How to Become a Project Manager Without Experience



How to Become a Project Manager Without Experience

 

Deciding to take up a new occupation can be incredibly daunting. The same goes for when you want to start a career in project management – especially if you have had no prior involvement in it. You may be wondering if it’s even possible to become a project manager without experience or a degree. Rest assured it absolutely is possible - read on to discover how.


CONTENTS: 

What are the skills a project manager should have?

How can you increase your chances of getting hired as a project manager?

What qualifications do you need to be a project manager?


So, how do you become a project manager without experience?

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Whether you have just graduated from university and are looking to start your first job, or you’re thinking about a career change, it isn’t always easy to know how to get started and find your perfect role – or even where to look.

Becoming a project manager is a popular option for graduates as it suits a range of degrees and skillsets and can be well-paid too. Getting into project management means that, on a daily basis, you will be responsible for the management of a number of different projects, which must be completed by the set deadline and be in budget. You must be able to manage a project from start to finish and ensure everything runs smoothly and successfully.

Does this sound like you? If so, project management could be the right path for you. Read our guide to project management for beginners, to find out more about the role and what the job will entail day by day.

What are the skills a project manager should have?

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According to the Project Management Institute (PMI), the largest international professional membership association for project management, being a project manager means you are responsible for managing work through the application of knowledge, tools, techniques, and above all, skills, in order to meet project requirements.

Project management is a fast-growing profession and as a result it is important, more important than ever that candidates to impress project management professionals by demonstrating their skills and emphasising their capability – especially if they have no previous experience or education in the field.

Even though you may not think you have the required skills if you are just starting out, the skills you have earned through education, previous jobs and extracurricular activities can be entirely transferrable - if you can demonstrate how they can be used professionally. For example, you may have gained organisational skills from leading a sports team at university, or you may be able to demonstrate a great command of communication from public speaking experience. These are vital skills for any project manager, so if you can already demonstrate them then the odds will be in your favour.


These are the five key skills that we think are needed to become a good project manager, even without experience:

Despite it not being a necessary requirement to have a degree or tons of experience under your belt, knowledge and understanding is always valued. For more specific project management roles, such as those in engineering or IT, subject knowledge is also highly valued, so qualifications in a related subject will prove useful.

Of course, having some kind of qualification on your CV will not only help you in your job, it can significantly improve your chances of being called for an interview in the first place. On the other hand, gaining professional qualifications before finding work isn't always necessary as many employers will provide on the job training. Also, depending on the nature of the job, they may be willing to take on trainees and graduates.

How can you increase your chances of getting hired as a project manager?

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If you truly are new to project management, it will always be useful to research and try and learn as much as possible about the field, whether this be through reading guides or enrolling onto a course – studied online, in a virtual environment or in a classroom. Remember, willingness to learn goes a long way and is impressive to potential employers.

What qualifications do you need to be a project manager?

There are two leading project management qualifications in the world: PRINCE2® and Project Management Professional (PMP®). PRINCE2 is the most popular in the UK and Europe, while PMP leads in the US. It should be noted, however, that PMP is designed for those who are already project managers and have plenty of experience. The equivalent for those with no experience is Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM®).

 

PRINCE2, however, can be studied by anyone, and could be just what you need to join a project team and get your foot in the door with a view to moving into project management.

Apart from these, there are tons of other highly respected project management courses and qualifications out there too, covering a wide variety of practices and strategies to apply to the project environment.

You may be thinking, “Which of the different project management qualifications are best for me?” Which course you take depends entirely on the industry you wish to work in, and on your individual needs and preferences. Whether it be one of the many PRINCE2 qualifications, Scrum or Agile – there is something for everyone who wants to become a project manager without experience.

Some of our most popular project management courses include:

 

If you want to learn more about the different qualifications on offer, please do get in touch.

Photo credit: SFIO CRACHO/Shutterstock

A surprising number of people have become project managers without a degree, work experience or certification in the field, as they have opted to learn “on-the-job”, only choosing to gain certification later. Those in project management state that this is one of the best ways into the role, as you are able get hands-on experience, whilst having scope to learn and grow alongside a company – particularly if you are willing to start at the bottom in a junior-level role and work your way up the ladder.

Feature image credit: Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock 

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