Project managers have the challenging job of organizing processes and directing individuals to complete assignments. This specialty position is a huge asset to any company looking to grow and improve, so it’s in high demand. But there are also a lot of project managers out there competing for the same jobs as you.
If you want to improve your skills and resume as a project manager, you should work on your skills regularly to maximize your career. Here are a few tips.
1. Take Courses
There are plenty of courses that will teach you about being a good project manager. You can learn about leadership, communication, negotiation, critical thinking, risk management, administrative work, and more.
If you’re just starting out in the field, it could be beneficial to take a general course on the subject. You can learn about strategic project management to help you improve your schools in multiple areas.
2. Volunteer as a Leader Outside of Work
As a leader in your current job, you’ll slowly build the experience needed to gain more confidence in the role. But if you need leadership skills quickly, you might consider volunteering in a leadership role elsewhere.
For example, you could volunteer to head up a community event, serve as a leader of a youth group at your church, or do some pro bono work for a company in need. These opportunities are time-consuming, but they can help you maximize your skills quickly while boosting your resume.
3. Reward Team Members’ Hard Work
Project managers often get all the credit. This can be frustrating for your team members, and you can mitigate that by helping them get recognition too.
You can also offer incentives or rewards in your small group. Hold regular meetings where you acknowledge what some of your team members are doing well.
“Multiple research studies and surveys across the years have shown that feeling appreciated is a key driver of employee engagement in the work-place,” writes Jose Costa, the CEO of For Eyes by GrandVision, in a HuffPost article.
He also says that cash works, but it’s not the only way to get employees excited. Things like a great work environment can significantly boost employee motivation and make them feel valued.
4. Use the Right Tools
Of course, your unique skills help you to manage people and complete projects, but your tools make things a lot easier. It reduces your daily burden, saves you time, and gives you more productive time with your team.
There are hundreds of tech tools you can use for your job including project management collaboration platforms like Trello, Asana, or Wrike. You can also use tools to stay organized like Evernote, which allows you to take notes, set reminders, store pictures, and keep files.
Communication tools are also handy for keeping your team, the higher-ups, and any other stakeholders on the same page. These tech tools will keep you connected while you work together, and you’ll complete tasks more efficiently.
5. Find the Gaps
Ben Snyder, CEO of the company Systemation shared with CIO.com that project managers are basically gap fillers. They’re supposed to work efficiently to bring a project together, and managers should identify gaps regularly. They should look at cost, time, and scope and figure out how they compare against impending deadlines.
“Once you identify the gaps, take the necessary actions to close them. Don’t let weeks or months go by where you do not deal with your gaps, or they may get too big to overcome,” he encourages.
To facilitate the finding and filling of gaps, give yourself a nice cushion in the deadline to help you work through the project. It’s inevitable that problems will arise and you’ll likely find more gaps as you go, so you’ll need the extra time.
6. Build Confidence
Project managers are in place to efficiently lead a team. Therefore, leadership is a necessary skill. Some have an innate ability to lead while others must learn as they go. If you’re lacking in the leadership department, starting with your self-confidence can help.
“Confidence equals security equals positive emotion equals better performance,” says Tony Schwartz, the president and CEO of The Energy Project and the author of Be Excellent at Anything: The Four Keys to Transforming the Way We Work and Live.
Unfortunately, Schwartz says there’s no shortcut to boosting your confidence. He says that practicing self-confidence is the best way to key it up. There’s also a certain level of belief that must be practiced. If you believe in yourself, you can convince others to believe in you, too.