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6 jobs that call for project management skills

Project management skills

You might not realize it, but even if you don’t have Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification, you already may be using project management skills in your current job. And if you decide to become a certified PMP, you likely can apply those skills toward your goal, says Jenny Kirgis, MBA, PMP, a business executive who teaches online project management courses for University of Phoenix.

“I tell my students almost everything you do in your personal life is a project — a wedding, a home remodel, managing your finances,” she says. “Anything that involves managing people and resources with an end goal in mind counts.”

Project management exists across disciplines, adds Steven Freund, MBA, PMP, a former U.S. Air Force pilot who teaches courses in the Project Management Certificate program at the University’s Charlotte Campus in North Carolina. “People think you need the title of project manager” to manage projects, he says. “But the fact is you don’t.”

Here are six jobs that call for project management skills:


Business analyst

This professional evaluates companies and their assets from multiple angles and develops detailed, long-term strategies to optimize operations, Freund says.

“You not only have to understand all the moving parts for completing a task, you also have to know how that fits into the big picture,” he explains. “Say you were making buggy whips and you noticed someone invented a car. You’d develop a business strategy for responding to that.”

Communication, negotiation and leading a team are essential project management skills that Freund says he uses every day in his job as a business analyst.

Executive assistant

Most people wouldn’t consider administrative support in the same category as project management, but Freund disagrees.

“Executive assistants are planning meetings, [arranging] travel, serving as communications gatekeepers, and setting tasks and time priorities for their bosses,” often juggling multiple essential duties simultaneously as they respond to constant schedule changes. “Those,” Freund points out, “are project management skills.”

Stay-at-home parent

Whether managing housework and home repairs or getting kids to school, doctors’ appointments and extracurricular activities, stay-at-home parents are among the most sophisticated project managers, Kirgis believes.

“I am constantly amazed by how much today’s full-time homemakers manage to get done,” Kirgis says, noting that she often hires stay-at-home parents who are returning to the workforce to be project managers at her company. “They’re great communicators, they know how to manage finances and they understand how to motivate people. It’s a skill set that transfers perfectly to project management.”

Charitable fundraiser

Those who raise money for nonprofits — whether through planning benefits or designing a fundraising campaign — use project management skills to reach their goals, Kirgis says.

“The business aspect of fundraising is huge,” she says, “from recruiting donors to selecting and managing event locations and all sorts of other tasks.”

Construction manager

“Many people don’t realize this, but the entire project management discipline originated on construction sites, and a lot of its technical terms come from that industry,” Freund notes. “Managing a budget, dealing with various stakeholders and getting it done on schedule are all part of the job,” he adds, whether you’re supervising a major undertaking or overseeing a simple kitchen remodel.

Marketing professional

Running a marketing campaign involves developing a timeline, managing a creative team, researching and generating advertising content, and getting materials out on time and on budget, Kirgis says. “This is an up-and-coming area right now,” she says, “especially for those who understand social media.”

Project Management Professional (PMP) is a registered trademark of Project Management Institute Inc.