Are you interested in becoming a Project Manager or curious about what it takes to make it? This toolkit applies to all project management roles and is relevant for all types such as Print PMs, Integrated PMs, Digital PMs, Event PMs, Tech PMs, and Store PMs!
What is a Project Manager?
Project Managers typically act as liaisons between different teams within a company. Project Managers are responsible for managing client/project expectations which include creating timelines/deadlines and assuring quality project deployment while briefing creatives or vendors. Project Managers are responsible for creating a scope of work (SOW) and develop a budget or work within one. It’s also imperative that Project Managers maintain brand and legal guidelines as these may vary across projects.
What skills do Project Managers need?
Technical skills that Project Managers must have include MS Project, Basecamp, Jira, Trello, and Google Docs. Depending on the exact role you’re applying for, PMs skills will vary.
When it comes to print, Project Managers will need to be familiar with collateral, OOH, publication, lookbooks, and direct mail. Project Managers in the digital space will need skills including but not limited to websites, microsites, banners, email, mobile, and tablet. In other integrated circumstances, PMs should have knowledge of web print, TV/video, and social. Familiarity in traditional print, TV, radio, and some digital is a plus as well. In producer facing roles, digital and video or TV broadcast skills are recommended. And last but not least, there are technical roles within the PM space that include knowledge of website development, apps, and product development.
What experience do Project Managers need?
The most obvious way to get Project Management experience is to major or minor in the field during college with an internship or related experience at a relevant company so you can transition into an entry level role. Traditionally, project management is something that is learned as you make your way up the ranks from being a Coordinator. However, there are new programs out there that offer PMP Certification (Project Management Professional) that teach you how to work with specific programs methodologies and explain the lifecycle of a project.
What are hiring managers looking for in Project Management talent?
In addition to being qualified in the technical skills mentioned above, Project Managers have a better chance of landing a job if they are great communicators, highly organized, capable of staying calm under pressure and are able to forecast risk and deliver.
Hiring Managers also look for experience in creating an SOW, scheduling project deliverables and assigning those deliverables to creatives. When Project Managers can show they take part in the entire lifecycle of a project from conception to development to launch while ensuring quality standards, it’s a home run.
How to succeed as a Project Manager:
As a Project Manager, you will most likely be juggling different projects at one time. The key to being successful as a Project Manager is being highly organized and able to deliver under pressure while meeting client expectations. PMs will also thrive when they are highly communicative with their creative team and understanding of everyone’s workload.