Project management roles are in demand in many different fields. In fact, you can find project managers in just about every industry, from construction to medicine and beyond. Since this career has such a broad reach, it can be hard to know where to get started. Here are some facts and tips about project management to help you begin your career.
What is a project manager exactly?
Project managers are professionals who oversee, plan, track and execute a project for a company or organization. They do all of this while managing the team, budget and schedule of a project. They also oversee marketing campaigns and the rollout of new products. Essentially, project Managers are in charge of the success of the project from start to finish.
What do project managers do on a day to day basis?
Depending on the industry they’re working in, project managers can expect to have a number of responsibilities including:
- Establishing and defining the scope of the project.
- Interviewing and hiring talent.
- Developing a budget and management schedule for the project.
- Motivating and mentoring the team they’re managing.
- Cultivating good business relationships.
- Conducting meetings and ensuring that the project is going to plan.
- Assessing and mitigating risks.
- Evaluating the performance of the team.
- Tracking the efficiency of the project.
What makes a good project manager?
Project managers are essential to the success of any organization or company. Since their job is so multifaceted, they have to hone a variety of skills, including leadership, organization, and flexibility.
Project managers are responsible for overseeing and guiding a team of professionals. Because of this, it is very important that they possess leadership skills. A good project manager is able to lead a team by helping them reach their true potential. This type of leader is humble, giving, and able to be a mentor to their team.
Project managers have many responsibilities, from leading their team, to managing the budget and schedule for the entire project. Because of this, being organized is essential.
Every project manager will experience unexpected bumps in the road. Being able to be flexible and collaborative is very important for this position. A good project manager is able to identify a problem, delegate tasks to get it fixed, and make changes.
How do I get into project management?
Because project managers work in so many different fields, their educational background and experience can be diverse. Many project managers come from undergraduate backgrounds in business, computer science, and fields related to their chosen industry (for example, Construction Management). Although not strictly necessary, some companies desire candidates with Masters degrees in Management or Business. For those looking to switch careers or deviate from their undergraduate education, pursuing an MBA (Masters in Business Administration) or an MSN (Master of Science in Management) is a good route to take. If you already have some experience working on projects or if you are looking to switch careers but don’t have the time or money for a masters program, there are also many Project Management Certificate programs (PMPs) available to bolster your resume.
Aside from education and experience, if you’re wishing to pursue a career in project management you should:
Choose an industry that interests you
Narrowing down a field of interest can help guide you to experiences that will lead you to a project manager position. For example, if you are interested in project management in the construction industry, a construction related degree would be extremely valuable and make you stand out as a candidate.
If you have no experience, take on roles that are entry level but give opportunities for growth
It can be difficult to get hired as a project manager if you have little experience even if you have a degree, taking an entry level, or more junior position in the field you’re interested in is a great way to gain some experience that will lead to a project management role.
Seek out opportunities to showcase your managerial and leadership skills
Do this within your current position and take note of times when you’ve taken on a leadership role, or when you have been able to handle a lot of pressure. Being able to pinpoint these moments will help you in your future interviews.
Connect with professionals in your desired industry through social media and grow your own social media presence that highlights your expertise. Attend project management conventions and talk to project managers face-to-face. Be professional, friendly, and approachable in all settings. You never know who you’ll run into!
If you have any questions or comments please leave them below.
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