Is being a Virtual Project Manager right for you?

If you can do a project manager job in an office, you can do it virtually. There is no reason why you should be restricted in the type of work that you seek, just because you have chosen to work remotely.

As a virtual project manager, you will be, on a daily basis, responsible for the management of the project. To that end, you have to be not just qualified:

But capable of overseeing and managing all aspects of the project, from the scope through to handover, and everything in between.

Companies, both large and small, are realising the benefits of being project-focussed. As they achieve more, and grow quicker, using projects to build their business, so the need for a qualified professional project manager will come up time and time again.

The larger the company and the more complex their operations, so they will require competent, reliable project management to ensure satisfactory completion of their projects. Ultimately, the more their projects are successful, the more they will use projects to build on that success, realising that there is a link between strategic intent and projects.

Industries that require Virtual Project Managers

Any industry, or business within that industry, that runs projects will require a Project Manager: from defence to food, finance to charity, there is no limit to where you could work. Although the majority of jobs can be found in engineering, construction, finance and marketing, your skills are transferable, so use them.

As long as you are the type of person who loves organising anything, be it resources or people, you will be very well suited to managing a project.

How a Virtual Project Manager can assist a business

Effective project management can increase a business’ efficiency and output. Project management isn’t the preserve of the construction and engineering world, whatever your business, or your requirement, if you are changing offices, implementing new software, expanding the team or just taking on more work, having a plan from the outset, whatever it is your project is for, and having someone who knows what they are doing when it comes to running a project, will greatly increase the chances of success.

The project manager will be so much more than just overseeing the project. They are the figurehead of the project, and as such, will have to be able to handle that responsibility, lead the team, ensure the project stays on track and within budget.

They can:

  • Create the plan (the scope of works) that needs to be done, assign tasks to each team member and let them know when they need to do those tasks.
  • Undertake a complete risk assessment and put a plan into place to manage these risks.
  • Motivate the team, regardless of whether they work together or they work remotely, great communication is the key to success.
  • Ensure the budget is adhered to and that deadlines are being met.
  • Simply be your right hand person, to take on any tasks that you don’t want to do, and ensure they are done.

How to find work as a Virtual Project Manager

 There are so many places you can search for Virtual Project Manager jobs:

  1. Go online. This is the first place you should be looking. Type into the search bar ‘virtual project manager job’ and wait for the results page to load. If you want to work in a specific industry, include its name in your search for virtual project manager jobs.
  2. Use LinkedIn. Build your profile so that it is abundantly clear that you are a virtual project manager, and SEO it for specific keywords such as ‘project manager’, ‘project management’, ‘virtual project manager’. Make sure you list your history and write a great ‘about you’ section. Join project management groups, ask questions, get involved and get connected to potential employers, or people who can recommend you for jobs.
  3. Network. It is highly unlikely you will come into this not knowing a single person who works in, or for, a business that could use a project manager.
  4. Use job boards. Register with job boards such as Reed or Indeed. Upload your CV to sites like Monster.
  5. Use the associations.
    1. Association for Project Management
    2. Project Management Institute
    3. International Project Management Association
  6. Search locally. Most large businesses will use the internet to find employees, most small businesses will not. Scour the job ads of your town’s newspaper.
  7. Be proactive. If you know the industry you want to get into, research it. Find companies within it that you would like to work for and proactively send them a copy of your CV and a cover letter detailing not just why you want to work for them, but what benefits you would bring to their organisation and why you would be a great fit for them.
    1. Do you have the same core values?
    2. Have you had experience in a similar field?

    You want them to want you to work for them, to wonder how they have come this far in life without having you onboard.

  8. Think outside of the box. Become the expert in your field. Start a blog, a podcast, a Vlog. Whatever you can do to share your expertise with the world and get your name known in the project management circles, that you would like to circulate in, do it. The more people who know you and know what you are capable of, the higher the chances that should a business be looking for a virtual project manager, you will be recommended for the job. Write for trade publications. Give talks at events.
  9. Reach out to former employers. If you parted on good terms, there is no reason why you can’t get back in touch and let them know that you are available for work. If they aren’t looking for a virtual project manager, maybe they know someone who might be. A recommendation from a former employer goes a long way in helping secure a job. It takes the hassle out of having to vet you by the HR department.

How do you know if the role you are applying for is right for you?

The key to job satisfaction is to consider not just the job itself, but what the job can afford you, look beyond your responsibilities and the salary (although both of those are definitely key considerations when choosing whether to take on a role or not). You want the job to fit in with your lifestyle and with who you are as a person.

 Don’t just apply for any project management role though, make sure you apply for one that is right for you:

  • Are you excited by the job and the prospect of doing it and working for the company who will be hiring you?
  • Does the work sound interesting and something that you will want to do on a frequent basis?
  • Will the hours suit you?
  • Is the salary enough for you?

 More than that though, consider:

  • The job content.
    • You will be doing this job on a daily basis, is it stimulating enough for you?
    • Does it challenge you in the right way?
    • Is it something you look forward to doing each day?
    • Does it allow you to put into practice those project management skills that you love using?
  • Who you will be working for. Not every person who requires a virtual project manager is going to be someone you could work alongside. And bearing in mind that you will be answering to them, and reporting to them on a near daily basis, your interaction with them will be quite frequent. If you don’t like them, or you can’t work with how they want you to work, is it really worth your sanity?
  • Culture of the organisation. You will be having to deal with all aspects of the business, when you are project managing the project. You will more than likely have to deal with different stakeholders and different team members. Does the wider company’s culture and values fit with yours? Or will you be fighting an uphill battle?

How do you know if the role might be wrong for you?

No job is perfect, but there are clear signs that the project management role might be wrong for you, so keep an eye out and act on them before it damages your health:

  • Everyday feels like groundhog day.
  • You have no job satisfaction and you resent the work you are doing and the people you are doing it for.
  • Your job doesn’t allow you to use your natural abilities and those virtual project management skills are lying by the wayside, slowly rusting due to lack of use.
  • You aren’t being challenged by the work.
  • Your work isn’t valued.

Finally, if you require further information, or you need to hire an experienced project manager, or are looking at getting coaching or mentoring in project management, then do get in touch.