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The demand for project management skills continues to grow across a range of industries, and professionals are building lucrative and rewarding careers.
For nearly 50 years, the AIPM has been driving project management across Australia.
18th Oct 2022
You don’t need a project management degree or years of experience to get a project management job. Here are some practical ideas and case studies to inspire you to take the leap.
Project management is a fantastic career for people who relish responsibility, enjoy dealing with people, and want good income potential.
Some job types are industry specific, but almost every industry needs project managers, and that’s why project managers are in such high demand.
Download the AIPM careers guide.
To be a successful project manager, you’ll need a blend of technical and behavioural skills.
If you have no project management experience, some of the technical skills you’ll need to build when you get into project management include scoping, scheduling, budgeting, risk management, and contract management.
But even without project management experience, you may possess some of the transferable behavioural skills that are so critical to project success, like leadership, communication, and accountability.
Here are our five top tips for getting into project management when you have no experience or qualifications.
You don’t need to have worked as a project manager to have built up many of the skills the role needs. Loads of jobs require leadership, communication, emotional intelligence, and adaptability. Take every opportunity to show how your previous jobs have built the skills needed to be a great project manager. And if you need to work on those skills, there are plenty of ways to do that too.
Learn how to improve project management skills
Establishing a mentoring relationship with a successful project professional can boost your career. The AIPM matches aspiring project managers with industry leaders in a structured, supportive mentoring program. Trained mentors are committed to providing coaching, support and guidance and will help get your project career off the ground.
Find out how to apply
Building a robust professional network can uncover many career opportunities. By networking with other project managers, you can ask questions and learn more about trends, industries, and companies. With the current skills shortage, you might even hear about job vacancies and land yourself an interview. Try attending some of our events and reach out to other project managers on LinkedIn or in our member community.
See AIPM’S event calendar
Professional development has many benefits and should be a focus throughout your career, not just when you’re starting out. There is a huge range of options for professional development in the project management space. There’s formal education like bachelor’s or post-graduate degrees, or a myriad of short courses, workshops and conferences. The AIPM has a library of on-demand professional development webinars for convenient online education. AIPM members can access many of them for free. There is also an endorsed course directory, where you can search for project management courses.
See AIPM’S endorsed course directory
If you’re serious about your project management career, joining a peak industry body like the AIPM has many advantages. Membership links you with a community of project professionals plus provides access to the resources, events and professional development you need to build your skills and launch your project career. There are student memberships available at a discounted rate for those studying.
It’s extremely common for people to get qualifications in fields like engineering, finance, science or law before ending up in project management. Others work their way up from entry level positions without qualifications, building skills, and industry experience on-the-job. Many then return to post-graduate study and get a graduate diploma or a Master’s in Project Management to supplement their on-the-job experience. It’s so common that the term ‘accidental project manager’ has been coined to describe it.
Here are some real-life examples of project professionals who got into project management without experience.
Kim has a legal background and fell into construction by chance more than a decade ago. She took a contract role between jobs and started as a site administrator. She loved being on site and seeing things built from the ground up.
Project management was a natural progression as she worked her way through the ranks in the construction industry. Kim is now a Certified Practising Project Manager, a committee member for Women in Building and Associated Services, and a former NSW Chapter Councillor for the AIPM. Read more
Andrew started his working life in an operationally focussed Navy career before joining the Australian Border Force in a similar capacity. He wanted to branch out, and he was given an opportunity to work on his first project within the Australian Border Force.
He stayed in that project for five years, building skills and capabilities that led him to work on many interesting and varied projects in the national security and defence sector. He loves working on projects that introduce generational changes to capability and present the opportunity to work with a diverse group of people to achieve the right strategic outcomes for an organisation. Read more
If you want to get into project management but don’t have a project management degree or experience, you don’t have to do it alone. The great thing about the project management profession is that many skills are transferable from other industries and roles and will be recognised and valued by employers.
Becoming an AIPM member is ideal for getting into project management without experience. You’ll be able to build your technical project management skills through professional development and access a network of like-minded people, helping you succeed in your new career as a project professional.
Take our quick self-evaluation quiz to assess your project experience and help you determine your certification level.
In this article, Jeff Rose, FAIPM reflects on his career as he celebrates his 20th anniversary as a fellow of the AIPM.
With an abundance of project management certifications to choose from, you might be wondering, “Which project management certification is the best in Australia?”
We sat down with 6 of today’s leading female project management professionals to learn more about their perspectives in project management.