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As a recent graduate I am finding it very difficult to find work in the field I studied in. Having taken the Briggs Myers personality type test Project management cropped up as a possibility and it is something I have considered in the past. Asides from completing a Prince 2 course, what other things can I do to ensure success in getting into this career?

  • Worth reading: pm.stackexchange.com/q/1354/430 and (potentially a dup of) pm.stackexchange.com/q/3258/430 – Tiago Cardoso Nov 19 '13 at 13:59
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    I'm not really sure that this question is fundamentally different from entry-level job questions in any field. It's also not very targeted; please improve the question by updating the question with a concrete problem you've faced, rather than asking for generic career advice. You might also consider flagging your question for migration to WorkplaceSE instead. – Todd A. Jacobs Nov 19 '13 at 14:37
  • My advice is to confirm what your personality test is telling by taking other personality tests. Confirm what your "diagnosis" to help you avoid making a wrong decision that will waste time and treasure and emotional strength. – Doug B Nov 20 '13 at 20:36
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It will be very hard to break into Project Management "cold" - You will definitely need enough experience in the field/sector you are applying for to be able to talk credibly about it and this can only take time and experience.

One way in might be to begin working in a PMO (Project Managment Office) perhaps as a PMO administrator- That way you can learn the ropes from the governance point of view (important but by no means the be-all and end-all) whilst working in your chosen sector. After a few years of that you might be qualified to move into a junior PM role, though you would still be missing heavyweight field experience.

I always insist that PMs have some real life hands on experience of actually managing a project before they undertake any kind of formal methodolgy (e.g. PRINCE 2) because the formal method needs to be tempered with field experience. People who tend to get the qualification first and then try to manage a project often drown because the real world is nothing like they have been taught it should be via the methodology.

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Study management, volunteering, and important: don't start at the project management level. You'll need some experience in the field first. A course of PRINCE 2 is not nearly enough.

Volunteering can help you to get management experiences. If you combine that experience with the 'field-knowhow' for a couple of years, you can build a strong resume. You'll need it.

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Having been in project management for over 20 years, always ask first what you can do for the project. Either bring business knowledge for the project on hand plus some communicative skills.

Or exchange on another level: get allowance to act as right wing to existing project manager or project office and bring something to another part of the organisation where you have a unique added value.

I have seen a number of occassions in which really motivated people managed to get through the glass roof by showing their enthousiasm and hard work. But it is the hardest way to get involved into project management.

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Find the best project manager in your area. Offer to be their personal assistant. If they say they don't need you / can't afford you, offer to work for them for free. This will grant you both excellent experience and a respectable reference. And possibly a job offer from the same company. Good luck.

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