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How to Kick Start Your Project Management Career

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Project management is a rewarding, challenging career with high job satisfaction and a good salary. People from all backgrounds are attracted to this profession.

Discover how you can get ahead in project management, and let us show you some of our best Project Mangers tips and tricks.

Introduction

One of the most popular ways to get ahead in project management is by getting certified. But what are the benefits of project management professional certification? What do employers often look for when hiring a project manager? What kind of career advice is available to unemployed professionals interested in the industry?

Whether you’re just getting started in the industry, are looking for a new challenge in your current project management career, or are actively searching for a job, read on to learn what you need to know!

What is a Project Manager?

  • Projects happen everywhere.

Project managers are found in all different industries, and they are the ones that plan, coordinate, and execute projects. They need to predict what is coming up next and understand the value of what they are doing. They also must know when to focus on one thing or another.

Project managers need to be able to work with others. They need to have good communication and build trust with their colleagues and stakeholders. Skills they need are planning, budgeting, risk analysis, and reporting.

  • Growing profession

Organizations face many global pressures, but project management is one of the most important as more and more individuals choose it for their careers.

Projects allow organizations to adapt to a changing world and succeed. You will find project management opportunities in every industry, and it’s a quickly growing profession too.

According to the Project Management Institute (PMI), PMI will create 20 million new project management career jobs globally across seven industries [1]. That means there are great opportunities for those with the right skills to enter the field.

What makes a Project Manager Great?

  • Soft skills

A good project manager is a team player who can make others want to work with them. They are often very charismatic, and their most important job is making sure the people they work with are happy.

To motivate your colleagues while steering the project to a successful conclusion, courses such as management skills, team leading and managing conflict could prove invaluable.

Suppose a project manager does not have good interpersonal skills. In that case, the lack of clear communication and openness to others will lead to distrust in the team, ultimately jeopardizing the work on a project.

  • Adaptable

PMs need to be able to work in various environments, but this is especially true if they are brought in from outside the company. The employer needs to consider whether each candidate’s qualities match their organization’s culture. The importance and qualifications of PMs are often seen as being equal to those of a different profession.

It’s important to remember that stakeholders in a project will be from various departments. Different departments have different work styles and are also subject to existing chains of command.

Project managers need to establish relationships with senior managers to help deliver the needed changes.

  • Communication

Effective communication skills are necessary, and they’re also the first characteristic of great project managers we mention:

  1. Communication – be as specific as possible when requesting information from team members on a project, especially when working with different departments.
  2. Leadership – Managing projects requires leading people.
  3. Organization – Being a project manager requires constant focus and a structured approach to balance the many demands on your time.
  4. Confidence – An organization must assign responsibility for a project to the appropriate people. Being strategic and confident in your decisions will help you be credible to those around you.
  5. Decisiveness – It is necessary to judge when to act to keep a project on time, budget, and schedule.

There are many helpful talents and traits, but the ones above are essential. Project managers can learn skills such as budgeting and planning, but it’s everything else that makes management of the project so hard.

Starting your Project Management Career

The current economic climate has a lot of influence over businesses’ decisions about whether to undertake projects, and that’s why employment opportunities in project management are competitive. If you want to succeed in this difficult industry, you need to demonstrate an understanding early on.

  • Volunteering

To increase your chances of success in the workplace, start to build strong interpersonal and organizational skills by getting involved with small projects and new initiatives.

  • Achievements

If you are thinking about a career in project management, think carefully about how your experience from both personal and professional life could be an asset. Many aspects of everyday life can be applicable to project management. Communicating skills, for example.

  • Training

If you have had experience in leadership, taking charge of situations or coordinating a series of activities, this will be an asset. It would help if you also thought about getting some training to help you supplement your work experience.

One of the benefits of taking project management courses is that it helps you understand how businesses work and can help you make better decisions.

How do Professional Qualifications Help?

Professional certification shows employers you have project management knowledge. It is important because many organizations now adopt project management methodologies such as PRINCE2.

