Project manager points something out on paper

How to Become a Project Manager

Project management is the application of skills, expertise, knowledge, and useful methodologies to the needed requirements of any given project within a company. Project managers work across numerous sectors, and their job is to plan and execute projects for their companies. Project managers are task managers, team builders, effective communicators, and strategic planners.

Build Expertise and Necessary Skills

Through school, work, or even social commitments, most people have worked on and completed projects before. So how does one become a project manager for a business? Seeking project management as a career can be confusing, because project managers don’t have a direct path from their education to the position. Many project managers have landed their positions after establishing themselves as team players and hard workers while working on business projects. Others seek the skills that are necessary to become a project manager. Project management requires expertise and capabilities outside of simple people skills. Either way, these are effective strategies for building project management credentials.

Project managers can’t just be leaders or team players, although both of those skills are important. Project managers also must have a certain amount of expertise and know-how for the projects they are executing. Past experience helps future projects run better. If you want to become a project manager either within your company or elsewhere, volunteer for business projects that you can add to your repertoire. If you end up applying for a position within the same company, it will establish you to your coworkers as a team player, hard worker, and effective communicator, which are all essential skills of a project manager. If you’re looking to go elsewhere, the project experience will give you something to talk about in your project management job interviews.

Do Your Research

If you’re interested in project management, read about what other project managers out there are doing. Reading project management blogs, learning about different methodologies, networking, and getting a sense of what project management is like from people already in those positions is vital. Doing your research is likely to give you credibility in interviews while also helping you when it comes to your first project as a manager.

Work on Your Education or Certification

Like other positions, most companies that are hiring project managers are looking for established credentials. Getting a Project Management certification is encouraged and often necessary to get a job. Many employers seek candidates with certification simply because it ensures that you’ve been trained and tested on the skills that they’re seeking. The most well-known and established certification program is the Project Management Institute®’s (PMI®) Project Management Professional® (PMP®) Certification.

Last Updated: May 07, 2015