Project Management Career Tips
I recently spoke with Anna of Women in PM Network on Clubhouse about project management career tips. These are the notes from that conversation.
What do you think of the Google certification?
Wendy @woshifodunrin asked about the Google certification. Anna recommends it. Lydiah @lkimberly1 also shared her experience of taking the course and was positive about it too.
How can you secure a job in the tech industry?
Anna: Network and reach out to people in those roles and ask them for suggestions on how to get into the role.
Elizabeth: Read the industry press and stay up to date with what’s going on.
How did you get into helping people find their dream careers?
Anna explained that she started out helping people based on her own experience. She took a job without negotiating the salary and found that she ended up earning less than her colleagues, despite training them and having greater responsibility than them.
5 years ago she decided to find a new role. She didn’t do well in her first few interviews but gained a mentor and that helped her secure a new role. Ultimately, she got better at interviewing and applications, and started to help people to get jobs.
What’s the top skill you developed to secure a role?
Lydiah shared that she felt communication was the most appropriate skill. If you are able to communicate that your skills are transferable, that will help you position yourself. You can explain that you have worked in a different field.
How can I showcase my transferable skills?
Jane @janeyboo said that it was difficult to showcase her transferable skills and that the examples she is giving at interview don’t really highlight what she is capable of.
Anna recommended that achievements are quantified e.g. delivering ahead of schedule or within budget. Make this clear, because anyone can say they’ve led a project. Use concrete examples. Anna said that interviewers want to see that you can make them money, improve processes and so on. The good news is that if you are securing interviews, you have a lot of potential and they want to talk to you more at interview. It’s important to stand out at interviews and be different from other candidates. Share your metrics that differentiate yourself from others. Use action verbs while doing that specific project.
Interviewers want to see that you can make them money, improve processes and so on.Anna of Women in PM Network
Anna explained the STAR method: the situation, task, action and result and tell it as a story.
Elizabeth said that it’s important to tailor your application to the job.
Kat suggested reaching out to the manager of the HR agency and see if you can build a relationship with them.
Anna said when you connect with people on LinkedIn send them a note. She suggested that when you are job seeking, half of your connections should be recruiters so you see the jobs they are posting.
What’s the biggest mistake you see people making with applications?
Failing to quantify. Anna said that it’s important to tailor your application and make sure that examples are quantified i.e. you set out the difference you have made and the metrics relating to your project.
What’s one quick tip for getting a project management job?
John Ayers shared a tip from his upcoming book: if you want to be successful as a project manager you have to manage risk well, especially sub-contract risk.
What’s the thing project managers need to do to be successful?
Anna said communication: get everyone on the same page and align the team.
Elizabeth said stakeholder engagement, because so much that happens on projects is about the team.
What’s your take on earned value?
John @jon1946 said that you could use earned value on a project where you are doing rolling wave projects.
Mandi @mandivanderpuye said that monitoring benefits realization would be a better use of time and help with stakeholder communications as you are highlighting benefits being delivered during delivery. Having multiple methodologies is valuable so you can choose the ones that are a best fit for a project. For short projects, you don’t want to spend your time on paperwork. Crack on with delivery. Mandi said that many projects have a digital deliverable of some kind.
How different is it delivering for external customers compared to internal customers?
Gabriel @gabofurlong shared his experience. Internal customers are less demanding and more tolerant to the timelines, with more sense of teamwork.
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