Tag Archives: Moving On

Sales Manager with Project Management Skills, help? Q&A

Hi Nicola, I have a long career of software sales experience and I am looking to make my next career move. My question is that I have a great deal of project management experience having delivered a number of software implementations to clients but I am always seen as “just a sales manager” – is there any advice you can give me on how I can be taken seriously as a Project Manager. Simon; Key Account Manager, West Midlands.


Hi Simon, many thanks for getting in touch – what a great question! I can see from your CV that you talk a great deal about the sales you have made and your track record is impressive. You place a lot of focus on the sales aspect which I suspect is why you are not being taken seriously for the roles which lean more towards the PM skill set. One piece of advice I will offer is that you need to be sure that your desire to focus on the PM aspect is realistic – at the end of the day there is a great deal of competition for PM roles out there and you will come up against out and out Project Managers. Should you reach interview with such stiff competition you will need a convincing reason why you wish to transition. However there are a lot of Software Project Manager roles available and most of them are strongly focussed on presales, these types of roles tend to require a good sales person to interface between the client and the development team and will do similar project management to your background – delivering integration of the product.

Buy now

Therefore I would suggest you balance your CV with information which demonstrates your strong sales track record but also talks through how you deliver projects, think about the project lifecycle and address the various aspects. Add in details on teams, stakeholders, budgets, project details and change management – let the reviewer of the CV really understand what your current and previous roles involved. Place some emphasis on key achievements which really talk about how you add value – this can be dealing with tricky customers, overcoming change and identifying/remedying bottle necks. You will put yourself in a strong position against the perceived strong competition as you have three or more core areas of competence versus the straight forward PM. I have always believed you need to have some good sales skills to be successful in Project Management, dealing with such a mixed bag of stakeholders and gaining buy-in, to be able to combine with a structured approach to managing projects you are in a strong position if you market yourself well.

What On Earth Is Talent Communication?

A phrase that may not be that familiar to you is something you’ll need to get to know if you’re going to get the right people to join your business and see you developing into the future. In order to find the right people, you need to know about their talents. To get their talents to join forces with your own, you need to communicate with them. Talent communication puts you in touch with the people who could be the next generation of employees and executives in your organisation.

Depending on how early you want to target future talent, there are different ways in which you can communicate to get them thinking about your organisation when they’re looking for a place to work. The type of individuals you’re looking to attract will also make a difference to the way in which you put your message across.

Getting in early

One way in which organisations large and small have historically attracted some of the top talent in the country is by joining the Milk Round of recruitment fairs at top universities to put them in touch with box-fresh graduates looking for work in the best companies in the UK and beyond. However, some organisations are looking to get in even earlier in order to secure the most talented young minds and direct them towards study and development that will best suit them for a career in that company.

Big hitter

Some international big hitters are now turning to agencies to help them gain insights into targeting future talent before they leave school and move on to further studies. Careers advice services are crying out for ways to better engage with young people as they decide what they want to do with their lives and companies who are able to offer something that’s compelling and helps teachers and advisers to better support young people at this vital stage is greatly welcomed.

Finding the right way to approach and communicate with children and young people is tricky. As a demographic group, they are rapidly changing and using more and more different modes of communication which can make it difficult to keep up. Finding the right language that resonates with children and young people can be a challenge, so it helps to work with specialists in the field of communication with this group to get the most out of your efforts.

Getting the big hitters

While it makes good sense to appeal to future employees early and build your brand image in the minds of young people, this doesn’t stop the need to recruit the best people later in their careers. No amount of graduate recruitment and succession planning will fill all the gaps in your teams and when it comes to going out to find the right people for your vacancies it helps to have a clear strategy.

Big Hitter

As budgets get tighter and the impetus to find the best quality people grows, making sure that you’re targeting your communications at just the right groups is increasingly important. Just putting an ad in the newspaper isn’t enough if you want to get the best; a well-rounded strategy that takes in placing articles in key industry publications to build reputation and brand recognition and covers the growing importance of social media marketing will make sure your hard-pressed recruitment budget comes up with the goods.


Whether you’re looking to attract talented young people embarking on the first steps of their careers or fill vacancies at the highest level of your organisation, seeking advice to develop a carefully targeted communication strategy will pay dividends in terms of finding the right people and building their appetite to join your team.

Written by Nathan Griffiths who recommends http://www.saslondon.com for tips on talent communication.

What Are Your Options If You’re Being Mistreated By An Employer?

Statistics show that almost half of all working people have been affected by bullying or harassment in the workplace, either by being the victim or by witnessing it happening to someone else. This statistic is far too high. If a child is being bullied at school then it’s taken very seriously by the parents and teachers involved and something is done about it. However, in the workplace people may be scared to come forward and report bullying behaviour for fear of the repercussions.

