmes, PRINCE2 Practitioner, P3M, Management of Risk, Agile and P3O Practitioner.  Committee member of APM Scotland & Women In Banking & Finance (WIBF), WOB, and WIPM volunteer.

Product knowledge:
Consolidated P30 planning, governance and risk management.
BREXIT business & technology transformations.
Portfolio management of a £1.2 billion financial services banking portfolio.
Strategic planning of a £2 billion capital investment programme.

Comments on this site are moderated. Please allow up to 24 hours for your comment to be published on this site. Thank you for adding your comment.

{{item.AuthorName}} {{item.AuthorName}} says on {{item.DateFormattedString}}:

Join APM

Sign up to the APM Newsletter.