6 Key Tips for Gaining Project Management Experience

Apr 19, 2020 | Project Management

The ability to manage projects effectively is an essential skill in the modern business world. As businesses seek new avenues, it has become necessary to have professionals that can lead and complete projects successfully.

Because of this demand, project managers are sought after in every business of all sizes regardless of their industry. However, for professionals aspiring to become project managers, it’s difficult to get the job without the right skills and know-how.

Nevertheless, there are many ways to get relevant project management experience to get ready for a project management role. In this article, we will discuss 6 key techniques for gaining relevant project management experience

Online Courses

Online courses can be an amazing resource to be familiar with the foundations of project management. These courses provide project management aspirants the chance to understand critical concepts in project management with the help of hands-on tasks and assignments. Such assignments are designed to make you interact with business branches and lets you showcase your project management skills and knowledge.

Through these courses, you can seek formal project management training, as well. A good project management online course will improve your capability and credibility to deliver projects timely and successfully. At the same time, PM aspirants will learn how to utilize resources more effectively and develop a stronger foundation in project management best practices.

Volunteer for Community Projects

Volunteering for a community project is an excellent way to gain valuable project-specific experience. Since there is always a shortage of opportunities in community projects, you will have ample chances to showcase your project management skills.

Find community projects that interest you and request organizations to make you a part of their project team. You should seek leadership roles in the community projects, so you directly gain project management experience.

If you don’t have the chance to take on a leadership role, there are many other roles in project teams you can use to gain relevant experience. This also is a sign for your employers that you are willing to take gain experience in project management experience. Therefore, it also shows that you are committed to becoming a project manager at the workplace, as well.

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Photographer: Anna Earl | Source: Unsplash

Request to Be a Part of Project Meetings

If you are currently working in an organization, there are likely multiple ongoing projects at the moment. It is your job to identify projects that fall within your expertise and contact functional leads or project managers. You can ask them if there is any chance to participate in project management teams or attend project meetings as a participant.

You can express that you are interested in a career as a project manager. However, before doing so, you must ensure that you discuss with your direct supervisor first to gain their approval and keep them in the loop.

Doing so can help your supervisor identify key areas of your expertise and find ways to help you develop your project management career. They can assign you an informal role where you may gain project management experience, which can help you a lot down the road.

Thrive on Informal Roles

Informal project management roles can be an excellent opportunity to hone your project management skills. Although your experience in an informal may not come with the job title of a project manager, it can give you the experience you need and enhance your project management portfolio.

You can list informal roles on your resume and state the responsibilities you fulfilled in that role. However, it is also important to recognize the difference between formal project-specific tasks and operational activities. It’s necessary to identify these project tasks and enhance your project management portfolio.

Create Your Projects

As an employee, you can also get some great project ideas by looking within your department. Such project ideas can help you improve your organizational workflow and give you the chance to lead small projects on your own with your supervisor's permission. You don’t even need to do something huge to create a project for yourself.

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Photographer: Marvin Meyer | Source: Unsplash

If you gain more experience with smaller projects, it’s more likely that your supervisor will give the go-ahead to lead larger projects. You can even formalize your knowledge with project management training to get yourself ready for the role. Taking online courses and attending project management training can streamline your knowledge, making you a viable candidate for a role in management.

CAPM Certification

Another thing you can do to gain project management experience is to get CAPM certification. The Certified Associate in Project Management is an entry-level certificate, and several small firms are willing to accept people with CAPM certificate as project managers.

Even if your current employer does not work on projects, you can try to get the required experience by starting your projects.

For instance, if you are working as a financial analyst, software developer, engineer, or quality assurance officer, you can get experience in project management by volunteering to lead small projects that improve the performance and productivity of these functions.

You can also ask your manager to let you lead teams as part of your professional development. Leadership and planning are two of the main skills that project managers need. If you can work as a team lead, even if for a short while, you can put that on your resume, which will improve your chances of being hired as a project manager later.

Final Words

The mark of exceptional project managers is that they are proactive communicators, good leaders, and always keen to achieve great results. They are ready to look for new opportunities and achieve results through innovative thinking.

If you want to become a project manager, there are many ways you to gain the required project work experience. Volunteering for available opportunities can give you a fair chance of succeeding in a management role.

Taking small projects and initiatives within your organization are stepping stones that launch your project management career. You can follow all the techniques in this article to gain relevant project management experience and become a successful project manager.

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