10 Ways Project Management Skills Can Help Your Career
by Michelle LaBrosse,
PMP®, Chief Cheetah and Founder,
In today's digital world, what employers are looking for may surprise
you. They assume you're going to be technologically literate and that
you have the skills that are specific to your industry. Once you have
the basics, they want to know that you can perform, achieve results and
play well with others.
According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers
Job Outlook survey, employers rated communication
skills, and honesty and integrity equally at the top of their list of what
they look for in potential employees. Following closely behind communication,
and honesty and integrity were: interpersonal skills, motivation/initiative,
strong work ethic and teamwork skills.
What struck me as I read those skills was that all of them are inherent
in Project Management, and it emphasized what I've believed for years:
Project Management is a career accelerator.
Here's how you can use Project Management to put your career in high
- Show Results. Project Management is the art and science
of getting things done. When you improve your Project Management skills,
you know how to get things done quickly, and even more important, you learn
how to document the results. In our careers, we are often as good as our
last hit. You can't be a one-hit wonder. Instead, you want to keep charting,
year after year, with success after success.
- Be Efficient. When you apply Project Management principles
to your work or your home life, you stop reinventing the wheel. Project
Management teaches you how to make the most efficient use of resources to
generate the best results in the least amount of time. At the end of every
project, you capture best practices and lessons learned, creating an invaluable
documentation of hits and misses. Sound too good to be true? Good project
managers do this on every project, and you can, too.
- Create an Ongoing Dialogue. One mistake I see a lot in
Project Management and on teams is the assumption that there's one meeting
and everyone goes away, and then the communication ends, and somehow everything
is still going to magically get done. Your communication skills are not about
your vocabulary. They are about how you manage your communication. Are you
communicating frequently enough and with clarity? Are you communicating what
is relevant? Are you communicating your successes?
- Play Well With Others. People hear the word teamwork, and
they groan or they say that they are, of course, a team player. That's why I
like to bring it back to the kindergarten place in our mind: Back to the sandbox.
Do you play well with others? Do other people want to be on your project team?
Are you respected? Do you listen actively to what others have to say? Good
project managers know when to lead and when to get out of the way. When someone
is interviewing you, you know what that person is thinking: Can I work with him?
Will my team work well with her?
- Let Your Confidence Shine. When someone shows confidence,
everyone in the room feels it, too. One thing I consistently hear from our
students is that the biggest payoff from their Project Management training or
PMP® certification is the confidence that they gained. They went back to
their job with a solid Project Management foundation that made them feel more
competent and able to project more confidence to their team and their boss.
- Keep Your Commitments. Missed deadlines and projects that slip
through the cracks are career killers. Project Management skills focus on timelines
and results that build your reputation and give team members a reason to trust you.
"I know that I can always count on her to get the job done." That quote
can - and should - be about you.
- Get a Grip. Good project managers don't have to freak out. They
can remain calm and in control because they have a Project Agreement which has all
the critical information about the project in it. They know when all the deadlines
are, who is responsible for what and when, and they've also documented changes.
Everyone wants to have someone on the team who can stay calm when a project gets
rocky and bring stability to chaos.
- Adapt to Change. Don't ignore change. Companies change. Deadlines
change. People come and go. Good project managers know they often have to adapt their
plans and document what has changed and how that impacts the entire project.
- Know What You Don't Know. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
What skills do you need to move from the status quo to the next level? Once you have
a solid foundation of Project Management skills, keep building on that foundation.
Don't stagnate. Continuous learning and a thirst for knowledge are always attractive
to employers and team members.
- Lead With Purpose and Passion. People will follow those who know
what they are doing and who can generate results. Project Management is a powerful
leadership tool because it not only shows us how to keep our eye on the prize and
the purpose, but it's also about the passion to achieve and succeed. Nothing feels
better than accomplishment.
Take Flight with Cheetah
Getting and staying certified is one way to get your career on the fast track and watch
it soar. Get started today when you download our complimentary PMP toolkit.
Buckle up and enjoy the flight!
About the Author
Michelle LaBrosse is the founder and Chief Cheetah of Cheetah Learning.
An international expert on accelerated learning and Project Management, she has grown
Cheetah Learning into the market leader for Project Management training and professional
development. In 2006, The Project Management Institute, selected Michelle as one of the 25
Most Influential Women in Project Management in the World, and only one of two women selected
from the training and education industry. Michelle is a graduate of the Harvard Business
School's Owner & President Management program for entrepreneurs, and is the author of
Cheetah Project Management and Cheetah Negotiations.
"PMP" is a registered certification mark of the Project
Management Institute, Inc.
Posted November 24, 2012