How do I start my Project Manager career?
If you have read my blog, ‘Think you have Project Manager skills?’, then you are here to find out how you can start your Project Manager career.
Maybe someone you know works in Project Management and you have done a bit of research. You have gone onto job boards, noticed there are many job adverts for junior and experienced project managers. You have looked at average salaries and discovered that project management is a professional career that pays well. So, you would like to seriously explore project management as a career option for yourself.
You have evaluated your current situation, thought about setting a 2-year goal and maybe a 5-year career goal for yourself. By investing in yourself a bit by learning the skills you would need and adding some certifications to your CV to catch the eye of recruiting managers out there, you have the beginning of a plan to get a career started.
As you have never worked as a member of a project team or as a project manager, you must ask yourself the following questions first to ensure that project management is the right career choice for you before you commit to a study investment:
- What traits must I have to succeed?
- Am I committed enough to invest in myself?
- How do I get started?
What traits must I have to succeed?
If you love technology and fixing PCs and laptops, then it makes sense for you to have a career in IT. Choose a career that you are suited for and will love, so make sure project management is right for your traits. Fortunately, project management cuts across all career sectors which makes it easier to be involved in projects that follow your natural interests.
You spend 45 years on average working, so it makes sense to forge a career in what you are good at and enjoy!
Project Management requires managing, coordinating, communicating, following processes, analyzing, recording information, dealing with challenges, managing change, working with different people, following a methodology all while focusing on delivering a successful project that is completed on time and within budget.
So, let’s explore what traits are useful for project staff:
- Good at planning
- Naturally structured
- Ability to follow processes
- Coordination skills
- Very good written and verbal communication
- Good team player
- Able to deal with change
- Good at building rapport
- An eye for detail
- Ability to learn and understand a methodology (like PRINCE2 or AgilePM)
Some projects need other traits like creativity and innovative thinking especially in the creative space or when working on projects creating new products or services.
Successful Project Managers are not born with all the skills listed above. Some of these traits can be learned and some will come naturally to you. Some will be your strength and other areas you need to work on and develop.
Am I committed enough to invest in myself?
So, let’s assume you have a good mix of project manager traits and you are still keen to find out more about getting started with your project manager career. Next you need to test your commitment, are you committed enough to invest in yourself?
To make it easy to start your project manager career you need to invest in yourself. You will want to stand out in the job market by making sure you have recognized project manager certifications on your CV. Please ensure you choose certifications like PRINCE2 or AgilePM to study which are accredited in the UK and not the USA.
If you are planning to work in the USA or work specifically for US companies then google PMI and find out more.
For the purpose of this blog, I am focusing on a career in the UK, Europe and countries like Australia, South Africa and New Zealand that predominately use PRINCE2 and AgilePM as their chosen methodologies for managing projects.
Studying and gaining the certifications needed to work in project management will be a money investment and a time commitment. With experienced project managers earning £52K+ annually in the UK, it makes it easier to find the commitment and drive to succeed.
ITonlinelearning make the financial commitment easier as they offer affordable finance options.
If you are flipping burgers at a fast food chain earning £15,000 per year, but have the ambition to triple your salary, you must become career focused. A career happens when you invest in yourself. Investing in yourself can cover learning new in demand skills, refreshing out of date skills and working on areas of weakness. A great way to start your journey to career success in project management is to have a study plan and plan your career. ‘Failing to plan is planning to fail’.
Are you committed enough to take a blank piece of paper and write down a 2-year career goal for yourself? Your goal needs to be a S.M.A.R.T goal, your goal needs to be:
Write down what you would like to achieve in 2 years, then write down what you need to do to achieve your goal. Its easy to say I want to become an astronaut, but if you do not have a plan, the skills needed, the opportunity, the drive, the commitment, then you will never achieve your goal. The same goes for Project Management.
Once you have a 2-year goal written down with your plan of how you are going to achieve your goal, then you just need a bit of drive and commitment and you can get there.
It is also a good idea to do the same with a 5-year goal plan.
Once you have nailed your goals down, then imagine how you will feel once you have achieved your goals! Think about that for a second!
How do I get started?
Getting started is easy, pick up the phone and chat to a Course and Career Advisor at ITonlinelearning, they will consult with you and get to understand your career goals and needs and put you on the path to career success in project management.