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Do you think exploring all industries is a good choice?

Hello! I am still not sure if being a "project manager" is a good fit for me. Currently, I am open to trying out internships in different industries. I want a job that is flexible to work with. Should I pick one industry to explore or should I pick what's available for me? I would love to connect on Linkedin to learn more about your careers.

Thank you comment icon I think I just answered two of your questions now! https://bit.ly/3w3unuw Keep 'em coming! Mike Ongchua

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Mike’s Answer

Do not explore ALL industries! This will lead you to analysis paralysis, trying to hit all targets at once, and ending up hitting something you didn't really like in the first place, or worse, none of them.

I say prioritize! Pick at least three (3) industries you wish to target, visualize yourself to be in that target industry, and then start working hard to be in your desired industry. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail; and if your plan is not specific enough, then that's not a smart goal. Later in life you can look back and share this with your kids with conviction as opposed to saying "I didn't really know how I got here, LOL."
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much, Mike! Shaina
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Mary’s Answer

As a recruiter for over 30 years I believe in applying to everything and then if they’re interested in you after your interview , you can make a decision which one is the best fit for you.
There are so many interns applying, you never know which employer will select you to interview .
Also apply early. I worked the early career college programs for interns and entry-level associates and the amount of applications we received were off the charts, but few were chosen.
Thank you comment icon Thank you for sharing your perspective. Although, I am not yet a college student. No company is willing to take a senior high school student for an internship. Shaina
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Andrew’s Answer

I would say that exploring all industries probably wouldn't be the wisest decision. I would try to narrow it down to a small list of everything that you are interested in and pursue those industries from there. It would also be very difficult to become knowledgeable in all industries. Focus on what you are passionate about!
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Marissa’s Answer

Hi Shaina,

I think it is a great idea to explore all industries. My engineering degree is in biomedical engineering, my first job as an engineer was designing oil tools, and now I work as a product manager in tech. Being a project manager has opened doors in so many industries. Learning project management teaches you how to influence others to get work done. Most senior-level positions are some form of project or program management anyways! My recommendation would be to look into becoming PMP certified - this is a certification recognized across industries as a badge that you know how to manage a project.

Since you are not yet in college, I would encourage you to explore a branch of engineering. While you may not end up as an "engineer", engineering degrees help teach you how to think and solve problems. Engineers make great project managers because you learn to identify what is wrong in a situation and come up with solutions.
Thank you comment icon I appreciate this, thank you for the advice. Shaina
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Jeff’s Answer

Hi Shaina. A couple of tips for you as you identify the sort of career path you would like to pursue. First, it sounds like you are seeking two needs, if Project Management (PM) is in your future AND what industry should you look into for this. To be successful in PM, you will need to develop skills in being organized, keeping people on task and communicating with multiple departments/people. Organizational skills can be learned fairly easily and there are many tools companies use to help. Any hiring company should be willing to provide training so you follow the practices and tools used by that company (Excel, Microsoft Project, SmartSheets are some very common PM tools), even for interns. Some harder challenges come when you are tasked with keeping people on task for their assignments and the willingness to advise about the risks the projects face when tasks are not completed or delayed by their key dates. Third, are you prepared to host meetings with all people involved in the project? Keep note, your goal as a project manager is to manage projects. You aren't typically the person doing the tasks, rather, you make sure they are getting done. Just like any job, there are challenges and that's a good thing. This is what helps you get better over time or find out if PM life isnt for you. Almost EVERY job you have, requires some level of project management skills. So these skills can be used in many other roles, too. Consider this as a potential to branch out if you desire to do so.

As for industries - keep note, just about every business has some sort of PM need, especially larger companies as they scale projects to larger business needs. What industries interest you? Telecom, Clothing, manufacturing, travel, sports, even schools need PMs. Think about what you would like to surround yourself with and if you could get close to something you enjoy, it makes being a PM a better opportunity. Watch for companies that are doing massive amounts of hiring, they need PMs to help manage hiring, training, etc. Start seeking businesses that you would enjoy first, and then start reaching for other industries/companies to get your name out there.

Wish you much luck. Life is a journey and there are many paths that will guide you in your career. Don't feel that you have to stick to one thing as you will discover much in the years ahead. Just make sure you take a step forward, and then another...repeat!
Thank you comment icon Thank you, Jeff! Shaina
Thank you comment icon I do agree that Project Management is an important skill. Thank you so much for the advice, Mr. Brayer! Shaina
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