Project managers are in charge of every aspect of planning a project, from conception to completion. They are responsible for delivering specific outcomes. At the same time, they oversee the work of the team members, creating milestones and tracking the progress of the project. They create timelines, manage risks and analyze data. They also work closely with contractors and vendors to ensure that the project runs smoothly. This is why understanding the project manager job description is key to mastering the role.
What Does a Project Manager Do?
In every organization, there will be major projects that require advance planning, execution and follow up. The project manager is the captain of the ship, taking the helm of the project and steering it from start to finish. The project manager chooses the team, capitalizing off of their strengths to develop the right talent for the tasks at hand.
Project managers typically work in corporate offices, start-up companies and non-profits. They may also work in government agencies. They normally work between 9 and 5, but may often work longer hours as the project progresses. According to the project manager job description listed with the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for a project manager is $67,280, higher than the median wage for workers in the United States.
Project Manager Job Description for Resume – Requirements
Project managers have to be detail oriented. They have to coordinate the logistics of the project, including booking event dates and venues, coordinating with clients, managing the team and reporting on the progress of the report. Responsible for keeping track of the financial data, project managers update the budget and sort reports. Furthermore, they consolidate information from a variety of sources and package it in a way that makes it easy for team members to carry out the objectives of the team.
The project manager is the go-to person for the entire team. He communicates with everyone from the team members to the vendors and the client. He disseminates information, informing the entire team of the client’s wishes. The project manager job description lists that the project manager is responsible for reducing conflict between team members, providing written outlines of the work and creating reports on the progress of the project and any milestones.
They also create presentations to staff and clients with slideshows, written reports and memos that are shared between the team.
The project manager job description notes that project managers monitor expenses, create and maintain budgets, project cash flow and ensure that the projects are meting standards. They may also manage the administrative tasks of the project like billing, ordering supplies, directing the bookkeeping and monitoring payments.
Required Skills for Project Managers
The top five necessary attributes of a great project manager are:
- Self motivated.
- Careful to details.
- Goal driven.
- Excellent communicator.
- Outstanding negotiator.
Project Managers should have strong math and accounting skills and be able to create and manage budgets. They may also have skills that are specific to their company or industry. If they are non-profit project managers, for example, they should know the ins and outs of charity galas and other fundraising events. If they work in government, they should understand vendor bidding, contracts and certification.
How to Become a Project Manager
Project managers often have several years of experience as a project manager. This includes professional event planning, corporate project management or other field experience. They may even have experience in management.
Education and Training Requirements
Project Managers typically have a bachelor’s degree from a 4-year university and experience in the field. Others hold graduate degrees or professional certificates in project management. Many project managers are members of professional organizations and often network with other project management professionals. The project manager job description lists conferences and networking with meeting planners, as a great advantage.
Many project managers obtain advanced degrees to sharpen their skills and advance in their careers. There are several programs that offer the Master’s in Project Management, and many professionals take courses in pursuit of these degrees. These programs are geared to the needs of working adults and professionals in the field.
The day to day life of a project manager is filled with deadlines, reports, meetings and appointments. He must put out fires both small and large, while maintaining composure and exhibiting grace under pressure. There is no typical workday for a project manager, and many work 10-12 hour day, especially in the days leading up to a major deadline. As a consequence, many project managers find themselves working late into the night to coordinate project elements and pull everything together.
Project Managers are often members of higher level management, so there is often flexibility in their work schedule. Work/life balance is possible for project managers, but they should not expect to work a “9 to 5” when there is a big deadline looming. Many work in traditional offices, but put in additional work in the evenings, early morning and on weekends. They may even attend events that require them to work outside of the office for additional hours.
Career Prospects of Project Managers
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is a growing demand for qualified project managers. With the emergence of start up companies, many organizations are hiring project managers to work on client accounts and expand their businesses. There is growth in the sector, and there are more openings for project managers than there are qualified managers. As a result, professionals who want to break into this field will find that there are many opportunities to expand and grow as project managers.
The average salary for an entry level project manager is approximately $54,000. This salary can vary based on the geographic location and sector of the company. Project managers in non-profit organizations earn less than average, while those in the financial sector earn significantly more than the median. Many professionals find that earning more credentials in the field (master’s degrees, professional certificates) can catapult their careers and allow them to demand higher salaries.
The Project manager position is one that requires a dynamic individual. One that requires the ability to delegate while juggling multiple tasks simultaneously. The project manager is an excellent communicator, adept at writing and is forward thinking. The ideal project manager will be able to create budgets, monitor progress and lead dynamic teams who can meet measured goals. They are driven by deadlines and milestones, and work closely with vendors, venues and meeting planning professionals. Technical project managers are often skilled in the use of industry-specific software and can train others. The best project manager is a valued assets to organizations both small and large.