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How to become a project coordinator with no experience

By Fi Darby

If you’re great at organising and love seeing a plan through from beginning to end, you’d probably make a great project coordinator. Project coordinators usually report to a project manager and are responsible for the smooth running and efficiency of a wide variety of projects. They work across many different industries, with teams of people to make sure a job gets done. 

It’s possible to become a project coordinator even if you haven’t got formal project coordinator experience. Employers in this field are looking for a specific set of knowledge, skills and personality traits. If you can demonstrate these you stand a good chance of selection. If you can add relevant project management qualifications to your resume, your chances of success will be even better. SkillsTalk answer your questions on how to become a project coordinator with no experience.

What are the prospects for project coordinator roles?

Project coordinators work across a wide range of industries including public administration and safety, construction and information technology. Over time, they develop a useful set of transferable skills. This means that their employment prospects in one of Australia’s ‘very large’ occupations are good. In May 2019,  there were 116,700 ‘Contract, Program and Project Administrators’ (project coordinators) working across Australia (source: LMIP Australia).

Which personality traits do I need to be a project coordinator?

team brainstorming

Project coordinators work closely with other people from all walks of life. Different personalities respond to different approaches and the most successful project coordinators have great emotional intelligence. If you’re thinking about how to become a project coordinator, you might want to check your own personality traits against the list below:
  • Are you a good verbal and written communicator?
  • Can you motivate yourself and other people?
  • Are you thorough and organised in your work?
  • Are you good at managing your own time?
  • Can you listen to and understand the needs of others?
  • Are you as good at looking at the big picture as you are at studying the details?
If you can answer ‘yes’ to the questions above, chances are you may have the type of personality for the role of project coordinator. One thing you might want to start doing is thinking about how you can demonstrate these traits both in a job application and at an interview.

Which specific project coordinator skills do I need?

All project coordinators need to build a certain level of understanding in the industry that they’re working in. They also need a set of wider skills in order to help them manage the people, circumstances and fine details involved in their projects. These wider skills might vary slightly from project to project but usually include:
  • Problem solving: dealing positively and proactively with issues as and when they arise
  • Planning: creating and managing scheduling systems such as Gantt charts
  • Procurement management: purchasing for the right price, the goods needed to complete a job
  • Team management: facilitating the smooth, safe and effective working of different teams
  • Accounting: keeping accurate records and working within a given budget
  • Document management: using systems to store and access key electronic files
  • Coordination: being the central point of contact for multiple stakeholders
Don’t worry if the list above does not exactly match your current skillset. Some of the skills required to be a project coordinator come from experience but others can be learned through further training. For example, Upskilled’s BSB40920 - Certificate IV in Project Management Practice is a first step, online course. This qualification includes units on project procurement procedures, time-management techniques and human resources management.

What’s the picture for project coordinator salaries?

project management concept

Project coordinators work at different levels and this is reflected in their salary range. Salary factors will include the industry, your experience, your project coordinator skills and your qualifications. The average Australian salary for a project coordinator is $70,000 (source: Seek). If you’re  just starting out, you’ll be looking at salaries between $40,000 and $50,000. As you progress further in your role, you may be able to earn as much as $140,000. 

Gaining experience as a project coordinator is also a great step towards moving into a project manager role. As you grow in experience and gain further qualifications, you can develop the skills and knowledge that is well suited for these higher paid management positions. The average salary of a project manager in Australia is currently between $120,000 and $140,000 but this role does involve additional responsibility and management obligations.

How can I make my resume stand out in a project coordinator application?

With the above personality traits and job skills, it’s possible to become a project coordinator without experience. However, demonstrating traits and skills on a resume isn’t as easy as presenting additional qualifications. By completing training in project management, you can establish both your willingness to learn and some key recognisable project management skills to potential employers.

It’s worth noting that a third of Australian project coordinators are educated to Bachelor degree level (source: JobOutlook). However, entry into the industry with a Certificate or Diploma level qualification is also possible. For a rewarding career experience, on-going training is available and recommended alongside on-the-job experience. Online project management courses present an excellent option for anyone who wants to become a project coordinator with no experience. Online study is flexible in that you can choose where and when to study, helping you balance your current work and personal commitments. 

Upskilled offers a range of project management courses including their BSB50820 - Diploma of Project Management which offers a high-level understanding of project coordination techniques and methods. A real confidence builder for any business leader, this course includes a comprehensive range of units including:
  • Managing project time
  • Managing project cost
  • Managing people performance
  • Managing stakeholder engagement
A project coordinator role is an exciting career option that has the potential for you to develop a highly regarded set of multi-industry skills. In a changing economic climate, adaptability is going to continue to be key to future success. It’s possible to become a project coordinator with no experience, especially for those who are prepared to improve their existing skillset and consider additional training and qualifications. Are you prepared to take the next step along this rewarding career path?
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