Securing a Better Position – How To Get Promoted As a Project Manager

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The author spent the first part of her career working in IT and IT Project Management in the oil industry and investment banking on complex global projects involving the management of outsourced project teams. She now runs a digital marketing company with particular expertise in technical SEO and Content Marketing.

Whether you’ve entered at ground level and feel you’re experienced enough to take the next step up the career ladder as a project manager, or you’ve just completed one of the many courses for project managers that are out there and are feeling now’s the time to take control of your career, getting promoted isn’t always easy. However, with the right knowledge and connections, you could have a better chance of being noticed, appreciated and respected, leading to further opportunities to get promoted. Here, we offer some quick tips on how to get on that next rung of your career ladder.

Assess your strengths and weaknesses

If you’ve been passed over for promotion a few times now, chances are you’ll begin to wonder why. Making an assessment of the following could give you some insight into why you’re not being looked at when these positions become available:

Taking feedback isn’t your strong point – if you’ve been criticised, albeit constructively, and it didn’t sit well with you, then you may not have learned from what the higher powers are trying to tell you. If someone has an issue with a project you’ve taken on, or some area of your handling of the project, it’s worth examining how you could learn from this so you can demonstrate good listening and commitment to your own professional development.

You don’t have the required project management skills – Often, once a project manager has taken a course, they’ll assume combining this education with the daily experience of doing their job will be enough. However, there are some skill sets you might be lacking in, which could be a reason you’re not given the promotion you’re looking for. For example, leadership roles often require more than just technical skills. Considering taking courses for professional project managers that really delve into the leadership side of things and this could set you on the course for promotion.

Once you’ve assessed your strengths and your weaknesses and addressed anything you think might be holding you back, you’ll know you’re in a better position to approach your management and let them know you’re interested in more senior positions.

Talking the talk

Believe it or not, one of the main reasons people aren’t promoted at work is that they don’t make it clear they’re looking for something more. Having a conversation with your boss at these times isn’t always easy but if you’ve kept the list of strengths and how you’ve addressed any weaknesses, you can demonstrate that you’ve got what it takes, and that you’ve got the desire to progress. Bear in mind, however, that your boss may not always think that you’re ready, and may suggest ways in which you can get there. This information can be GOLD. Not only will your boss be telling you exactly what they need from you to be able to progress in your role, but you’ll be able to use this feedback to improve yourself, demonstrating to your boss that you’re really serious about getting ahead.

Walking the walk

Unfortunately, sometimes, no matter how badly you want that promotion, the opportunity might not be there at your current place of work. But honing your skills and addressing anything holding you back could still be crucial in helping you to secure a more senior role, even if it is in another company.

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Project management has developed into a fully-fledged chartered profession since the granting of the Royal Charter in the UK to The Association for Project Management (APM) in 2017. Training courses for project managers were already available and highly popular to help people gain professional project management accreditation, but with this wider recognition of the profession it is now seen as a desirable career path for many. Whilst the APM has the coveted Royal Charter and continues to develop its APM PMQ (formerly the APMP) programmes, there are also other internationally recognised qualifications that continue to be highly regarded such as PMP and PRINCE2.

Organisations have become increasingly project-focused in this era of rapidly emerging new technologies and they value the expertise that comes with experienced and fully qualified project teams and managers. By investing in their project management capability businesses can be confident of delivering their new projects in time and on budget more often and more successfully. Many major corporation are now training their people to have the right project management qualifications as well as relevant experience, through internal Learning & Development (L&D) programmes; or by using external project management training providers.

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