If you’ve worked in other industries as a project manager then you might assume that transitioning into construction project management is a simple step, after all project management skills are highly transferable. However, this is not always the case, whilst your core skills will stand you in good stead in any industry there will be new things to learn for a new industry.
Why might you consider a change of industry?
There are a number of reasons you may want a change; you may be looking for the challenge of something completely different or you may have lost your current job and rather than restrict your search for a new one be looking at all industries. This is actually a great way for a project manager to gain vital experiences that will help them progress their career and teach them new skills whilst still using the ones they already have.
Do some research
Before you make the move to construction project management do plenty of research and make sure it is right for you. If you decide it is this research can not only help you at interview but also once you start a new role. Ask around and gain as much knowledge as you can. You could also see if there is a professional organisation that you may be eligible to join. If they have a magazine, a website or even discussion boards then this will provide you with a great source of information. You might want to look for information from professional organisations such as the Association for Project Management or any industry-specific organisations as well.
Add to your learning
As a project manager you are continually learning, and it is important to back this on the job learning up with certification. Enrol in training courses for project managers and expand on the knowledge that you already have. This is a good way to show potential employers that you are serious about furthering your career and willing to learn new things in order to do so. If you can find courses linked to project management in your new industry, then that is even better.
Make the effort to meet up with people who already work in your target industry. This will allow you to network and share information and tips. You may also be able to find a mentor this way who will hopefully want to share industry experience and knowledge with you. Having a mentor is in fact a good thing whether you are looking to move industry or not so if you do not already have one it is something to investigate.
From one industry to the next you will notice differences in jargon and even terminology. Take some time to familiarise yourself with some of the new words and acronyms, remember some of the things you have been using for years may just have a completely different meaning in the construction world.