Re-Framing Your Project Management Experience

Filed under Career | Posted by PMStudent

Some rights reserved by Rodrigo Baptista

How do you break into another industry as a project manager?

I was recently asked this question by someone coming from the film industry. ?The resume I was referred to looked more like a filmography listing for this post-production supervisor.

Similarly, a few years ago I had coffee with a cousin of mine while in Denver for the PMI Global Congress and found out she is an Event Planner. ?She told me a bit about what she does, I told her a bit about what I do. ?She was a project manager, but didn’t think about her work in that way. ?I was in the same place many years ago, running projects without really thinking of them as such… ?As far as I knew, I was just facilitating a team of people towards a common goal.

Focus on the CONTENT as well as the CONTEXT

We all have something in common; a focus on the context of our industry almost solely and in exclusion of the content of our daily work.

I’ve written about project management resumes before. ?I think the most important thing in this situation is to take a step back and re-evaluate your own experience in project management terms.

“I urge you to take your film experience and re-frame it in terms of project management. ?I’ll bet you managed stakeholders including team members, sponsors, and customers. ?I’ll bet you managed scope, schedule and budget. ?I bet you can probably give a good idea of what the budget you managed was.
I’ll bet you went through initiation, planning, execution – monitoring & controlling, and closing of projects.”

Look, some people have little to no project management experience and act like they do, as in those who pursue the PMP or other certifications without the relevant experience. ?(Doing projects around the house do not count as PM experience, sorry!)

Others have 20+ years of experience doing all the things that project managers do, albeit in an environment where they are called by another name. ?If you are managing projects, you are a project manager….I don’t care what you call it.

Don’t undervalue or overestimate the weight of your own ?achievements and experience. ?One of the many topics I cover in my PM Career Coaching Course is how to evaluate your starting point accurately, set a trajectory for your career with plans for achieving your goals, and then executing on those plans.

What about you? ?Have you made a transition from an industry like film or events planning into project management? ?Are you trying to do so now?