Project management career paths

Project management can be a highly rewarding career, providing opportunity to work in an assortment of industries such as IT, retail, engineering and others. Project managers enjoy the variation and interactions that the role brings.

Starting your career as a project manager can be daunting, as recruiters can often be quite stringent in their election process, understandable considering how important the role is to businesses and the many skills required of a professional project manager.

Below, we’ve highlighted a few project manager career paths that you can follow to improve your chances of securing that dream job.

Qualifications

Earning a recognized project management qualification should be the very first step in your project management career. Many project managers begin their career via progression through a business. These qualifications often form part of a wider career.

Anyone can start their project management career with a self-study course. Those who are involved in a project development or management team often take on tasks closely associated with project management even if their job titles don’t reflect this.

It can be tricky trying to decide which course is best for you. To help you, we’ve come up with some handy suggestions to help you choose the right project management course.

Take project management support roles

Most project managers begin their career as assistants, support staff, coordinators or analysts. Industry knowledge is essential and roles such as these will allow you to gain an understanding of project development needs and business requirements in your chosen industry.

The general timescale from moving from a support role to a project management role is 5 years If you are already on your way, we recommend you start documenting your project management work. This can not only help you land that project manager role in the future but is also required for more advanced project management qualifications.

If you don’t currently have any opportunity to earn project management experience in your current role, consider volunteering for a project support role at a charitable organization or similar. It’s never too late to start accruing experience.  

Manage small projects

A great way to show initiative and develop your own project management career at the same time is to propose small projects and then take responsibility for their management and success.

Identify those areas of your business that can be improved. Test your solutions to ensure they provide a tangible benefit and follow this up with a report to management on how your solutions can save time and money.

These projects might only involve 2 or more people and might not even have a budget to work with, but it all counts to towards experience in project management, so get started today!

General advice

Networking

Never underestimate how valuable your connections with co-workers and other project managers can be. The people you meet along your career path can provide you with invaluable project management advice. Impress someone enough and they might just out of their way to secure a professional project management role for you!

Keep learning

Self-improvement and a desire to learn are hallmarks of a great project manager. Prove to employers that you’re committed to improving your career and they’re far more likely to hire you and invest in your success.

Be flexible

Communication, delegation and flexibility are key to developing a career as a project manager. Managing client expectations is a hard task and you’ll often need to find a comprise between what clients want and what is practical. Learn how to negotiate these tricky situations and you’re sure to be thankful you did!

Adopt the mindset

No two project management roles are the same, and you’ll need to be ready to take on new challenges and scenario on a daily basis. It can be a tiring task but by ensuring you always learn from your mistakes, develop the right skills and take opportunities as they arise you’ll do great in your career!

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