How to become a Project Manager

What is a project manager?

A project manager is a professional in the field of project management. They are responsible for planning, organizing, and directing the completion of specific projects ensuring these projects are on time, on budget and within scope.

This profession is always changing and facing new demands. If you’re the kind of person who prefers diversity, this is the type of career you’ll never get bored of.

How to become a project manager

The first step to getting into project management is to make sure you are qualified. This can be at degree level, or just completing some of the key project management qualifications outlined below:

  • APMP/ APM PQ (practitioner qualification)
  • APM RPP (registered project professional)
  • CMI diploma in project management (Chartered Management Institute)
  • PMP (certified project management professional)
  • PMI (Project Management Institute)

While you’re working, you could study for an industry qualification like PRINCE2 or Agile. 

If you’re working in the IT industry, you could get a certificate in project management through The Chartered Institute for IT (BCS)

Before applying for a job, make sure your CV and cover letter is up to date and competitive.

Project Manager Duties

There are many roles and responsibilities of a project manager, including:

  • Monitoring and Reporting Progress
  • Activity Planning and Sequencing
  • Planning and Defining Scope
  • Issue identification and resolution
  • Time management and approval
  • Risk Analysis
  • Business Partnering
  • Coordinating staff and internal resources
  • Managing relationships with clients and stakeholders
  • Controlling Quality
  • Optimising and improving processes and the overall approach where necessary

Project Manager Skills

To be an effective project manager, you’ll need certain skills and competencies. The following are often cited in job vacancies:

  • Good time management
  • Collaboration
  • Problem solving
  • Adaptability
  • Communication and interpersonal skills
  • Attention to detail
  • Big-picture thinking and vision
  • Ability to multitask
  • Business management skills

How to find a project manager job

Project manager jobs are advertised online, in local newspapers and at your local jobcentre. To find all the project manager jobs near you, you need to:

  • Search for project manager jobs on popular job websites such as; Indeed, Total Jobs and CV Library
  • Use the DWP’s Find A Job Service
  • Check local newspapers and local Facebook groups, especially groups dedicated to local jobs

Project Manager Job Titles

When you search for a project manager job online, be aware that the jobs might be advertised using a different job title. Popular job titles for project manager jobs include;

  • Assistant Project Manager
  • Associate Project Manager
  • Business Change Manager
  • Implementation Manager
  • Junior Project Manager
  • Project Communications Officer
  • Project Coordinator
  • Project Controller
  • Project Management Assistant
  • Project Officer
  • Project Support Specialist
  • Senior Project Manager

What does a project manager do?

The job of a project manager varies depending on the job role and the company you’re working for. Check the duties and responsibilities of project manager job advertisements to find jobs that best suit your skills and experience. 

The day-to-day tasks of a project manager include;

  • Planning projects by working with other higher-level professionals as well as team members
  • Oversee and/or execute each phase of the project plan
  • Analyzing the risks a project may pose and formulation solutions
  • Report regularly to senior managers and the client
  • Use specialized software and spreadsheets to plan, cost and analyze risks
  • Agree timescales, costs and resources
  • Negotiate with contractors and suppliers
  • Designing and signing off on contracts