Advice for Growing Your Project Manager Career
By Jessica Knight
A question we get asked all the time is how to effectively grow your career. More specifically, we are asked how to advance your Project Manager career. Here at INT, we are your career coaches. In order to successfully grow your career in Project Management, you first need to create a list of goals. Continue reading to find out what those goals should be!
Goals for your Project Manager Career
One of the most important things you need to do to grow your career is to make a very detailed career plan. It’s much easier to achieve greatness when you list out exactly what you need to achieve. The truth is, projects are a part of every industry and all of those projects need to be properly managed. With that being said, you need to pinpoint exactly what industry or industries you want to progress in. Going even further, you want to identify the areas of expertise you want to focus on within that industry. In the technology industry, maybe you want to manage projects specifically in infrastructure or Agile. Having this specific project manager career plan is very important.
Within your career plan, you should be very strategic with your goals and make them result oriented. Whether it’s a short- or long-term goal, set them strategically. For instance, if you are asking for a promotion, raise, or searching for a new job, you want to have those quantitative results to show that you are qualified. Speak to those results in your job interviews, on your resume, or in a one-on-one meeting with your boss if you are asking for a promotion or raise. Having those results makes it easier to build on your project manager career.
Another goal you should have is to always network. I will go more in depth with this later in this blog, but overall it’s so important to network, especially in your project manager career. Being a great communicator and building up your soft skills gives you a competitive advantage when growing your career.
Lastly, as a project manager, you should always take opportunities to expand your knowledge. This is done by executing a high impact project, doing research, etc. Again, I will explain this more later. Bottom line, continuous learning should always be listed within your goals.
Implementing these goals
I am a huge believer of, “what you put out is what you get in”. Actively pursuing and communicating your career goals is vital when growing your project manager career. Not only does this hold you accountable, but also gives you the opportunity to possibly find mentors to help you achieve your career goals. Communicating your goals to a superior and showing your eagerness to grow comes to your advantage. Your goals should be result oriented, and to successfully do that, you need to actively focus on the activities that make your current project move forward. Review and assess the results and the overall performance and make your goals achievable through that data.
Network, Network…did I mention Network
As far as networking goes, it’s very important to follow your industry; however, you don’t want to exclusively network with only project managers. If you are wanting to make a bigger career move, you need to expand your horizons. Especially in the technology industry, things are constantly changing and evolving. In your project manager career, you’re going to be working with a wide range of technical people and lines of businesses so networking among other groups allows you to expand your knowledge as well as your personal network. I recommend that you find at least one event to attend every month. Right now, virtual events are going on that you should attend, but once things return to normal then get out there.
LinkedIn is another platform I highly recommend using for networking. It’s very important to keep your LinkedIn profile up-to-date and filled with relevant information to your career and your goals. This platform allows you to connect and virtually network with people. LinkedIn also offers different groups for you to join. These groups allow you to make more connections, post things relevant to your project management career, as well as read other posts that serve as more opportunities to further your knowledge. Broadening your horizons is not only a great thing to do in in-person events, but also virtually on professional social platforms. Especially in times like today, utilizing LinkedIn is more important than ever.
Referring back to earlier in this blog, continuing your education and expanding your knowledge is very important when growing your project manager career. As mentioned before, networking is a great way to meet new people, whether they are in your industry or not, and learn new things. A great way to expand your knowledge is to register for a seminar or webinar. Reading business books and other books about project management, blogs, or other publications allows you to gain more information about your field. I also recommend that you have at least one standard project management certification. The Project Management Institute (PMI) has many great certification opportunities for you to take advantage of. Having a better understanding of the industry as a whole makes you a better project manager.
Creating a list of results-driven goals is your first step to growing your project manager career. Once you have that completed, it’s time to implement it through creating a career plan, networking, communicating your goals to others, and expanding your knowledge. If you have any questions regarding your career path and/or project manager career, feel free to reach out.
INT Technologies is the nation’s largest certified Veteran-Owned Staffing and Consulting Company. We have 20 years proven track record assisting our varied clients with their projects and staffing needs within the financial, insurance, healthcare, government, aerospace, and technology industries. Serving clients nationwide, our leadership team -comprised of Chris Knott, Rhonda Rutledge, James Moloney, Tamara Ellestad, and Richard Krause -focuses on integrity and service and the relationships they help build. Proof of our commitment to “our client is our highest priority” can be seen in the fact that each of INT’s founding clients remain INT clients 20 years later. www.inttechnologies.com