If you are looking to get ahead in your career regardless of your occupation then project management skills can be a great way to make your CV stand out against a pool of applicants. You don’t need to specifically be going for project management jobs to make use of such skills as the abilities and responsibilities of a good project manager are applicable across a wide range of disciplines and positions.
A good project manager is flexible and quick to adapt to new situations, but in general there is a core set of abilities that employers look out for when hiring project managers. There may be specific desirable skills that depend on the industry you are looking to enter, but there are some skills that are applicable across all disciplines:
Project managers are held responsible for carrying out the details of their project on time. Delays can be very costly for companies, especially those working under strict contracts and missed deadlines can have very serious repercussions. A good project manager will be able to provide estimates for project milestones and make sure each milestone is met on time.
As project manager you may also be in charge of the budget for the project. You will be expected to complete the goals of your project with a set budget and be able to allocate funds appropriately. Effectively managing your budget is vital as in competitive markets profit margins can be thin, so overspending can result in eating into profits.
Project manager jobs inherently involve working with a team under your command, so it is vital for project managers to be able to both instruct and inspire people. Project managers may be hired from outside but often companies will look from within when seeking to find a project manager, so you may find yourself in a position of authority with your colleagues and work friends. A good project manager must be able to remain professional in such situations and not let private relationships interfere with fulfilling professional duties.
Effective Communication Skills
Being a project manager involves not simply interacting with the team members under your command but also reporting to your bosses and potentially meeting with clients. Both situations will demand good communication skills of the project manager; superiors will want to know how the project is progressing, whether target deadlines and budgets are being met and how any potential issues will be resolved.
Good Technical Knowledge
Leading on from effective communication skills, when meeting with clients they may have several questions about the project which will require a technical expertise to answer. Project managers will be expected to handle any and all queries professionally and confidently so having a good grasp of your project and the technical knowledge surrounding it will be vital to assure clients.
All the above skills are vital for project managers but can also be applied to a wide range of roles. People who possess these skills can be very valuable so if you’re looking to increase your employability then investing your time into improving your skills in these areas can pay dividends in the end. There are a wide range of books on the subject which can help you, so if you’re looking for a new job or want to improve your CV then learning project management skills can be a great personal investment regardless of your occupation!
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Amy Sawyer provides career advice and tips for jobseekers at Gatwick Diamond Jobs – a UK job board specialising in local jobs in South East England