Let’s talk about transferable skills – starting out in Project Management

There’s always a lot of talk about skill-sets and particularly transferable skills; however if you want to transfer your career into the project management field then it is important to highlight the right skills which will be of greatest benefit to you and your potential employer. Now we all know there are differing types of project management roles from support through to managing and there are also more technical PM roles too – not just IT, they may be construction / engineering etc where you need to have a good knowledge of the field as well as PM methods to be successful in delivering benefits. So I am going to cover some key transferable skills for the PM aspect not any specific industry based element, here are a few to consider:

  • Investigating – Researching and questioning why? Key components to any good PM professional, being able to push back with quantifiable evidence is required even more now that funding is tight and projects benefits really do need to be explored thoroughly before starting off another project.
  • Planning – Planning / scheduling projects, predicting outcomes / scenarios, organising events and preparing for tasks – it’s a must!
  • Leadership – Core requirement for any good Project Manager and comes in very handy for Programme Support professionals too.
  • Influencing – The ability to gain buy-in is a big requirement for PM professionals, whether it’s from senior management, external (or internal stakeholders), sponsors or suppliers – you need to be able to persuade and encourage others.
  • Teamwork – Proving you can bond with others and build a strong force which produces results is key to successful project delivery.
  • Problem solving – Taking different viewpoints and exploring solutions is a big part of PM, from understanding workstream leads other commitments to supplier issues.
  • Budgeting – At some point you with be either managing your own budget or monitoring budgets on projects in a support element.
  • Decision making – The ability to look at your options and actually pick a way forward is crucial especially in a critical situation.
  • Training – Working with others either as a manager (PM) to mentor and train people in the project team or as a support person (PMO) to train others in various aspects of the project lifecycle such as risk management etc through workshops and 1 2 1 engagement.
  • Organising – From coordinating teams and individuals, arranging meetings and resources to scheduling.
  • Time management – Meeting deadlines and setting priorities are the core factors of project management and being on time is a given.
  • Creating – Not always highlighted as a core skill for PMs but in my experience of delivering projects, inventing, originating, designing or composing play a big part to success.

Now you can use this as a starting guide to performing a skills audit – once you have a list of transferable skills, you then need to provide some good examples of each skill (where you have used them / how / outcomes etc). These will help you form a basis for applications to project management jobs.

 

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