Inside Project Manager Careers

Things you need to know, but nobody tells you

Biggest Surprises

"College Learning Inapplicable To Real Work Situations...
I was surprised to find not many of the classes I had taken in college were actually applicable when it came to the practical side of them in the work environment" (Business; 2014)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Washington, female
School: Studied Business Administration at Seattle Central Community College in Washington; completed Associate degree in 2012

"Take The Initiative...
I am surprised how taking a little initiative can go a long way. Going out of your way to be available or helpful, as well as doing a complete / thorough goes quite far." (Project Manager; 2013)

Career: 6 years of experience, currently based in Wisconsin, male
School: Studied Packaging Design at UW Stout in Wisconsin; completed Bachelor degree in 2007

"Ability To Enjoy Vacation...
What surprised me most about my career is that there is a season where your extremely busy in the spring, then in the summer you have a lull so you can enjoy your summer a lot. I find it great that you're free to take vacation and not have to worry about a project while you're enjoying it." (Proxy Production Scheduler; 2014)

Career: 7 years of experience, currently based in Massachusetts, male
School: Studied Management at Eastern Nazarene College in Massachusetts; completed Bachelor degree in 2012

"On The Job Learning...
The thing that surprised me most about my career was the fact that I learned more about Technical Writing in my first six months on the job than I did in my entire four years in college. This does not mean that my degree did not prepare me for the workplace, because it did. However, in my actual position, I was able to work on things and work with people that I never had been able to in college. From each person that you work with, you learn so much." (Technical Writer; 2014)

Career: 4 years of experience, currently based in Virginia
School: Studied English at University Of Colorado At Colorado Springs in Colorado; completed Bachelor degree in 2009

"I Was Surprised About How Fun And Time Go Into Dog Breeding...
people think that dog breeder has nothing to do with business, but that's so untrue" (Dog Breeder; 2014)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Ohio, male
School: Studied Business at Bryant And Stratton in Ohio; completed Associate degree in 2012

"Running A Business Within A Business...
I am amazed at how project management is very much like running your own little business. You are responsible for maintaining a budget, training and developing employees, ensuring that vendors are paid, ensuring that you are capturing all of your costs, you need to maintain positive cash flows, etc. It is a dynamic career, where you interact with a broad spectrum of people and are exposed to many unique opportunities. At the end of the day, you realize how much trust the company puts in you to ensure the project is successful." (Project Manager- Construction Industry; 2012)

Career: 10 years of experience, currently based in Maryland, male
School: Studied Business at Loyola University Of Maryland in Maryland; completed Master degree in 2012

"Communication And Collaboration Skills...
Although my career is working with computers, servers, and other related technology, it is extremely important to have very good communication skills. You still have to work with a business owner or end user of the equipment and need to be able to relate with them, and a team you might work with on different projects." (Project Manager; 2012)

Career: 8 years of experience, currently based in Kentucky, female
School: Studied Information Technology at West Kentucky Community And Technical College in Kentucky; completed Associate degree in 2007

"I was surprised to learn as a project manager that you would be required to constantly be changing with the needs of your clients. Ironically even though your client wanted and is paying for your service you still often encounter resistance to change and implementation. Sometimes I feel like I have to "sell" this service all over again and that can be frustrating. You really have to have a lot of patience to deal with clients and understand their concerns even when projects are underway." (Project Manager; 2012)

Career: 8 years of experience, currently based in Illinois, female
School: Studied Business Administration at State University Of New York in New York; completed Bachelor degree in 2002

"What surprised me the most about my profession is that it is never boring and no two days or two projects are ever the same. I am constantly learning new things and thinking of new ways to apply what I learn." (Project Manager; 2012)

Career: 16 years of experience, currently based in New York, female
School: Studied Organizational Management at Empire State College in New York; completed Associate degree in 2010

Best & Worst Things About This Career

Project Manager: "The best part of my job is its flexibility. I get to work from home, which is great for me since I have two young children. I also get to work with people from all over the world, which is something I enjoy. The worst part of the job is the high pressure deadlines. We often have clients who expect it faster, for less money. You cannot always predict when or what size projects will come, and while sometimes things are slow, they can just as quickly become very busy." (2010)

Project Reviewer: "Preparing the Portfolio Health Report accounts for a very small portion of my work - only a few hours a month - but it is my favorite part of my job. I enjoy preparing it because it's so specific. The information is black and white. It requires attention to detail, but no subjective analysis. The worst part of my job is working with the financial documentation because there are many different perspectives, and it's not clear how to address all the various situations. In addition, reviewing projects can get boring day after day. I see so many of the same issues. It can be discouraging." (2009)

Career Background

  Project Manager Salaries

Career Tips

"How To Get The Most Of Your College Education...
Research your options thoroughly when choosing a school. Talk to an adviser before deciding what classes to take. Research the teachers that are giving the classes. Make sure your chose career path is in a growing industry." (Business; 2014)

"Stay Cool And Able To Multitask...
If you want to be successful in Proxy, you have to be able to work well under pressure and be able to multitask. During proxy season these are characteristics necessary to complete you're projects." (Proxy Production Scheduler; 2014)

"Get Yourself A Pooper Scooper And Plenty Of Dog Food...
If you want to be a successful dog breeder you must understand how to train dog's and care for them, it's way more harder then just feeding them and letting them run free around your house, You have to put hour's off training and grooming plus feeding and walking, and picking up all the dog poop, but if you love dogs ,like me, then it's perfect for you" (Dog Breeder; 2014)

"Learn Different Writing Styles...
I would highly recommend becoming familiar with all sorts of writing, and not just to become set in your own style of writing. Learn to tailor your writing to the needs of the client, because in the end, the client is who you have to satisfy." (Technical Writer; 2014)

"Stay Flexible...
Don't pigeon hole yourself. Get specialized training but also be open and flexible. Being willing to move for a job can also help go a long way." (Project Manager; 2013)

"Live Abroad...
Study and speak a second a language. It's an invaluable tool to understand the translation business and gain insight into the structure of another language. Live abroad as much as possible. It gives you perspective on another culture and the ability to get along with people whose backgrounds are much different than your own. Get experience using a translation tool, such as Trados, as it's commonplace in the industry and most translators need to know how to use it." (Project Manager; 2010)

"Pay Attention To Details...
The most important qualification for my job is attention to detail. I'm not sure this can be learned. I think you either have it or you don't. If you don't have it, you wouldn't like my job. Beyond that, I would recommend you take advantage of opportunities to learn how to share information that may be hard to hear. Even though results of reviews may not be favorable, I always want the project manager to feel respected. You would also benefit from being familiar with project management methodology." (Project Reviewer; 2009)