Most of us in our professional (and personal) lives have to manage projects. Otherwise work and life is just a series of never-ending random tasks. But it’s fair to say that, for some, managing projects is what we spend the majority of our time working on.

While many have chosen to take it on as a professional career choice, you might, by the nature of your work and interests, ended up in the project space more organically. This can be a real opportunity to craft a new career in one of the most in-demand professions and potentially open doors for you in a range of new industries.

So how can you tell if you are an accidental project manager? What are some of the key skills and talents you need and how can you earn the recognition required to become a project management professional?

Want to learn more? Check out our guide, Project Management Career Path

Am I a (good) project manager?

It’s pretty simple to figure out if your work is project management focused.

  • Do you work to deadlines?
  • Do you have to organise and allocate tasks and activities to a team focused on a specific project outcome?
  • Are you responsible for progress and budget reporting, stakeholder management and team communication?

If these activities or hard skills – take up the majority of your day – then it’s a pretty safe bet, you are in the project management business.

It’s fundamental that you have these hard skills, however to really progress as a project management professional formal training or an academic qualification will go a long way. The amount of “on-the-job” experience and training you have will dictate where you need to start. But rest assured there is no shortage of great learning opportunities and courses available for every level – from the project coordinator through to the program director and beyond.

To succeed as a project management professional today – you need more than just the hard skills. More human skills such as the ability to communicate, influence, and lead are now just as important as hard or technical skills. The ability to motivate a project team and keep them on track – and make it a positive experience for them – is often the difference between success and failure.

Get certified, get ahead

As you move along a career path from Project Coordinator to Project Manager to Project Director and beyond you can be recognised for your skills, experience and accomplishments. Certification is a great way to set yourself apart from others seeking to fill project management roles at every level. In some industries it’s fair to say that it is rapidly becoming an entry requirement.

The AIPM’s RegPM certification is designed to provide you recognition and visibility to help you land the right project management opportunities. With the help of a qualified assessor, the program evaluates your project management capabilities to assess their alignment with business needs and standards across many different industries.

No matter where you are in your career, RegPM can certify your skills and experience at 5 different career points. Starting with the Certified Practising Project Practitioner (CPPP) – for those with a moderate level of knowledge about professional practices and knowledge – and all the way up to the Certified Practising Portfolio Executive (CPPE) for business leaders, you can be recognised for your skills. Through our CPD program you can maintain your certification and stay relevant by keeping up with all the latest developments and trends in your field. Learn more about the RegPM journey in our certification resource centre.

So if you fit the accidental project manager profile, you might be leaving opportunity on the table. With some education and certification, you may quickly be able to head your career in the direction of one of today’s most sought after professions – the official project manager.