How often have you heard the complaint “I can’t seem to get a junior project management job out there.  Everyone is looking for experience.”?

I feel for the new project managers entering our industry. Many have made a huge commitment in their PM education and want to get a basic job in project management – but it seems that very few companies are hiring at that level these days.

Welcome back to my summer blog series based on Brad Egeland’s ( article that appeared in early July entitled ‘11 Reasons Why My Project Manager Is Better Than Yours’.   

Last week’s post was titled “Financials Make It Or Break It”

This week we deal with the rookies out there.

Brad writes…

“First-time Project Managers are not a bad thing. Plan your staff so that you have some good mentors in there. You can save dollars on staffing and still be growing the type of staff you want and need. Experience must come from somewhere. Sometimes it is best if you give the experience yourself. Or at least help guide it and grow it. Worked for me a long time ago!”

I love this. I think Brad is dead on.  We were all rookies once upon a time and someone gave us a chance.  Back when many of us started in this space, project management was new to most organizations. There were opportunities at all levels and in huge numbers. We had it relatively easy.

The difference these days is that project management is entrenched in most of our organizations and there is not a lot of growth in terms of the numbers being hired. It is basically, in my opinion, a very stable industry.

So how can we help?  Rookies are a good thing, says Brad.  All of our organizations should be hiring junior project managers as often as they can – regardless of their experience.

Brad also mentions the word mentors. This is a great point. Hiring junior PMs gives everyone else on the team an opportunity to teach, mentor and coach. These are all skill sets and attributes of great leaders and thus we are feeding the other end of the spectrum with our juniors.

So the next time the rookie, with some training under their belt, knocks on your door – open it.  You’re doing a good deed for the industry and for your future leaders and you might just be very pleasantly surprised.  Rookies ARE a good thing.

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