Do you think of changing your profession and are you considering to become a Project Manager? Are you struggling about the ways to start or do you already have a clear plan? If not, I will give you a couple of tricks on how to move on and to push yourself in order to proceed in this area of application.
Hey Crizpers, today I would like to put an effort on outlining the possibilities of becoming a Project Manager. Probably even to promote this field and to let someone decide if he or she wants to be a PM. I am going to advise on how to make the first steps in this path.
My true belief is that everybody should do what they like. You should work on something you enjoy, believe and feel its importance. So, we need to check out what is your passion. What you are keen on and whether these areas are related in any way to Project Management.
Choose your Path
First of all, define what you are really interested in. Do you know your strengths and if you feel you would like to develop yourself further within them? As we are talking about Project Management and considering a possibility to develop ourselves in this profession, we need to make sure that your powers are applicable here. Check out the articles – Who the Project Managers Are and How the projects are delivered. They will help you to grasp out if the project management mission is something you are looking for.
Hope you have decided and now you want to become a part of this community. Are you hungry for the insights about which piece of the pie you should bite first? I am glad to know that and always welcome fresh bodies! Let’s see.. Do you have ever had any relevant experience? If so, then put it in your resume right away and describe what exactly you have done that corresponds to the project management duties. To get more confidence, look for the project management positions and take the descriptions of the responsibilities there. Do you have a relevant education? If so, add it too!
And remember to keep all your achievements in your resume. Put there everything that could be relevant to the new profession. Apart from the Project Management certs and education this could be the field related wins and efforts. If this is IT, you could have an ITIL or Information Security background. Should this be a digital industry, you might have a UX experience or some record in marketing. No doubts, right down all that you can recall.
How to Start
Now, let’s be honest, if this is your first touch most likely you do not have the direct experience in Project Management. What could compensate this at any level? Look into the education opportunities. It would be great if by the first hire as a PM you would have relevant courses under your belt.
There are multiple online courses available on your demand so you even do not need to get out for obtaining the knowledge. Moreover, many training providers are globally recognized and give the formal certificated at the course completion that you could apply to your resume as well.
I personally like Udemy. There are various options for getting the professional knowledge and level up in your application field. Moreover, they frequently offer significant discounts.
Besides the courses, you could even get a certification from the very start. I bet this would let you stand out of the crowd. I am currently referring to the CAPM exam by the Project Management Institute (PMI). To refresh the information about the Project Management Certifications, surf through the relevant article in here – What Choices does a Project Manager have. This cert (CAPM) does not require to have any preliminary experience record. What you need is a high school diploma AND 23 hours of the project management education – the courses I was referring to in the previous paragraph. Of course, this could be not only CAPM. You are welcome to search for other opportunities, there are multiple of them in the world.
Now you may say, that to start a Project Management career is too expensive as it requires to spent the funds on the education and certification from the very start. Well, to let you know according to my experience, this is a small investment for getting further benefits of being a professional in this field. Of course, this is not a must have assets and you may never ever choose them. Currently I am advising considering my personal background and describing steps I would take if I knew that years ago. So you choose now.
What’s else? Need to start earning your experience in this field. Here you have a tone of opportunities. However, remember, initially you need to get the basis of the profession and study the processes inside out to get confidence in the pool.
There are options to start as an entry-level Project Manager. To let you know, generally companies possess not only the high-profile projects. And to keep the experienced specialists on the internal projects or on the small ones is way too expensive from the resource distribution perspectives. Thus, they would be glad to have a junior PM for such projects. And, you can dive directly into the ocean and improve the learned skills promptly in the field.
Another option of earning the relevant background is freelance. Surf through the websites that offer this kind of engagement. This could be Fiverr, Upwork, Freelancer, Toptal, Guru and others. Simply google for them and do not be lazy to complete your resumes and to maintain them. Of course, we are keeping a finger on the pulse and updating our linkedin profile constantly.
I will not tell you the rate you should choose for your reward, make a research in the application field. In the beginning of the career the most important is to earn your experience. However, if you have followed my advice from the above and got the relevant education or even a first cert, this should give you some more selling points.
Next, you could become a Project Manager’s Assistant. This will most likely not allow you to manage projects directly, but you will shadow the experiences manager and will be able to still some hints from your mentor. Of course, you will bring the value yourself too. Believe me, if you have one or more high-profile project a help of the assistant would be extremely welcomed. Following the project manager you could evolve your relationships further and may get a promotion to the Project Coordinator. This is still not a direct management role, you could get some insights on that in my previous article. However, this could be an intermediate step to your desired position. And once you complete a couple of projects successfully under the Project Management supervision, there are chances you could be moved to the Project Management role. This would work in the large companies as usually there are many internal operational processes and policies. Thus it is more favorable and beneficial for a company to promote someone internally, than hiring a fresh meat and spending time and money to teach a new person.
One More Tip
To summarize the above, I would say it is always important to plan. In this case to plan your career. The clarification is simple, if you are not able to plan your life, how could you plan important and expensive projects? Planning is natural for a PM and you need to evolve this skill together with other relevant capabilities and competences.
The better is to plan further and to have this path recorded so you could easily get back to this list on a daily basis and see how you evolve your professional side. Besides, similar as in projects, the plan could be modified depends on risks, negative or positive.
To brush it up, the suggested steps are: to revise your resume for making sure you already have any relevant education or experience. Study in order to obtain the basis of the chosen profession. Get your first certification – that will help to level up your confidence and to impress your current or future employer. Start earning relevant experience. Plan your career evaluation. Put a pin-point when you are going to get the proficiency level certs in future and what Project Management paths you are going to evolve at.
Hope this brief guide is helpful and you now have an idea where to start and how to move on. If something is not clear or you want to know more about any of the aspects, feel free to let me know in comments.