If you think your degree in project management only qualifies you to work as a project manager on software development projects, your focus is too narrow. In truth, this degree qualifies you to do a variety of jobs. In fact, it doesn’t matter if you are just starting your career or are adding your master’s in project management to years of work experience. There are many ways that you can apply your project management degree.
Keep reading. We’ll review jobs that are perfect for recent graduates, current students, and folks with more than a few years on the job. These jobs can help you to develop needed skills, get your foot in the door in industries where project management skills are needed or serve as a stepping block for advancement.
Part-Time Summer and Internship Jobs For Students
These jobs are ideal for helping current students develop important skills and gain work experience at the right companies. If you are currently in school and are interested in going into project management, consider one of these.
Construction and Remodeling
Even if you take on a small role as an assistant, summer laborer, or office clerk, working in the construction and remodeling industry can give you great insights into what it takes from sales to bidding and estimation to completion. You’ll also see how the different roles contribute to the project, and how time management is extremely important.
Project Management Internship
If you are nearing graduation, it may be time to start looking for project management internships. You can find these at software development companies, manufacturing firms, advertising and marketing companies, and construction companies. In a good project management internship, you’ll shadow experienced project managers, learn more about your chosen industry, and even apply some of the project management technologies that you have learned.
Warehouse and Manufacturing Jobs
Chances are, you’ll find this work repetitive. However, if you keep paying attention and work hard, you might work your way into a line lead or other similar position. This will put you in contact with floor supervisors and give you a look at the way that coordination, purchasing, logistics, and planning all play a role. Understanding these things, even at a very basic level is key to a career in project management.
HelpDesk and Customer Service
A big part of project management entails understanding the end user’s problems and needs. After all, no project is successful unless the user signs off with their approval. Getting experience communicating directly with customers and end users can help you to learn how to gather requirements and route issues to the correct person.
If you have the chance to get on an academic research team, jump on it. It’s even better if you can take on a leadership role. While an academic project is not the same as a software, marketing, or business project, there are similarities. Everyone has a job to do, and the success of the entire project depends on a coordinated effort.
This isn’t the kind of volunteering that you might do once or twice a month. If you are interested in applying project management skills, consider signing up for a long-term volunteer gig. Check out options such as FEMA or Americorps, City Year, or Vista. You will work on a variety of projects in both hands on and administrative capacities. One of the benefits of volunteering is that you are more likely to be entrusted with management level tasks sooner.
Entry Level Project Management Jobs
You’re in a tough position. You’ve graduated with a degree in project management. However, most companies are hesitant to let a relatively inexperienced graduate take the helm of major, high budget projects. These jobs will help you to get your foot in the door, gain experience, and prove that you are ready to lead.
If you are interested in becoming a traditional project manager, consider finding a job as an assistant to a project manager. You can see the daily work of a project manager. Work on important projects and hone skills such as Prince2.
Quality Assurance Tester
As software and app projects unfold, they require constant testing to ensure that user requirements are met and that everything is being written according to specification. As a quality assurance tester, your job will be creating test cases and conducting those tests. You’ll work closely with the project lead, developers, and end users.
Assistant Event Planner
If you think about it a party, a wedding, a banquet, and an opening are all projects. The end product is the event itself. However, in making this happen event planners coordinate vendors, seek out appropriate venues and work with the client to ensure that their needs are met. As an assistant, you can
Junior Business Analyst
This is another position where you can perfect the art coordinating communications between customers and project teams. This is an extremely important skill, especially on technical projects where users and developers often have difficulty understanding one another’s terminology.
If you’re pursuing your Master’s degree, this is a good position to have. You will build up both your analytical and writing skills in this job. You will appreciate the experience as you work on your dissertation. On the job experience is just one important way that students can gather dissertation writing tips.
If you have any IT experience or have majored in Data or Computer science, marketing analyst could be a great position for you. In addition to needing web designers and copywriters, marketing teams need people who can analyze data. This analysis is used to determine if a project is on the right track.
A user liaison plays a very important role on the project team. They act as the user’s representative in project meetings and communications. This position is very common in large organizations, or on projects impacting executive level staff.
Assistant Construction Manager
The assistant construction manager position is a ‘boots on the ground’ job. They work alongside construction managers, clients, site foremen, union reps, contractors, and others. They are given a variety of tasks to help the construction manager ensure that projects are completed on time, within budget, and meet the client’s requirements.
Web Designer or App Developer
Have you developed coding skills? If so, an entry level job as a web designer or app developer could be ideal. You can lend your technical skills, and employ your project life cycle knowledge as well. Many companies would really value someone who can develop, and who doesn’t need training in project management methodologies.
Mid-Career Project Management Jobs
Are you pursuing a project management degree while continuing a long-term career? Consider making a move into one of these careers. You’ll apply the business skills you have, and get a chance to put your project management knowledge into play as well.
Project managers have to master the skill of supervising, motivating, and managing people. There are no project management charts or apps that provide a path around this. Apply for a job as a team leader or other similar position. You will be able to use some of your project management knowledge, and it could be the job that is the bridge from your current position to an official project management position.
Project leads must have the skills to juggle several different tasks at once, and they must be a master at coordinating resources. By pursuing a job in logistics or coordination, you can add a lot of knowledge to your skill set.
This can be an excellent interim job as you move from your current position into project management. In a corporate office, the office manager supervises staff in a variety of areas including facilities maintenance and building security. They are charged with coordinating and supervising a variety of projects, ordering supplies, and equipment, and working with vendors and contractors.
If you have a sales background, you can pick up some essential skills by seeking out a position as a sales management. You will be able to use your existing sales abilities and also develop supervisory, management, and mentoring skills. These are all valuable when it comes to managing project teams and keeping them on task.
Your combination of industry experience and project management skills could be perfect for the position of business analyst. You will play a key role in projects as the go-to person when it comes to gathering and understanding user requirements. You’ll also facilitate communications between the project team and the client. Because the business analyst is seen as such an integral part of the team, you may find it is fairly easy to transition into a project leadership position.
The great thing about the jobs and other opportunities listed above is that they all serve at least one of two purposes. They give up and coming project leads the opportunity to develop a variety of skills that they will need. Then, many of these jobs are also great alternatives for project management graduates who have decided against a traditional career path.