How to Set Yourself Apart Series: Project Manager

Monday, January 15, 2024

How to Set Yourself Apart Series: Project Manager

The project manager a client chooses can make or break their success. Many prospective clients know this and, as a result, are extremely picky about the project managers they consider. They may be looking for certifications, reviews, examples of past projects – or all three and then some.

How can you assure each potential client that you are exactly the project manager they are looking for?

Find Your Unique Value Proposition

As a project manager, one of the most important ways to set yourself apart is to target a particular niche. While many project management skills can be applied to a wide variety of company sizes and product types, niching down will show prospective clients in those areas that you are serious about what you do and can specifically help them.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself to find your unique value proposition:

  • What is the common thread between the clients I’ve delivered the best results for?
  • What industries do I have the most experience in?
  • What types of products am I most passionate about?
  • What project length works best for my schedule and work style?
  • How can I show off my skills the best?
  • Which compliments do I receive the most from my clients after completing a project?

Writing down the answers to these questions is a great first step to finding your niche. Once you’ve done that, review your answers and look for themes. For example, do you always come back to D2C products and brands? Are you deeply passionate about a certain category of non-profit? These themes can point you in the right direction.

Then, use those themes to your advantage as you write proposals. The right kind of passion and background knowledge can make all the difference as you compete to be a potential client’s top choice as their new project manager.

Consider Adding Technology to Your Service

There are many different ways to use specific technology to stand out! Some great places to start include getting certifications from relevant platforms, offering access to software you already pay for, and referring to the technology a client already uses in your proposal.

First, getting certifications from relevant platforms. Like many free tools, project management software platforms may offer free academies you can use to gain certifications to use their tools. While these types of training are not usually required to use the platform, having the certifications and adding them to your LinkedIn profile can show prospective clients that you are versatile and able to jump into whatever organization software they already use.

Second, you can offer clients access to software that you already pay for and use. For example, you may offer to add clients and their teams as guests to your Slack workspace, share a project management software you use with them for the project, or host team meetings on your own meeting link.

Third, referring to the technology a client already uses in your proposal is a great way to show that you’ve researched thoroughly and are interested in the position. For example, if they require that you are proficient in certain software, you may mention a specific feature you like in that software and how you would use it as their project manager.

These aren’t the only ways that you can set yourself apart with technology, but they’re great places to start adding to your skill set.

Upskill As Much As You Can

In addition to learning about new types of software that may be relevant to your job, there are other kinds of learning that may be relevant. Some examples of skills you may want to add to your resume include:

  • Experience with team management, such as remote team management, conflict resolution, and effective communication.
  • Project scheduling, including but not limited to time management, deadline maintenance, and breaking down large tasks into smaller milestones.
  • Learn how to fill in gaps that may frequently exist in projects you manage, such as brief writing, pitching additional related projects, and proofreading.
  • Public speaking, such as sharing the completed project with a client’s client or leading a meeting where you cast the vision for the project to the team you’ll be working with.

As you add these skill sets to your resume, they will help you stand out as a well-rounded professional that can be trusted to learn new things and excel in any task.

Make Saying “Yes” to You Easy

While it’s important to make a great first impression with your resume and proposal, it’s also important to make it easy for the client to say yes to working with you! No matter how much they like your experience or style, if there is too much friction to start working with you, they may move on to the next candidate.

Here are the questions you can ask yourself to help employers say “yes” to you:

  • Am I responsive when clients say they want to work with me?
  • Did I reach out to the decision-maker and make sure they’re in the loop?
  • Is onboarding each client seamless?
  • What needs can I anticipate in the early stages of each project?
  • How can I streamline my operations to make onboarding easier for everyone?
  • What questions should I ask early on to prevent roadblocks down the line?
  • How can I quickly integrate myself into a new team?

The easier you make it for clients to engage with you and add you to their workflow, the more likely they’ll recommend you and come back the next time they have a project! Each time you tackle one of these questions, you’re improving your customer experience, which will always help you achieve your business goals.

More Tips From Matcha Design in Tulsa

Every project manager’s journey is different, but I hope the lessons I’ve learned over the years managing projects from schoolwork all the way through the client work I do now will help you succeed.

Some of the best pieces of advice I can give project managers are:

  • Study emotional intelligence. Knowing when to take a deep breath can be the difference between victory and struggle.
  • Surround yourself with people you want to be like. Sharing experiences, book or podcast recommendations, and new tools with others pursuing the same goals can help you continue to learn and grow as a professional project manager.
  • Share your passion with clients. Often, clients will be excited to see someone as passionate about their work as they are!
  • Practice creative problem-solving. From games like Sudoku to learning about game theory, it’s a great idea to practice creative problem-solving in ways that are fun and engaging to you. This practice will make it easier to apply problem-solving methods in your work as things come up.

To learn more about how to set yourself apart in a busy marketplace, check out the check out the Matcha Design blog or join our email list (you can scroll to the bottom of the page to subscribe)!

About Matcha Design

Matcha Design is a full-service creative B2B agency with decades of experience executing its client’s visions. The award-winning company specializes in web design, logo design, branding, marketing campaign, print, UX/UI, video production, commercial photography, advertising, and more. Matcha Design upholds the highest personal standards for excellence and can see things from a unique perspective due to its multicultural background.  The company consistently delivers custom, high-quality, innovative solutions to its clients using technical savvy and endless creativity. For more information, visit MatchaDesign.com.

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