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Getting ahead: how to advance to project manager

9 March 2017

The leap into a project management role isn’t always as straightforward as other career progression paths. That’s partly because it’s so individualistic according to each company, and partly because it’s a slightly daunting process.

Don’t let the effort of gaining such a promotion deter you, as the rewards are well worth it. Plus, the effort is lessened with these five relatively simple guidelines.

1. Decide on your career goals

I know what you’re thinking: “Aren’t my career goals obvious to advance to a project manager role, of course. Why else would I be reading this?”

While a great goal, that’s only a small part of the picture. Project management looks very different according to the field of work and company type. Before you start actively pursuing that project manager position, sit back and think about the kind of place you’d ultimately like to end up. This will help you a lot, particularly in completing the next stage...

2. Gain experience in your chosen field

Whether it’s a particular industry that has your passion, a predilection towards startups or big corporations, or a real desire to work for a non-profit organisation; once you figure out where you want to be, it’s time to put yourself there.

While you can’t exactly gain project management experience without being a manager, you can still earn relevant experience working in your ideal field. A background knowledge in your chosen industry or the style of a company will go a long way when it’s time to put your name forward for that prized project management role. But none of that will mean anything if first you don’t…

3. Get certified

Not only will certifications in project management give your resume a boost, but it’ll also give you the confidence to tackle this new position’s challenges.

No need to worry about balancing your current career with going back to school either, with fantastic online project management courses available. It’s a great way to invest in your future career without imposing on your current day-to-day. Plus, getting out there and doing a course can be a great way to…

4. Network, network, network

It really can’t be said enough how important making connections is when it comes to building a career—in any field.

Ultimately, the people who choose to promote you do so because they not only think you have the right skills and qualifications for the role, but because they connect with you. If you’ve already built the groundwork and established a relationship with them, you’re halfway there. Building those connections is made all the more simple by…

5. Proving your worth as a project manager

You don’t have to wait until you have the title to start showing how great you’d be in the role. This doesn’t mean you have to start independently managing projects and stepping on the toes of those already in project management roles. What you can do is start to be alert and proactive in both identifying, and solving, problems.

Problem-solving is a key part of being a successful project manager, so showing you can be effective in this area goes a long way in building your case as a potentially great hire. Nobody ever said advancing into a project management role was easy, but it’s certainly well worth the effort for the end results.

Learn more about our leading project management postgraduate degrees or speak to one of our expert Student Enrolment Advisors today on 1300 589 882.