5 Steps to Advancing your Project Management Career

by The Persimmon Group | August 09, 2016

Ready to take that next step up the project management ladder?

If you are a new PM (measured by experience, not by age), first understand that there is no single right answer or prescriptive road-map you can follow to ensure success. There are, however, some actions you can take to help prepare you when the opportunity for advancement presents itself.

  1. Update your LinkedIn Network – The old adage of “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” has never been truer. Look specifically to connect with people with similar job titles or titles that you aspire to attain. Look for people in industries that you could see yourself working in. Remember, Project Management transcends industries so this should be a fairly large list!
  2. Join a professional organization and/or take part in volunteer opportunities – These will allow for the expansion of your local networks, giving you access to potential mentors, teachers or even future job opportunities. Volunteering also gives you access to new people but can provide valuable resume line items that may be in common with a future interviewer.  It also makes you feel good giving back to your community.
  3. Obtain your Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification – While the gaining of those three letters won’t automatically make you a better project manager, it still is a door opener for many organizations who highly prefer or even require the PMP designation in their job postings. It shows the ability to not only set a goal but the dedication to follow through.
  4. Constantly be looking to update your PM or related knowledge – Getting your PMP will help you in this area as you will be required to earn 60 professional development units (PDUs) over 3 years to maintain your credential. There are numerous ways you can earn the necessary credits against the PMI Talent triangle. The goal is not to wait until the deadline to start seeking out these opportunities, since putting things off until the last minute dilutes the value of the undertaking. Rather, pace and space the learning so that you have time to reflect on the lessons and apply them to your work efforts.
  5. Don’t say no to new opportunities – If you are scared about taking on a new role or greater responsibility within your company, take that as a definite sign that you need to do it. Why? Because it means you have more growth to do. Is there the potential for you to make mistakes? Sure. But even if you do make mistakes, they can serve as valuable lessons learned for your professional and personal development.

In closing, here’s one final nugget of wisdom. During my own career, I’ve often looked to this quote for inspiration:

Do you want to learn more about advancing your project management career? Check out more of our Project Management Insights & Tools.


The PMI TALENT TRIANGLE, the PMI Talent Triangle logo, and the Project Management Professional (PMP) are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

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