From a varied journey to job security and the potential for advancement (to name a few), choosing a Project Manager career path has many advantages. The recent rise in the number of roles that need project-related expertise means there is certainly no shortage of prospects for those with the right skill set. However, achieving your ultimate Project Manager career goals requires a little bit of effort, and a whole lot of forward planning.
To help you out, here are four key ways you can enhance your project management career, based on our industry experience.
Establish a Clear Career Path
Career development for Project Managers starts with establishing a clear vision for the future. Despite being great at organising a team’s work, many neglect their own career paths. However, establishing a solid career plan can provide direction and help with decision-making. A good place to start is by determining a clear end goal and understanding where you would like your career to go. From here, break this down into short, mid and long-term Project Manager career goals to offer scope on the key milestones. It’s important to ensure they are relevant, specific and achievable, whilst still be ambitious enough to keep you motivated. If you’re a visual person, writing these goals down can be useful as well.
Lastly, be proactive in communicating these goals to peers, mentors and, in particular, supervisors. Everyone wants something different out of their career, so making your aims known will enable managers to provide the right opportunities to develop your career in the long run.
Build a Professional Network
One of the best ways to enhance your project management career is by creating a solid network of professional contacts. This will help open doors to opportunities that you may not have known existed. As technologies change and modern methodologies surface, you’ll be able to leverage your network to fortify your skills and build knowledge.
Attend conferences, industry events, meetups or even join professional groups online via LinkedIn (organisations like EGC regularly host events too). These networking channels will allow interaction with industry leaders and managers, as well as an avenue to learn about best practices and current trends. However, don’t just focus on other Project Managers – project management is involved in a wide range of industries, so target the ones that pique your interest the most and establish rapport with key people at every level.
Talk the Talk
When planning to enhance your project management career, it’s important to remember that it’s not all about the technical side. Effective communication skills are essential for such a ‘people-focused’ role and the ability to engage at all levels is at the epicentre of any career development for Project Managers. You need to be able to work with a wide range of people, including those from other departments, non-technical personnel and external stakeholders. Honing your ability to communicate with a variety of individuals will ultimately make you more adaptable and allow you to convey complex and technical information to people of all levels.
Enhance Your Resume With Certifications
It comes as no surprise that a good education is the foundations of any PM career. These days, having project management certifications is essential, and it’s considered standard to hold more than one. Make sure these a really highlighted in your resume! They may affect the salary package an employer is willing to offer. Whilst you may have extensive experience already, obtaining certifications helps to build on your existing skills, keep you up to date on the latest methodologies and make you more attractive to future employers.
Some of the most prominent include PRINCE2, The PMI’s Project Management Professional (PMP) and the more technical Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL), as well as agile qualifications. If you haven’t already, include these as a component of your project management career goals.
Project management has become an essential discipline across a broad spectrum of sectors and the options for those who possess the right skills are endless. Yet, to fully reap the benefits of these opportunities, it may be wise to apply some strategies to cultivate a successful Project Manager career path. Strategies such as goal setting, gaining certifications, strengthening networks and effective communication can go a long way to help you enhance your project management career.
What are you doing to achieve your professional goals? We’d love to hear from you.