These days, we let our own candidates tell you how they went from no or very little practical work experience to securing a project management or business analysis role. It is better to hear it from someone who has been there done that and learn from them. Here is kat Young’s amazing story and tips on what you should and not do. 31 of our candidates secured jobs last month. On average 20 candidates secure PM and BA jobs each month. Find out why through Kat’s story.
I started with DBT in 2013 after working as a Prince 2 Project Manager since 2007. I wanted to upgrade my skills as a Business Analyst after being recommended to attend your course by a close friend Akin.
The first training day was a little overwhelming. I already had Project Management experience but there was a lot to take in and I watched the videos and paused them and took notes created quizzes for myself for what I understood and didn’t.
I did (I bet you remember) ask loads of questions but most learned from the practical experience and my peers in particular Toyin, Yemi, Kingsley, Nordica, Yetunde, Olafund, Shola. I really learned from people on my team like and the competing teams. If they won over my team I took notes on their efforts.
I learned most from the humiliating presentations when we were thrashed. I felt you were a little hard at times. Hindsight and experience has proved that this experience is the best preparation for a Project Management environment you could get with no prior knowledge. You did mention this however I learned you are employed to hit the ground running. Ultimately work hard and always seen to be a ‘doer’ and a results driven individual
It was tough at times getting onto Projects but I learned persistence is key, I must be honest I self-reflected that this was my opportunity for my career development. DBT is a ‘work based learning’ environment and you are there to learn, not be liked. The market place is saturated with qualified experienced individuals experienced.
I have since secured contracting and permanent roles as a SharePoint Analyst, Senior Business Analyst and a PMO Manager with companies such as Arcadia Group, Candy & Candy, John Lewis, OCS and now offer Consultancy.
Exploring the following has been extremely helpful over the last 5 years;
-Do not go into a role expecting to revolt and change everything
-Learn the key documents which are relevant to your role
-Read any relevant resources, company reports and recent
-If your background is not Project Management etc, review your current skills from previous roles and how they can be translated to a Project environment. For instance administrator= Project Coordinator and so on
-Review previous minutes and meet with all team members on a 1-1 basis (if possible)
-Learn the organisational acronyms or key terms
-Do your research before an interview and have 3 examples on projects you have worked on which worked well and which did not work well. They will want to understand how you manage conflict resolutions
-Ensure that you have examples of industry software packages you have used
-Review lessons learned logs (to ensure you do not make any mistakes and ensure you continue what is working well)
-Check the team Dynamics
-If your role is Senior or a Department lead, value the opinions of your team, ask and do not tell and LISTEN
-Review KPI’s to ensure you are conversant and compliant
-Review the companies Governance and Strategy statements
-I have a few marketing tips with google which can keep you abreast of your company in the news
-Understand the Project requirements and resources (you are one of them)
-Get noticed for being someone that has a can do attitude and who is results driven- Most roles are contract and if you do this, you will be ‘known’ and sought out for any new projects
– NEVER say you can do something TECHNICAL if you cannot, get trained
-NEVER say no to a task (non-technical) if you cannot do it, seek a mentor or get trained. You learn most from the things you cannot do
-Look into the Companies culture and history; are they traditional or innovative
As much as prospective candidates want to get a job, it is imperative that all should seek experience. It is pertinent to yourself and the DBT brand that you do not lie to get interviews. I have contact with many agencies and recruiters and there seems to be some rogue students (some who have never been on the course) applying for roles. This has resulted with me/as I am sure others being interrogated on my experience and what other candidates have said. Please continue your CPD (continuing professional development) and ensure that you assist wherever you can.
The project management field pays highly thus many technical roles require presentations, tests and skills audits. You will be wasting your time going to interviews if your do not have the experience. This will be detrimental to other DBT candidates and yourself as you will be ‘known’ by the agencies/head-hunters. The project management /digital marketplace is growing and innovation evolving know your stuff! Be warned.
Do not waste your time lying. Get stuck in, get your hands dirty, and invest in yourself and your growth. Learn and help your peers.
I intend to commence mentoring and continuing developing my professional experience in Project Management in conjunction with DBT.
I wish you and all prospective candidate and graduates every success for the future
Now it’s your turn.
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