If you're planning to work your way up the ladder of success in project management then it goes without saying that you should be gaining professional qualifications. Basic qualifications are the first step on the rung of the career ladder and the more advanced credentials will help further along the way. But are qualifications enough? What else can you do to get ahead?
Value your experience
When looking for a new role either in an existing company or elsewhere, many people under-value the experience they already have and how it can help them move forward in their career. Employers will certainly look for certifications but they will also be looking for experience; proof that you have dealt with real-life situations and don't just have theoretical knowledge.
Be a business person, not just a project manager
Remember there are people who don't really understand project management so you need to be able to communicate in their language if you want to get ahead. Essentially you need to speak the same business language as the people who could help advance your career. Try to discuss matters in general business terms and combine this with general project management terms that anyone would understand.
Don't be narrow minded
There are some project managers who believe they should rigidly follow a methodology, regardless of whether or not it's right for a particular project. This approach could be detrimental to the project you are working on so it is important to maintain an open mind and apply the right tools for the job.
Try to approach a difficult and complex project with courage and enthusiasm. Volunteer for challenging projects and you're sure to get noticed quickly by senior management (hopefully for the right reasons). You should also make sure you remain positive when issues or problems arise within a project. Look for solutions and inspire the team to keep going, after all, what company doesn't value a problem solver?
Know your personal goals
Don't be afraid of letting those around you know what you want to achieve. If senior management don't know you want to progress, they may not consider you for potential openings. There may also be opportunities you weren't aware of because of assumptions made about your career goals. Ensure everyone knows what your intentions are so that you stand the best chance of progressing.
Don't be the bad guy
A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that nice guys finish last. Sometimes when you're extremely focused on meeting targets it can be easy to discount other peoples' emotions and feelings. This attitude just means you won't get the best out of your team; remember it does pay to be the nice guy and you will see better results when you're kind and courteous to those around you.
A certification in Project Management will help you advance in your career.