When you are considering your career path or want to change careers, it is easy to be put off by the seemingly difficult nature of getting some roles. Project management is a perfect example – it seems like a role that requires a lot of specific knowledge, skills and experience for anyone to consider you for it.
But this isn’t necessarily the case. For starters, if you get the right training before you begin to apply for roles, you will instantly place yourself above those who don’t have qualifications. You can also take a hard look at the skills and experience that you have and learn to apply these to the role of project manager. Many businesses will be looking at the big picture – the right person with the right skills can often win the role over someone with the most comprehensive qualifications.
Look at your qualifications
There’s no doubt that the right kind of qualifications will boost your chances of getting your first role as a project manager. There are many companies offering training of this kind so look carefully at the course and the company providing it before committing yourself. Companies like PMTI Training offer globally recognized courses and certificates that mean you can move overseas and still be certain that your qualifications will be recognized.
Look for qualifications such as:
- PMP (certified project management professional)
- CMI Diploma in project management
- APMP/ARM PQ (practitioner qualification)
- APM RPP (registered project professional)
- PRINCE2 Practitioner
You can opt to take a number of different courses if you want to be comprehensively trained for the role. Just look to see what the courses offer and make sure there isn’t too much of an overlap so that you are training for different aspects of the role.
2. Look at your experience
This might be your first role as a project manager, but this doesn’t mean everything you have done before doesn’t have a relevance. For example, one of the essential skills for a project manager is to be a leader – setting the vision for the project, making sure everyone is working towards the goals and that the team is motivated and inspired to do their best.
This means that leadership experience from other industries can help you be a better project manager. There is a lot to be said for real-world experience, even if it is in a different industry. So, your experience as a manager or team leader in a completely different job can help show the kind of skills and knowledge that will be useful for a project manager. It is simply a case of looking at the job description and framing your experience in a useful way – just don’t make anything up!
3. Consider the soft skills you have
For the project manager, those soft skills are just as important as the hard ones. You can learn from some textbook techniques on motivating people, dealing with conflicts within a team or communicating with clients. But until you actually do these things in the real world, it is never quite the same. That’s why the experience that you already have can be useful in boosting your chances in the new role.
In a list of the most important skills for a project manager, one of the top ones is communication. And if your previous experience means you have plenty of practice at this, dealing with colleagues and clients in many different situations, this is useful for a new employer to consider. More than that, effective communication is a crucial step – simply providing information for people is one thing but ensuring they understand it is something else.
For many of us, changing careers is one of the biggest things we do in our professional lives. To become a project manager, you definitely need the right qualifications but there are also many other skills learned from your other roles that can be applied to the job to help boost your chances.