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How to Get Your First Job in Project Management

How to Get Your First Job in Project Management
By Michael Greer

In more than three decades of working with PM newbies in my classes, I’ve heard a lot of great stories about how people became project managers. Based on what I’ve heard, I have two broad suggestions for anyone who would like to get that first job as a project manager:

  • Become a valuable and trusted contributor on project teams.
  • “Act as if” you are in charge of (or at least responsible for) one or more projects.

Here’s a closer look each of these.

  1. Become a valuable and trusted project contributor

    Something every would-be project manager ought to consider: PM is an activity that is often regarded as “overhead.” That means that the time project managers spend on their PM chores is budgeted under “administrative costs” or a similar heading. In contrast, the primary work of creating project deliverables is typically done by specialists in a given field.

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How Do You Become a Project Manager?

How Do You Become a Project Manager?
By Kevin Lonergan

Few if any of us grow up wanting to be a project manager, or probably even knowing such a job exists. Most of us go on to start out in our careers still without any appreciation of this role. So how do people become project managers? Well the truth (certainly in the past) has been that many people fall into the role almost by accident. That may sound strange, but it has happened thousands of times, and will continue to do so for some time yet.

So, what do we mean by ‘fallen into the role’?

Very few people become involved in project management following a careful (and structured) assessment of their skills and competencies in relation to this challenging role. Most reach a certain ‘level’ in an organization and one day, literally, they become a project manager. They may (or may not) exhibit habits like being well organized (which will help a great deal) but the selection or appointment may be made for many other reasons. Read the Complete Article

Interviewing for a New Project Manager? Here Are Some Great Questions to Try Out

Interviewing for a New Project Manager? Here Are Some Great Questions to Try Out
By Michelle Symonds

If you’re about to start interviewing people for a project management position you’ll need to have a great selection of questions at the ready to ensure you’re going to get the best out of your interviewees. It’s always worth adding some new questions to your list so you feel as though you candidate is challenged in a positive way, and you don’t just feel like you’re going through the motions.

Here are some fantastic questions to ask your project management candidates:

  • Which types of projects do you dislike the most?

    This question is useful because: Project management involves working on a huge variety of projects and the best project managers don’t shy away from projects no one else wants to do. Putting the business first means doing their best on any project they are given, even if they do hate it.

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What Do I Look for When Reviewing Resumes for Project Manager Positions?

What Do I Look for When Reviewing Resumes for Project Manager Positions?
By Kiron D. Bondale

It would be wonderful if there was a foolproof method of assessing the merits of a candidate when hiring a project manager and perhaps with the advances in Minority Report-like information gathering this may be possible at some point.

Until then, hiring managers face significant challenges when filling such roles – the combination of life experience, hard and soft competencies as well as personality and ”fit” which will identify the perfect candidate are not as easy to assess as a technical skill such as the ability to develop quality code in a given computer programming language. To further complicate matters, in most North America cities the number of applications for a position is likely to run into the hundreds. This volume is partially due to the economy but is also due to the success which PMI and other project management associations have achieved in marketing the career benefits of the profession. Read the Complete Article

Seven Strategies to Advance Your Career with Project Management

Seven Strategies to Advance Your Career with Project Management
By Michelle LaBrosse, PMP, Founder, Cheetah Learning

Every single one of us does projects – it is how we achieve any goal in our life. How well you do those projects decides your overall success in life. Project Management is not just for people who want to climb high up the corporate ladder; it is a critically important life skill for everyone who wants to make the most of their existence. According to the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the typical person is only working at 50 percent of his or her potential. Even making a modest improvement in how you do your projects can help you quickly rise above the mediocrity. Here are seven strategies for doing projects that can help you advance in your career and with your other important life goals.

  1. “Right” Sized – Which reality would you prefer?
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So You Think You Want to Be a Project Manager?

So You Think You Want to Be a Project Manager?
By Andrea Brockmeier

A question posted on an online discussion group recently asked the question: What would make you quit your job as a project manager? What would make someone not want to be a project manager?

As I considered this, it didn’t take long for things to come to mind. I got to thinking about my students’ and colleagues’ experiences with absent, disinterested, or unsupportive sponsors. I hear this a lot. If you felt like you weren’t supported by a sponsor, that would surely make you want to do something other than project management.

Then I got to thinking about the statistics I had seen reporting on the rates of project success. I couldn’t remember what I had read exactly, but I seemed to remember that they weren’t so good. When I spent a little time digging around for project success rates, I was right. Read the Complete Article

Becoming a Project Manager by Accident

Becoming a Project Manager by Accident
By Michelle Symonds

How did you get to be a project manager? Chances are it wasn’t a straight step from education into project management unless you are one of the rare breed to have completed a degree in project management; and it may even have been that you never dreamed that this would be your chosen career. Many project managers work their way up in companies and eventually get to run successful projects as a result, whereas others seem to simply be in the right place at the right time to secure a prestigious project of their own.

Whether you set out to become a project manager or simply fell into it by accident, you will, no doubt, know what an interesting and challenging career path it can be so you cannot neglect your own development and qualifications just because you already have what you want. Read the Complete Article

Changing Industries in Your Project Management Career

Changing Industries in Your Project Management Career
By James Clements

Over the course of my project management career I have changed industry twice and have had many more minor changes of sectors inside those industries.

I want to recount some of the techniques I’ve learned to apply in these two major and several minor changes and at the end of this article I’ve outlined 7 Tips to help if you are considering doing just this.

I should note, that whilst I have changed “industry”, in both instances, the core or fundamental practices used to execute the projects stayed largely the same, ie. there was always a connection to ships/marine/heavy industry/construction and I think this is worth any would be industry hopper considering.

Changing both industry and the underlying technology that are utilized to execute the projects is a big ask and probably one that could possibly be looked upon negatively by recruiters. Read the Complete Article

Career Choice: Project Manager. Why?

Career Choice: Project Manager. Why?
By Deniz Iren

When we wake up in the morning, we have two simple choices. Go back to sleep and dream, or wake up and chase those dreams.

  • Assumption 1: Individuals at the higher level positions in the organizational structure, are more capable and knowledgeable.
  • Assumption 2: The higher the position of a manager is, the less he needs to know about the details of the project.

These assumptions are self explanatory. I agree that they are often correct. However, there is an apparent exception; the project manager.

Project managers must know many details about their projects, so the statement of assumption 2 is not correct. Also, I believe, project managers are (should be) more capable and knowledgeable about their projects than anyone else in the organization. I know this does not sound about right. I just want to draw attention to the unique knowledge, viewpoint, skill set, and capability that a project manager possesses. Read the Complete Article

Project Management Foundations – Where do Project Managers Come From?

Project Management Foundations – Where do Project Managers Come From?
By Steve Hart

In my professional life the project management career path has represented a rewarding and challenging destination. In my case, I did not wake up one day and say, “I am going to be a project manager when I grow up.” Project management is a skillset and career that I have developed over many years in the IT industry.

Why is the career path to become a project manager ambiguous? I think the answer to this question is linked to the fact that to become an effective project manager you must do two very different things consistently well:

  1. Apply tactical project management related skills. These skills include managing schedules, budgets, and risks (to name a few). These skills must be learned and then applied appropriately in the context of managing projects. Education is helpful to learn these skills, and certifications such as the PMP validate that the project manager has developed the core knowledge base to manage projects.
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