What constitutes bullying in the workplace?

  • Verbal abuse including shouting and swearing at a colleague or employee.
  • An individual being singled out for criticism or blame which is unjustified.
  • Playing practical jokes and pranks on an individual repeatedly.
  • Purposefully ignoring a particular employee’s contributions regularly.
  • Disrespectful language or actions aimed at embarrassing or humiliating an individual.

What constitutes harassment in the workplace?

  • Negative comments or actions based on an individual’s gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability or religion is classed as harassment rather than just bullying. Harassment in the workplace on any of the grounds above is governed by law in most countries so the perpetrators can be prosecuted.

What are the effects of bullying and harassment in the workplace?

  • Effects on the individual: Stress, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, low self-esteem, absenteeism, low productivity in the workplace, insomnia, high blood pressure, and digestive problems.
  • Effects on the employer: A high staff turnover and loss of revenue due to constantly having to train new staff; low morale amongst staff and therefore lack of motivation and low productivity; a difficulty in recruiting quality staff members as word spreads through the industry about the hostile working environment at the company.

As you can see, absolutely nothing good comes from bullying and harassment in the workplace. So if it’s happening to you or someone you know it’s imperative that you take action. There are several ways to tackle the problem:

  • Bullying in the workplaceTry not to react to the bullying. If you react in the heat of the moment your emotions will cloud your judgement and may lead you to say or do something which you later regret.
  • Take a step back and try to look at the situation objectively. Have you misinterpreted your colleague’s actions? Speak to friends or family to see if they feel like the actions of your colleague can be construed as bullying.
  • Keep a diary of any incidents that you deem to be bullying. If you have them down on paper you’ll be able to identify any patterns, and have a better body of evidence to present in the event of a grievance or tribunal.
  • Escalate the problem where possible. If it’s a colleague harassing you then inform your line manager and let them deal with it in the correct manner. If it’s your manager bullying you then speak to their manager or a union representative.
  • If none of the above works to resolve the situation and you end up feeling forced to resign due to ill health brought on by the stress of the situation, it’s always advisable to seek advice from an employment solicitor.

An example:

A friend of mine was recently a victim of bullying and harassment in the workplace. She has a disability, and one of her colleagues took it upon themselves to highlight this and use it to discriminate against her and humiliate her on several occasions. Her self-esteem and confidence were really knocked by this and she didn’t feel she got the relevant support from her line manager. Eventually the situation forced her to resign due to stress and anxiety. Upon doing so she contacted a local employment solicitor in Loughborough, her home town, and sought advice on pursuing a claim against her employer. In the end her employer was made to pay compensation to her, which gave her back her confidence and enabled her to find a new job which she’s very happy in.

The moral of the story is: If you feel you’re being mistreated it’s down to you to do something about it! Don’t stand back and let the bullies win, keep a log of all of the incidents, don’t rise to the bullies, and seek advice from an employment solicitor. Remember there are acts and laws in place to protect us in our place of work, so use them to your advantage and stand up to the bullies!

Breaking into Project Management

Careers advisors have been working with young people for decades to help them recognise their potential through various testing and quizzes which often list project management as a suggested route for those who demonstrate an organised approach to working. However it is one thing being listed as a suggested profession and another thing actually being able to attain a project management role. Most of the PM people I know happened to fall into the field – like myself, I was working on quality control for a large blue chip when I was asked to get involved with some continuous improvement projects. Having demonstrated my willingness and aptitude to managing these projects I was put on courses to learn a structured approach to delivery and quickly moved into a role where I was managing new product introduction projects across Europe. I haven’t looked back and having been fortunate enough to have a supportive senior management team I learnt a great deal very quickly.

Knock on effectI would always recommend those who want to get into PM take a look at their current circumstances, what can you do where you are to achieve your goals? If you are yet to secure a new role then I suggest targeting businesses with the scope to be able to offer more, later down the line. Make a point of securing a new position which is ideally office based and work hard, get noticed for the right reasons and don’t be disheartened if you don’t feel you are moving at a pace you feel you deserve. It is important to make sure you gain some trust by the senior management team, once they know you can do the task in hand (i.e. the job you were employed for) and can see your willingness to be involved in projects you should start being invited to get involved. In the first instance you are likely to be asked to support a project, this is a great basis to build up your portfolio of skills and gain a greater understanding of how projects are run. You will also get to work with other parties around the business and begin to be recognised in this field. The knock on effect is that you may then be requested from other areas in the business to join new projects. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, be open to training, and be keen to join in.

This can work for those already established within a business, if you have been working in a job which isn’t challenging you, take time to speak with your manager and ask if there are any projects you can get involved with. Explain you are keen to be involved but be careful not to be too dismissive of your current role – think about the reasoning behind why you want work on projects, always take a positive approach.