There are many professional project management certifications out there. Let’s now look at the different types of certifications and how to decide which one is best for you.

Types of project management qualifications
project-management-qualification

Project management qualifications fit into two categories:

  1. Knowledge-based: These require candidates to show their knowledge by passing exams.
  2. Competency-based: Project management roles are typically assessed using interviews with a panel of assessors.

Project management qualifications are based on knowledge. Project management qualifications that focus on competencies provide a benchmark for project managers to know what the industry experts.

  • Standing out

In the competitive job market, many candidates often have the same qualifications. Candidates with more than one qualification will stand out for the best job since they complement each other by covering similar topics.

PRINCE2 is useful in describing what needs to be done on a project, by whom and when. Qualifications based upon project management bodies of knowledge (CAPM, PMP) better describe the how. Therefore, having PRINCE2 and one of the latter provides project managers with the tools they need to manage complex projects.

Other project management roles

Many roles fall under the project management umbrella. Project support officers learn how to manage projects by working in these positions, and those who work in project administrator, project coordinator, or support positions build on this experience.

Entry-level qualifications, such as PRINCE2 Foundation, the PMI’s Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) or the APM PFQ are recommended. These are readily available as either a 2–3-day course with an exam or an online course. They help candidates gain a basic knowledge of project management.

  • Retraining to work in project management

When people express a strong interest in retraining to work in project management, we always begin by asking exactly why they want to become involved in the industry. The purpose of this question is twofold: it allows us to ensure that our students’ perceptions of project management are accurate and helps determine the kind of positions in which you would be best suited.

If you want a job in Project Management, the first step is to know why you should potentially be hired and find out what roles are available with specific skills in mind, and you can consider how a project management training course might help.

  • Varied work

Is it worth pursuing a job in project management? It is one of the most famous questions you should ask yourself before leaping. Many people consider a good salary an incentive to take on this challenging yet rewarding career, with interesting opportunities and challenges for many individuals.

Project management calls for a lot of different types of jobs. It can be hard to stay motivated and successful with so much going on. Project managers need to develop extremely thick skins to handle everything that comes at them.

  • Transferable skills

Project management exposure is one of the most popular courses we offer at PMI. During this economy, course attendees choose to build on this exposure by retraining as project managers.

Because project management skills are transferable across different sectors, project work can provide an outlet for individuals who may be struggling to find employment opportunities in other sectors. Project work could offer a way forward in your career, particularly in the current financial climate where many industries have suffered losses.

When there are economic storms, those businesses with effective project managers will be less likely to be affected. These skilled project managers make it easier for companies to move away from the bad effects of the recession.

  • Developing your project management career

Projects management careers offer many opportunities in themselves. The possibilities are endless, but the level of talent you bring to the role determines how far you go. But many organizations have implemented policies concerning Continuing Professional Development (CPD) that can benefit employees hoping to develop new skills or enhance their CVs. Many companies are even lacking these policies, but as long as an employee can afford to continue receiving education and training, they will be able to better their career prospects.

  • Be proactive

It would help if you considered how, you could improve your skills. You may be able to do this by taking courses offered by your employer or researching what types of opportunities are available to you at certain points in your career.

If you would like to attend project management training, be prepared to discuss how you and your employer could benefit. Attending a project management training course is likely to improve your ability to work as a project professional and attests to the fact that, as someone prepared to devote time and energy.

Talk about why your projects failed.

It is possible to learn from mistakes when gaining project management experience. When you hope to move beyond project failure, it is important to reiterate how you learned the lessons during the process that led to the project’s downfall. Describe an unsuccessful project on your CV or at a job interview by stating the facts and what was achieved and emphasized.

By discussing the project lifecycle and how they were completed. You can draw out what was accomplished and test ideas for future objectives.

Acknowledgments

“PMI” is a service and trademark of the Project Management Institute, Inc., registered in the United States and other nations.

“PMP” and the PMP logo are certification marks of the Project Management Institute, registered in the United States and other nations.

CAPM is a certification mark of the Project Management Institute.

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