The Project Manager profile
If working in the European projects field has always been your dream, then have you ever thought of becoming an EU Project Manager? It is an emerging professional figure that is growing in popularity, especially in Brussels – the capital of Europe.
At EU level, Project Managers can be found within EU Institutions, European Agencies as well as in Delegations of the European Commission in developing countries; at a smaller level, this job position can be in any public or private organisation that receives support from the EU for the implementation of its initiatives or that intends to set up a Grant Department for benefitting from EU funds (i.e. Chambers of Commerce, NGOs, SMEs, Universities and schools, Municipalities, Associations, …).
But let us show you more in detail the profile of the Project Manager. Who is he? A change agent: by using his negotiation expertise, analytical and research skills, he inspires a sense of shared purpose within the project team. Therefore, nowadays being able to communicate effectively – both verbally and on paper – is a key aspect for a successful Project Manager. Think about it: if you have good communication skills, you will be able to express your points clearly, interact with your teammates and colleagues well, and make compelling presentations of your projects. It also means that there will be less room for misunderstandings or mistakes. Organisational and teamwork skills are equally important, especially for the presentation of a coherent EU project. However, it is not enough: good personal abilities should be backed by deep knowledge of technical terms and notions in order to carry out the assignments – words like Logical Framework Approach, Terms of reference, Progress report are just some of the basis for this profession.
More concretely, among the mansions the Project Manager there are: administration and management of the projects, the monitoring EU policies and funding programmes, the identification of calls for proposals, and the structuring of project ideas and drafting of EU projects. Another key aspect of this figure is the willingness to travel and the ability to work in a multicultural environment.
At this point, what is the ideal background for this job? The EU provides funding for a broad range of projects and programmes, covering areas like regional and urban development, agriculture, research and innovation for example. Therefore, the academic background of a Project Manager varies greatly depending on the field of work. Considering the IMES experience, participants are students coming from all over the world and holding different degrees: for sure, the most common are in Law, International Relations or Political Sciences; however, we have also had students specialised in Environmental Sciences, Modern Languages, or Biomedical Sciences for instance. So you see, your education should not hold you back from transforming your passion into work!
Expanding the topic, it is significant to underline also the importance of lifelong learning, because taking care of a project not always is a piece of cake. For this reason, it is useful to learn new tricks on how to manage the budget for the project, or to better relate with the team of professionals, or again to be a better intermediary with the consortium or the European Commission. IMES is just one of the many resources out there that give you the possibility to continue to grow; other options for having more aces on your sleeves are training courses and first-hand experience.
Have we sparked your interest? Then don’t wait any longer and become the employee the future needs!