Taking the first step in any career is never an easy task, and this certainly applies to the Project Management discipline. The following are some observations made when making the transition into such a challenging and rewarding profession.

1. Choose the right organisation and the right job scope.
If you are taking your first step into Project Management, it’s very unlikely that you will land a role immediately. Most Project Management professionals establish their career in operational roles, with a certain amount of exposure to various projects. Hence, it’s really important for you, as a starter, to choose the right organisation, and a job scope that will give you good exposure. This will enable you to transition into Project Management gradually. The organisation should ideally run lots of projects and allow you to work with different people.

2. Take the opportunity to assess your suitability.
Once you have gained some exposure to projects you should take the opportunity to assess yourself as well. Make sure you can say “YES” to the following questions as well. These are the key questions that will tell you if you are ready for a career in Project Management.

  • Can I communicate well with different people?
  • Do I have the interpersonal skills to deal with different types of stakeholders?
  • Can I work under pressure to meet tight deadlines?
  • Do I have plans for all my activities, priority lists for my tasks, and targets for my performance?
  • Am I a detail-oriented person?

3. Get qualified!
In the Project Management discipline, recognised qualifications are just as important as experience. You will improve your credibility and reputation within the organisation by demonstrating your willingness and ability to learn, your level of commitment, and your passion for the discipline. The Association for Project Management (APM), APMG-International, and Project Management Institute (PMI) are the three most important bodies offering globally recognised qualifications such as APMP, PRINCE2, CAPM, PMP, PgMP, etc. They will offer an excellent grounding in best-practice project management methodologies and principles that you can apply in a wide variety of workplace scenarios. The type and level of qualification will depend on your experience, the expected performance and the scale of the projects. They can range from introductory to very advanced level. Do some careful research and decide one that perfectly aligns with your needs.

4. Continue learning and create your own opportunities.
Professional development is a never-ending journey. For any project that you work on, be it big or small, the key thing is to keep learning. Lessons learned from one project will be a massive benefit on another. You will find out that the best project managers are those who know how to identify problems that they encountered in the past, admit them, and figure out how to eliminate such issues moving forward.

5. Raise your profile.
Finally, make yourself known to the managers as well as HR by continuously showing your desire, your goals and your competency. This will make sure that when a good opportunity comes, or there’s a need for a bigger challenge, you will be among the first to be considered.

The Project Management profession is very rewarding, especially if you get a sense of fulfilment delivering a concept into practical working outcome.

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