If you want to build a career in project management but have never worked as one before, dont fret. Many a project manager is an accidental one, who falls into the role as a matter of circumstance. There are also those who only have experience in entirely unrelated fields, but leverage it to become a successful project manager.
If youre looking to make that shift yourself, we recommend these helpful strategies:
Have a Solid Base of Skills
A project manager doesnt need to be an architect, or a programmer, or a graphic designer in order to lead the team. They can do the job better than you, and thats not what youre there for (although relevant industry knowledge makes your job a whole lot easier). But you do have a good range of essential project management skills to compensate, like organizational and planning. The good news is, those skills arent exclusive to project managementyou can gain that experience elsewhere and transfer it over.
Step Up, All the Time
Project managers tend to be people who take charge of a situation and work proactively, and recruiters look for that kind of behavior when interviewing applicants. If you can demonstrate that kind of drive in your present and past work, then youre more likely to get that project management spot. If you dont have that kind of experience yet, then nows a good time to start volunteering for things!
You dont have to know everything about the project management job before signing on, but theres no excuse for staying ignorant. Study up on the industry youre going to be joining. Dont be afraid to ask questionsespecially during the interview processbecause it shows that youre taking an active interest and developing yourself. You should never stop improving, even when you finally do become a project manager.
Becoming a project manager means youre going to be immersed in a team environment from day one. In order to be effective, you have to be used to working with and coordinating groups of different peopleand not just the people who sit next to your desk. Youll be managing contractors, clients, and stakeholders as well, all of whom have their agendas and quirks. Having the right people skills definitely makes the role easier.
Are you interested in becoming a project manager? We can help! Download our free e-book and get a head start on your new project management career!
Image Credit, Raquel Camargo, Flickr