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I had recently obtained my PMP certification, currently I am already doing Project Management work but I would like to work in an environment where I could gain maximum exposure to project management, perhaps in a projectized organisation.

Would appreciate any advice on where would be a good place to start, thanks in advance

closed as primarily opinion-based by Tiago Martins Peres, Todd A. Jacobs Sep 23 at 10:58

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The best place to develop PM skills? Look for the companies that are contractors in your field.

Find a company where their ONLY business is managing/building projects for other companies. These are the companies that are doing it right (regardless of methodology, name, process, etc.). Their very survival is based on their experience and knowledge both in how to accurately bid a project, but how to also bring it in successfully. Because if they can't do those two things then they won't get more business, or they won't survive very long.

So find a contractor that's been around for a while. You'll learn very quickly what's really important. You'll also most likely have both the authority (and responsibility) needed to get it done, which brings it's own set of learning.

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You could explore the following avenues:

  1. Your current place of work: are there opportunities where you work right now to take on more PM work? Does your organization have full-time PMs and a lot of projects (you don't have to work in a fully projectized organization to be a PM)? You could talk to your manager about opportunities to formally move into a PM role.
  2. Your immediate network: identify the people (from your personal and professional network) who are already in that field and could provide advice and access to a PM position. Talk to people to get a better understanding of what types of PM roles might be the right ones for you.
  3. Extended professional network: you can join PM groups like PMI chapters or LinkedIn groups to access PM professional opportunities in your area.
  4. Classic job search: survey the market for PM roles in your area, get in touch with recruitment agencies specializing in this type of role. You are not saying what industry or function you work in, but if you are looking for your first PM job, it is better to stick to the industry/function you already have strong experience in.

Whichever avenue(s) you follow, make sure you build on your strengths and experience - you're talking about starting a career in PM but you are already doing PM work and are PMP certified (and in theory you can only be PMP certified in you have already a few years of project work under your belt). Don't downplay what you have already done, so look at it in terms of "advancing your career in PM" rather than "starting a career in PM". Clarify for yourself what kind of PM role you want (e.g. technical project? small team? what responsibilities do you see yourself taking on? what kind of companies? etc.).

Also check out the following question & answers on What questions would you recommend to ask to a potential employer for a project manager role?

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Despite the basic PM framework and best practices, every company has set up their own rules and processes. The bigger challenge here is really finding a company where you resonate with their approaches and find you fit with their project management culture.

For example, how heavy process oriented do you prefer to work in? Corporations or startups? Agile or Traditional?

Every company uses some sort of process to manage their projects, the hard part is finding the approach that you fit with.

Maybe do some information interviews with other PMs you know to try and learn about the different type of project management environments and challenges to narrow your search.

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VOLUNTEER- In Silicon Valley, the local PMI chapter has used this to great effect. Like most chapters, they have many volunteer opportunities with helping the chapter. What sets them apart though is they also work with non-profits in the Bay Area and match up PMs willing to do volunteer work with non-profits needing project management.

This is a great way to get practical PM experience and also looks very good on your resume because of the volunteer work.

Best, Joel BC

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Personally I feel you should first focus on getting the relevant work experience. You can start by contacting the local PMI chapters and meet people with PM experience. You can look for volunteer opportunities which can help a lot in learning about Project Management. You can also read various Project Management blogs and articles available online, various forums like pmzilla.com, LinkedIn groups where you can start a discussion and get connected with many experienced PMs. You can also go for entry level PM certifications such as CAPM or PRINCE2 which can add an extra value to your resume and helps you getting a basic understanding of Project Management.

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