Whether you are planning to switch careers in favor of project management or aiming to enter into the field as your first job, it can be challenging to break into the field without prior experience. While it may be a daunting task to start a career without experience, it is not impossible. To help you pursue your dream job, below are a few tips when venturing into project management with no previous experience.
1. Understand the Required Qualities of a Project Manager
The first step to getting into the project management field is figuring out whether you are a good fit. Note that some people are better suited for certain professions depending on their qualities. To help you establish your suitability and readiness for the career, you need to know the skills and qualities necessary for a project management position.
Some of the skills you should have are critical thinking, problem-solving skills, and excellent communication skills, both spoken and written. Time and risk management skills, leadership and people management skills, and attention to detail are also crucial in project management. With the right qualities, you can complete your duties and adequately handle all the challenges that come with your job.
2. Gain the Relevant Skills
After establishing the qualities of a good project manager, evaluate your abilities and fill the existing skill gap. Note that some skills like computer skills are transferrable. Depending on your current profession, you may already have the necessary qualities employers are looking for. However, ensure you acquire the relevant hard skills for competence by signing up for training. Fortunately, there are numerous online and offline resources to help you gain the skills you need to become a project manager.
Consider getting a certification, such as the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) if you are a beginner, and the Project Management Professional certification (PMP) later on. Note that PMP requires you to have completed numerous hours of project management work, which is why it is appropriate for when you have gained some experience.
Certifications complement your skills and credentials and boost your chances of career success. Besides earning a certification, familiarize yourself with project management tools such as DropBox and Asana that help in organization. Your knowledge of project management tools also comes in handy during interviews.
3. Put your Knowledge in Practice
Once you have the training and skills to take on project management tasks, you can begin building your CV by applying your knowledge in real-world situations. Start at your current workplace and offer a helping hand in managing new or ongoing projects. Speak to the managers in other departments about future projects and ask if you can participate in them. Doing so will expose you to the profession and help you get hands-on experience.
You can also opt for internships and volunteer roles to get acquainted with the job. While some internships and volunteer work may not offer salaries, they are crucial in helping you gain the necessary skills and experience in the field. You can also decide to start a personal project and get a team to help.
4. Update your Resume
Your resume is the first impression you give to a potential employer. Therefore, you need to ensure it sells you and your skills effectively. Update your resume to include all your relevant qualifications and skills while majoring in your strengths. Don’t forget to include any project management experience you have, including internships, volunteer work, as well as the ones you started yourself. Also, mention any awards and achievements relevant to your project management career.
An excellent resume will give you a competitive advantage during the hiring process and age and improve your chances of landing a job. Once your resume is ready, you can start looking for your ideal job. You may have to begin with related positions such as personal assistant, project coordinator, or event coordinator and work your way up.
5. Get a Mentor
Having a mentor to guide you through your career can make your career journey more fruitful. Create meaningful connections with established project managers who can hold your hand and support you as you try to break into the project management field. Your mentor will also help you network, offer advice, and recommend you in case of job opportunities. Note that a mentor can be anyone, ranging from your company’s project manager to your instructor if you are taking project management classes.
Although previous work experience matters when looking for a job, the above tips can get your foot in the door without experience in project management. With dedication and the right skills, you can successfully pursue your career in project management and excel at it. If you are interested in IT project management, you can enroll in a coding school to hone your programming skills and boost your employability.
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