When trying to break into project management you need to know your product as we have previously discussed; having cracked that, you next need to understand the market you are pitching it into. Where are you going to apply, what kind of organisation do you want to work for and what are they likely to expect of you?
Speaking on a BCS webinar Lindsay Scott discussed all these elements of how to understand your market.
What do you want to do?
To start with you need to think about what you want to do. In a previous blog, we discussed the many possible roles within Project Management, it’s just way more than being a Project Manager.
With a project manager role likely 5+ years down the line for somebody new to the profession, you need to think about what you want to do first, then what role do you want in 2 years and so on. Try and get an understanding of what career paths you can take to get to where you want to be and what roles you can do along the way.
Having a clear understanding of what you want to do will help you then know what market you are going into. Which will then help you prepare for your job applications and interviews.
Where do you want to do it?
It’s surprising how many people look at a job advertisement and say “yeah, I can do this job. I’ll apply” and yet they haven’t looked up anything about the organisation. What do they do? Does that interest you? Is it a cultural fit? These are all things to consider, working for an organisation that suits you is going to get you out of bed in the morning ready for work, and ultimately benefit your career.
So have a think about it and then start trying to plan around that to make it happen.
If for example, it’s an organisation like an Apple or Amazon start by asking how do I get there? and What are they looking for?
When you are starting your journey into project management it may well be worth considering an organisation in familiar territory. Someone with a background in SEO for example might want to look at an organisation that has a lot of marketing projects. As a newbie taking your first steps you’ll need to use the domain experience you already have to your advantage, applying for project roles within the industry you have already worked in gives you relevant experience that potential employers will be interested in.
What does that part of the market want and expect?
Imagine applying for a job role as being a box on a shop shelf. When someone opens that box they need to know exactly what they’re going to get. It’s really hard to put yourself in that box but it’s something you need to do.
One of the problems you may come across is the person looking for a project professional might not know exactly what they are looking for, and you have to show them. When we go through the many CVs we get for our roles the ones that stand out the most are the ones where the candidates have successfully put themselves into the box and they know exactly what they are offering.
They stand out because they know themselves and have a clearer idea of what they can offer. So then when the recruiter opens their CV they can easily and quickly see all the relevant experience neatly tied together. Jack of all trades is not always the answer that employers are looking for! If necessary prepare multiple CV’s each one concentrating on a core set of skills around a role to give the necessary focus.
Focus on YOUR Market
A question we get asked frequently is “how is the market?” It’s a question that we dislike because the only market that really matters is YOUR market. Rather than trying to focus on project management as a whole just look at the parts that directly influence your current situation. Doing so whilst following the advice above will help you gain a clear understanding of your market and the best way to go about breaking into it.
If you would like to see the full Project Management as a Career webinar you can do so by following the link.
If you would like further help with your project management career then why not consider one of our career 1-2-1 sessions.