How do you gain PM experience when you don't have enough experience to secure a job/contract?
So the question is how do you build on previous experience to get myself to a level where you could start in a formal PM role?I get this question all the time from people trying to change industries.
Every position that anyone holds, has an aspect of project management. Regardless of your position or job there are often opportunities to project manage. Identify current projects which lack project management or proper project management and step up and just act as the project manager. Take a different look at your previous and current positions and identify the roles and tasks that are aligned with project management. Revise your resume accordingly, take a PM class, start on the certification.
There are volunteer opportunities in your location that you can get involved in. I've known people to volunteer and do work in non-profit positions while they're in transition. Those positions don't usually yield lots of cash, yet can allow you to develop and prove your PM skills, as well as get you a few much-needed references--especially if you can show that you're up for the challenge.
Start NOW keeping track of your PM hours that you will have to document for those certifications. Also join your local PMI chapter if you have one and network there. Sometimes, as you know, it's who you know that can help you move towards your dreams as you actively network.
Every project management gig requires a lot of busy work. Most senior PMs - those with the most experience and highest probability of mentoring you - woud appreciate having someone to do such jobs as:
- chasing people for status, % complete, missed meetings, etc
- formatting presentation materials
- running a couple of what-if scenarios in Excel
- consolidating the documentation
- putting together expense reports
- managing a calendar
- coordinating interaction times with an outside group
- and many more
your comments are welcome.
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