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A project manager is a professional in the field of project management.

In short a Project manager’s job is a series of tasks within a narrow scope that culminates in an output, e.g. a building. As a project manager you would oversee planning, resources reports, plan budgets to meet plans and most importantly plan to ensure you meet your deadlines.

Often project managers are organised, single-minded and enjoy bossing people about! If you feel this could be a career for you the most complicated part is to know if you have what it takes. There is no denying a project manager encounters long hours and high levels of stress but reaps many rewards.

Qualifications for a Project Manager

If you decide this is a career you’d like to get into further and you have what it takes then the next step is to gain qualifications.

A degree isn’t a must though relevant training courses are. A good beginner’s course to help build your project management skills would be the APM Introductory Certificate in Project Management which once completing allows you to join the Association on Project Managers.

The most internationally recognised qualifications are PRINCE2. PRINCE2 stands for Project IN Controlled Environments which is a process-based method for effective project management, with the key features being:

  • Its focus on business  justification
  • A defined organisation structure for the project management team
  • Its product-based planning approach
  • Its emphasis on dividing the project into manageable and controllable stages
  • Its flexibility to be applied at a level appropriate to the project

(PRINCE2, 2011)

PRINCE2 offer a number of courses. They offer a well structured foundation course, which you can do online, or over a 3 day course.

It’s advisable to build up soft skills as well, such as presentation and communication. These will be vital in building up your success as a Project Manager. PRINCE2 offers the APMP Qualification for PRINCE2 Practitioners. This will give you an all-rounded course as it covers management, technical, organisational and people management skills.

Gaining experience as a Project Manager

Having made the decision to work as a freelance project manager the first step is to find work. Personal contacts will be a vital tool here, and many freelance project managers tend to try this option first.

It basically involves getting in touch with anyone and everyone that you’ve worked with in the past and letting them know that you’re looking for freelance work. If you already have a good relationship with a company or individual, this would be a good time to try and pull in any favours etc. It’s much easier to persuade someone you know!

Start by handing out business cards and make sure that your name is always in the frame when a client is looking for someone with your skills and experience. Even if the people you know are not the actual clients, your past colleagues will be happy to recommend you if they become aware of a position which will suit you – assuming of course that it’s not ideal for them as well! Usually people will start out in their area of expertise such as IT or Construction. It should be much easier to persuade someone that it is the next logical step to make you a project manager if you have solid experience in the area.

Volunteering your time

It may be tedious to give your time up for free, but you’ll reap rewards for it later. For example if your project manager is away you could offer to fill in. If you do a good job you may find yourself high up in the running if any new positions come up.

Other avenues to explorer could be charities. Charities often need people to project manager events such as expeditions and charity fundraisers.

Finding a job as a Freelance Project Manager

Once you have gained some experience, it will be much easier to secure these positions. You need to gather all the evidence you have of any project management experience, even if you weren’t the leading role. For more information on writing your CV please see our page on Top Tips for CV.

So where do you start looking?

Elance is an online market place for freelancers. It has good following which as giving access to thousands of potential clients. Elance has a unique business model by as a freelance you sign up, fill out your profile and then you bid on jobs.

Being the lowest price though doesn’t guarantee the job as potential clients have the option to pick more skilled bidders. This said there is hundreds of positions to bid on and aslong as your profile showcases your work successfully, your chances of successfully securing a contract is high.

Elance also gives you access to a daily newsletter with targeted jobs, so you don’t need to worry about missing out on any opportunities. A subscription to Elance does cost but a great tool for a freelancers especially if you are new to the scene.

Another avenue to explore is People per Hour it works on a subscription basis aswell – the higher the monthly package you invest in the less commission you need to pay people on the contracts you secure. Jobs are posted by potential clients which you can bid on similar to elance.com but also you benefit from your profile being searchable so clients can contact you directly. This feature means you profile really needs to shine.

A more generic website is Guru it is the largest online freelance marketplace. It is however very competitive as it is worldwide so country such as India can offer services at a very low rate.

Good luck on journey to becoming a freelance project manager, we hope you found this page helpful. You may also find the following pages helpful:

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