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Career Confessions | How I Became a Project Manager

Hey friends! ☺️

If you have ever really looked at many of the job descriptions for many PM jobs, most of them require AT LEAST 5-7 years of Project Management experience to even be considered for the position.

So how exactly did I get a position as an IT Project Manager with NO formal Project Management experience or training? Good question!

Well I’m about to let you in on my “not so secret” secrets 😉

The Beginning

My journey started alllllll the way back in college. I entered as a bright eyed, bushy tailed Biology major; excited to learn more about science! But that excitement soon turned to anxiety and dread, when I reached my Sophomore year. I remember it very vividly. I had recently had a meeting with my career advisor and I discovered that I didn’t know exactly what path I wanted to do with my Biology major. I knew I didn’t want to go to Med School and research required at least a PhD (at least to get a decent job), and I didn’t want to commit to something like that if I knew my heart wasn’t completely in it.

The Realization

So I was sitting in Organic Chemistry lab on one fateful day, and I remember just thinking “I hate this” “I don’t want to do this for the rest of my life” “OMG what do I do now?!” I think I spent that whole lab session trying to figure out what to do next then I did pouring chemicals into beakers.

Thus begun the the process of me switching to a Computer Science major (more on that to come on the blog soon!) and I graduated with a BA with honors. 😎

After I graduated college, I went to work as a Business Application Administrator for a financial institution. I liked it for the time being but quickly realized that I didn’t really want to keep doing that. So I took inventory of my interests and things that i enjoy in a job and what I think I’m good at. I am good at time management, keeping organized, and communication and I had taken a project management course in college and so I was like “I think that is something I would like!” So I did some research and found that it might be more difficult to find a PM job than I expected…

The Job Search

I started looking at positions like “Associate Project Manager”, “Entry Level Project Manager”, “Project Coordinator”, positions that didn’t require 5-7 years experience, but rather more like 1 -2 years. I used sites like Indeed and LinkedIn (See More: 5 EASY Tips + Tricks to Enhance YOUR LinkedIn Profile). They have tons and TONS of jobs and you can search by keyword, location or if you have your eye on a a specific employer, I just go directly to their career page and see if they have something that I am interested in/I felt qualified for. While doing a search on Indeed, I found a position for a Project Manager I job, only requiring a 4 year degree in an IT field and knowledge/or willingness to learn. So I just decided “what the HAY?” and I applied. 3 Interviews later (one phone interview and 2 in person interview, including a surprise panel interview 😅) and I finally got offered the job!!

How I got the job

I wholeheartedly believe that the reason I got this job is because I prepared, prepared, and prepared some more. I did some research on the company to find out what their values are as an organization. I did a lot of Googling on typical PM interview questions and I prepared scenarios of different experiences I have had that be asked in a job interview. It helps to come up with several different scenarios so that you are able to adapt it to fit the questions. I also think that expressing a willingness to LEARN goes such a long way. Nobody is going to be perfect and there are things you will not know, and so showing the interviewers (which may be HR, your future boss and coworkers, or people you might work with at this job) that you are willing to learn and try new things – it can go a long way!

So I have come a long ways since I was hired and I have learned SO much! It’s definitely been an interesting couple of months, and I’m currently studying to get my CAPM certification. CAPM is Certified Associate of Project Management, and requires 23 hours of education and passing of an exam to get it. Thankfully my work paid for me to take the course and will pay for the exam so that definitely is a plus!

I hope this gave you a little insight into how I got my job as a Project Manager. If you have ANY questions, leave them down below and I will try and answer them! ☺️

Stay Cozy!

Emily

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Instagram is kinda my thing. @emilyciernia ✌🏻