How to pursue your PM Career Path

James is a UK subscriber. We had a conversation via email, and James gave me permission for sharing it with you.
Hi Josh
I am a recent graduate. I studied Computer Science and Business Administration while at university.
I am currently employed in the IT industry as a marketing and sales representative. However, I would like to move into the world of IT project management.
I am interested in a career as a project administrator. To show my commitment to this field of work and during these difficult times, I decided to improve my C.V. So I completed a course. I am currently enrolled in MS Project 2007 and studying for my Prince2 Foundation exam, which I will take next Friday.
Is there any other way to get noticed?
I have passed my Prince2 exam and feel ready to follow my career path. I’m now ready to apply for a job. What steps should I take in order to get a suitable position? You can find jobs on the internet, but some may receive up to 400 applicants! How can I get my foot in another door? ?
Thank you so much for your assistance.
James, I have the impression that most of your experience with project management has been academic. You have a degree and are familiar with Prince2 and MS Project. This is a great place to start.
What I DON’T Recommend
Project Management Career Path – Nicholas_T via Flickr
To be clear, I want to make this point very explicit. You might be tempted go for an additional certification or advanced degree. I would advise against this until you have had some real work experience in your field. Unless you are able to manage full-time work and study, then you might be tempted to pursue another certification. It doesn’t seem like you have enough project management experience to be eligible for many certifications such as the PMP or aCCP.
Other people I have spoken with have been in the exact same situation. I fear that someone might unconsciously return to their academic comfort zone by returning to school instead of gaining work experience. You are saying the right thing. It’s time to get out there and work towards your career goals. Travis Anderson said that you always need to sharpen the saw in some way. You can read more about this topic here.
The following is a portion of “What Everybody Should Know About Switching Careers to Project Management.”
Get your foot in the RIGHT door
This is something that I believe many job-seekers forget, regardless of their role. Find an environment where you can thrive first. I have a lot of experience in looking for jobs (hey! I didn’t get fired OK?). Having been laid off five times so far.
I have never had to put my resume on job boards. I stopped doing this long ago. Things started to happen when I began researching companies (not jobs) and networking as a way to live by helping others, not just when I was looking for a job.
It’s hard work, but it produces great results. There is no one button that will work for everyone.
Finding The Right Organization
1) Look for companies that are project-oriented. Companies that are oriented towards completing projects for customers, from medium to large size, are the best. There are many benefits to this:
* This type of company will eventually reach a certain size and develop solid, formal project management processes for their business. They will die otherwise. * This environment is likely to be mentor-rich. This company is more likely to provide formal PM training. * You can join the project team in a role you are familiar with.
Entry into Project Management
2) Become a member