Juggling the demands of a combined honours degree gave Aidoia the skills to succeed in project management
How did you get into project management?
My combined honours degree saw me studying Spanish and Latin American studies alongside media and communication studies. After graduating in 2015, I couldn't find the perfect role within the creative industries so I temped through a recruitment agency and started working in the professional services sector.
While my degree is not directly relevant to my role as project co-ordinator, some of the practical skills I learned through studying really helped, such as organisation, time management and working to deadlines.
What's a typical day like?
Under the guidance of area directors I work on a project to close down one of the business growth service programmes. I am corresponding with three years' worth of service participants and associated coaches.
I use software such as customer relationship management (CRM) to create reports and spreadsheets to send out letters highlighting claim deadlines to clients. It's useful to be confident when using IT systems in this job.
As required, I have supported other projects including the European Regional Development Fund co-ordination, as well as the finance department and corporate administration projects, resolving discrepancies of duplicate supplier accounts and invoices, alongside mail merging and data cleansing.
The role is varied and there are multiple deadlines to meet at any one time.
What do you enjoy about your job?
I love being able to organise my work and I enjoy the freedom to manage my own projects. Setting goals has helped me to keep my work on track.
My job has also taught me a lot about the professional services sector. This is the largest office I have worked in and it's been great to get an insight into how this type of business is run.
What are the most challenging parts?
Dealing with difficult clients is always challenging. I have overcome this challenge by being patient when speaking with clients. The more client relationships I have developed in my role, the more confident I have become in dealing with difficult situations when they arise.
How has your role developed?
I started as a project administrator but, after some changes within the business, my role changed to project co-ordinator. This progression enabled me to take on a variety of new tasks, which I enjoy.
What advice would you give to others?
I recommend gaining experience within your sector of interest. It was all new to me when I started, however professional services has a range of career prospects and I have already progressed from my initial role to take on more responsibility as project co-ordinator.