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Eight Project Management Skills to Boost Your Career

Revised: December 15, 2023

Regardless of your profession, project management skills are fundamental for success. You will inevitably encounter a project planning or coordination task at some point in your career, making basic skills in this area incredibly beneficial. In this article, we will explain why project management skills matter and provide expert tips to elevate your expertise.

Why Do Project Management Skills Matter?

Whether you're working as a project manager or asked to take on a one-time project management role, having some essential skills can make or break the success of your project. With the right know-how, you'll have a better chance of delivering your projects on time and within budget. Meanwhile, you'll be able to build some meaningful relationships between stakeholders and team members.

Core Competencies vs. Technical Skills: Which Is More Important?

Core competencies or soft skills for project managers are undoubtedly important, as are strong technical skills. But which is more vital when it comes to managing the ins and outs of a project?

There is no correct answer here, as it ultimately depends on the scope of the project and the exact situation. In some cases, core competencies (such as communication and conflict resolution skills) will take a project further. Other times, more technical skills (such as proficiency with time management tools) will make more of a difference.

Eight Essential Project Management Skills

Project managers require various skills to effectively manage a project from beginning to end:

 1. Communication

No matter how many other team members and stakeholders are involved in a project, you can't expect to accomplish much without solid communication and interpersonal skills. You need to effectively communicate deadlines, expectations, and other directions to your team at all times. Likewise, communication skills make it easier to mediate conflict when it arises and keep everyone on the same page.

2. Leadership

Solid leadership skills are also a must when managing a project of any size. Effective leadership involves motivating and supporting team members while providing guidance throughout a project.

3. Risk Management

Taking on any project comes with inherent risk, and the most effective project managers foresee and weigh potential risks before moving forward. These individuals are also skilled at evaluating options and implementing measures to minimize the risk, thereby increasing the likelihood of attaining a successful outcome.

 4. Time Management

By their very nature, projects often have many different moving parts at once. To keep initiatives on-task and on schedule, project managers need solid time management skills. These same skills need to be passed on to team members so they can implement them and keep their parts of the project on schedule.

5. Budgeting

A project manager is also in charge of keeping the project on budget, so having a background in budgeting and financial planning is a plus here. Creating and sticking to a realistic budget will prevent overspending.

6. Adaptability

Things can change in the blink of an eye when working on a project; thus, the most successful project managers can think quickly on their feet, adapting as needed to keep things moving in the right direction.

7. Problem-Solving

Adaptability and problem-solving go hand in hand. The ability to come up with quick and practical solutions to challenges as they arise can keep projects on schedule and budget, even when things get tricky and complex.

8. Attention to Detail

As a project manager, attention to detail is crucial for success. An effective project manager sees the bigger picture and understands how each piece fits into the puzzle.

How to Improve Project Management Skills

Are you ready to improve your project management skills? Whether you need to work on your leadership skills, critical thinking, task management, or anything in between, there are a few steps you can take to start strengthening your project management skills today.

Professional Development

Start by researching and taking advantage of professional development opportunities available to you. If you need to build confidence in public speaking, for example, consider enrolling in a public speaking workshop or class or get out of your comfort zone with a presentation opportunity in your field. Check with HR for available professional development options, and suggest your ideas to supplement them. Showing initiative demonstrates your dedication to professional growth and signals your commitment to success.


A little networking can go a long way to establishing your project management skills. Growing your professional network could inherently open doors to involvement in more projects, allowing you to put some of your skills and methodologies into practice.

Gaining Hands-On Experience

Nothing helps you build upon your project management skills better than gaining experience. Consider whether there may be any upcoming opportunities for you to manage a project at your current workplace. Even if it's something small and seemingly insignificant, putting these fundamental skills into practice can help you identify your strengths and work on your weaknesses.

Seeking a Mentor

Sometimes, learning directly from an experienced project manager is the best way to empower your growth. Consider finding a mentor within your workplace or elsewhere who will take you under their wing and help show you the proverbial ropes. Having a mentor is an excellent way to improve project management skills at work. A mentor will allow you to ask questions and gain new insights.

Staying Up to Date on Trends and Tools

The realm of project management is constantly evolving. New trends and technologies regularly emerge that change how leaders manage teams and spearhead projects. The best way to embrace these tools and make the most of them is to stay on top of the latest innovations.

How Does a Certificate in Project Management Help?

Did you know that you can become certified in project management? Several schools and colleges offer certifications, including Champlain College Online’s Project Management Certificate and the Project Management Institute (PMI). These certifications could be an ideal way to:

  • Enhance your resume
  • Improve job prospects with a competitive edge
  • Demonstrate your commitment to professional development
  • Validate your knowledge and expertise

Get Certified and Showcase Your Skills

Building up your project management skills isn't something that will happen overnight. To become skilled in project management, gradually develop your abilities through practical experience. Consider enrolling in a project management certificate program – helping you refine your skills and confidently manage projects of varying sizes and complexities.

Champlain College Online is proud to provide an undergraduate certificate in project management that is available 100 percent online for your convenience. Want to take things a step further? We also offer an online bachelor's degree program in business management with project management. Learn more about our online degree and certificate programs at CCO by reaching out to request more information

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Champlain College Online

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