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Zöe Moreland and Joe Tinsley – Strategies for progressing a career in Project Management

Black and white headshots of Zöe Moreland and Joe Tinsley

Dive into the world of Project Management with two professionals at different stages in their career.

Zöe Moreland, Principal Project Manager and Joe Tinsley, Apprentice Project Manager have unique career perspectives, strategies to thrive in today’s competitive job market and the pivotal role of continuous learning for those at the beginning of their career.


What led you into a career Project Management?

Joe: After studying business at college for 2 years, I knew Project Management was an area I wanted to explore in the future. I always preferred the idea of an apprenticeship instead of studying at university as I wanted to gain experience as I learned. Tetra Tech provided a fantastic opportunity for me to join as an apprentice Project Manager where I have now been for 1 year.

Zöe: It happened quite unexpectedly actually. After university, I started a job at a nuclear facility that had nothing to do with project management. I put in a lot of effort in to understand the nuclear industry, even though it was a completely new and complex field. Eventually, a Senior Programme Manager I was working with noticed my potential and offered me a chance to start a project management career as a project assistant. I eagerly seized the opportunity and haven’t looked back in 9 years.


What key strategies can Project Managers employ to advance their careers in today’s competitive job market?

Joe: From an Apprentices’ point of view, seeking diverse experiences within and beyond your organisation, as this will not only set you apart in a highly competitive market but will also help to foster personal and professional growth, enhancing your capabilities as both an individual and Project Manager.

Zöe: Your career stage matters, but some key strategies apply universally. A mentor, whether formal, informal or just an office friend, can offer invaluable insights, you can learn something from anyone. Don’t underestimate soft skills, which are often overlooked in formal training. Try to develop strong communication, leadership, and interpersonal abilities, essential in project management roles. Finally, focus on delivering tangible results and meeting project goals. Demonstrating your ability to deliver successful projects to cost and budget can set you apart in the job market.


What role does continuous learning and skill development play in a Project Manager’s career progression strategy?

Joe: Continuous learning and skill development is important, especially early in your career. Showcasing your commitment to learning and skill enhancement can make a lasting impression on colleagues within your organisation, signaling your readiness for career advancement and paving the way for your future success.

Zöe: For a project manager’s career growth, continuous learning and skill development are a must and keeping up with your chosen industries trends and tools is key. It helps you stay adaptable and shows your commitment to improvement, making you more valuable to employers. Whether through certifications like APM, honing leadership and teambuilding skills, or embracing new technology, ongoing learning is vital as it demonstrates your commitment to the profession.


In your experience, what are the most effective ways for Project Managers to network and build valuable professional relationships?

Joe: Attending events is a great way of meeting new people and creating professional relationships with others. Not only does this facilitate the expansion of your professional network but also opens doors to new opportunities that can potentially advance your career.

Zöe: Build a strong professional network by attending industry events, joining Project Management associations, and connecting with peers on platforms like LinkedIn. Connections can come from unlikely places or chance encounters too, so always try to take the opportunity to help or listen or connect with peers from all professions and career stages. A good way to do this is to become a mentor yourself.


What strategies should Project Managers consider when seeking opportunities for leadership roles within their organisations?

Joe: Gaining insights from individuals who have occupied or currently hold leadership positions is invaluable for your personal and professional development. Their wisdom and experience can provide you with valuable guidance, significantly enhancing your chances of success. Additionally, conducting thorough research into the responsibilities and requirements of the role enables you to strategise how to be the ideal candidate.

Zöe: Try to gather feedback from both colleagues and superiors. Consistently striving to improve is crucial for advancing your career and gaining insight into how others perceive you, which is essential to know if you are right for the opportunity. Additionally, be proactive by assuming additional responsibilities showcasing leadership potential and initiative. Initiate problem-solving efforts and maintain a record of significant successes, failures, and the lessons gained to build your evidence portfolio.

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