Skills Needed for a Project Coordinator
Are you thinking of hiring someone to manage your company's projects? Perhaps you want to become a project coordinator yourself? Either way, it's important to know what it takes to succeed in this role. The ability to multitask, attention to detail and familiarity with risk management are all key project coordinator skills.
To succeed as a project coordinator, it's important to be results driven, have an analytical mindset and possess the ability to multitask, among other key skills.
First of all, make sure you understand the difference between project coordinators and project managers. Project managers plan, initiate and supervise the execution of a project. They are ultimately responsible for its success or failure. Key project manager skills and competencies include:
- Strong leadership skills.
- Interpersonal skills.
- Problem-solving skills.
- Critical-thinking skills.
- Financial planning.
- Risk-management skills.
- Negotiation skills.
- Ability to communicate effectively.
These professionals supervise entire teams, coach others and negotiate the use of resources. They know how to create a project schedule, anticipate potential issues and set realistic budgets. Their work begins before a project starts.
The skills required for a project manager are similar to those required for a project coordinator. Project coordinators, though, have different responsibilities, and it is more of an entry-level role. As a project coordinator, you will assist the project manager, develop project strategies and undertake tasks as required. Your day-to-day responsibilities will include scheduling and organizing projects, keeping records, communicating with team members and performing administrative duties.
The primary role of project coordinators is to ensure that all projects are well-organized and get completed on time and within the budget. Their work requires multitasking, attention to detail and strong communication skills. These professionals are self-motivated, results driven and organized. In addition to soft skills, they need industry-specific knowledge as well as experience in word processing, accounting, reporting and basic math.
Project coordinators assist the project manager and delegate tasks to other departments and team members. They are also responsible for identifying ways to reduce expenses and increase the project’s profitability. Depending on the job requirements, they may need to organize team meetings, provide administrative support and create reports. Some of the most desirable project coordinator skills and attributes include but are not limited to:
- Documentation management.
- Procurement management.
- Analytical and problem-solving abilities.
- Negotiation skills.
- Interpersonal and communication skills.
- Team-management skills.
- Finance and accounting skills.
- Organizational skills.
- Strong Microsoft Office skills.
- Ability to sort out details.
These professionals coordinate "on the ground" operations such as preparing meetings and updating the team members. Project managers, by comparison, focus on the project as a whole.
If you're planning to work as a project coordinator, you'll only need a high school diploma. However, most employers require a bachelor's degree or relevant certifications in business, marketing or communications. For example, aspiring project coordinators who wish to work in the IT industry may need a certificate in software development.
A good start is to take courses in project management. Several public and private institutions offer certifications in this area. The Project Management Institute, for instance, provides a wide range of courses for different skill levels, including the PMP (Project Management Professional) and PgMP (Program Management Professional).
Some certifications, such as the PMP, require formal education and several years of experience in the field. For others, you'll need an associate degree or just a high school diploma. These certifications can help expand your knowledge and give you a competitive edge in the job market. Consider doing administrative work or managing smaller projects to gain experience and increase your chances of success.