Steps to Launch Your Project Management Career
If you’re unhappy with your current career path, this is the year to make a change. One career path that may interest you and allow you to use skills you have already developed is project management. However, this will take some preparation even in pursuing the position in your current organization. By following a logical progression of steps, you can establish yourself as the best candidate for the position of project manager in any organization.
Hone the Necessary Skills
Many people who have previously made these types of career changes, such as Brian Setencich, recommend developing skills specifically needed for the new position.
Beyond any formal training you may need, you should work on developing skills needed by those in management. Developing your own leadership style and organizational skills will be essential in order to succeed as a manager in your organization.
Volunteer for Informal Opportunities
Keep an eye out for special projects that come up in your organization. If you hear about them early enough, you can volunteer to lead the project or request to act as the project manager.
While these experiences may only be temporary, they will give you the experience to apply for permanent project manager openings. You can add these experiences to your resume and use them to establish your qualifications for taking on a new role.
Develop Your Leadership Skills
As you volunteer to lead special projects, you’ll have opportunities to develop your communication and leadership skills. If those on your team enjoy the experience of working with you, they’ll be motivated to be more productive.
Creating a positive team environment that produces good results will result in you being highly valued for your leadership skills.
Learn the Tech Tools
Just as is true of any career, project managers use specific tech tools to help them organize and manage each project. Taking courses to learn how to effectively use these tools may improve your chances of earning a full-time project manager position.
In particular, you should familiarize yourself with software such as Microsoft Project, Atlassian, and Basecamp. While there are more programs used for project management, these are the most commonly used applications.
A Certification Boosts Your Chances
Currently, formal education is not necessary to specifically qualify for the position of project manager. However, participating in a formal training course and receiving certification may help your chances of winning that promotion.
It shows your supervisors or your prospective employers that you’re dedicated and interested in this type of opportunity. If you already have experience as a project manager, the Project Management Professional certification may be the best choice for you. If you lack the experience and want to establish your interest in being considered for future opportunities, the Certified Associate in Project Management certification might be your best approach.
Start Looking for More Formal Opportunities
By now, you have the training and experience to begin looking for a more formal position. While there may be opportunities in your current organization, don’t be afraid to see what else is available.
Maybe you won’t get a call back from the first few resumes you send out, but don’t let that deter you. Sooner or later, you will start getting calls and, before you know it, you’ll be taking on your first official role as project manager.
Making this type of career change isn’t easy. It’s going to require looking inward to determine which skills you need to develop. You will also have to continuously look for opportunities that will provide you with leadership opportunities. As long as you keep yourself invested in making this change and look for ways to improve your desirability as a candidate, there’s no reason you can’t launch a new career as a project manager.