You’ve been a project manager for a few years and life has been (for the most part) good. However, some things are less than perfect. Whether it’s the people or the pay, you’ve decided to launch a career search for another PM position elsewhere, and you could use a bit of a refresher.
Not to worry, these five tips will have you accepting a personally satisfying offer in no time.
1. Give the World a Snapshot
Rather than submitting your entire life on paper, give your prospective companies a snapshot. A one-page Curriculum Vitae (CV) serves as a timeline to highlight the most important educational, workplace, and awarded achievements during your career, no matter how long or short. You are free to decide which interval serves you best.
For instance, as an experienced project manager, you might divide your timeline into yearly increments. Someone fresh out of school might opt for a monthly spread and someone with a year or two of experience might choose three-month intervals. Once you’ve chosen your range, place rectangles or neat bubbles down the center of the page, vertically, to reflect these markers.
Horizontally, note distinguishing factors next to the appropriate month and year. You might elect to point out the date you successfully completed an important project, or the year you graduated from your Project Manager Professional (PMP) certification course. However, you elect to design it, your snapshot will give your prospective companies an idea of who they’re looking at before they dive into your resume. Combined with your manager cover letter and your credentials, the CV will bolster your odds of being contacted by the prospective company.
2. Nonspecific Experience Is Okay
Lots of aspiring project managers short themselves due to the belief that actual project management is the only experience that counts in an application. Realistically, lots of individuals don’t originally intend to become project managers; it’s something that sort of happens along the way.
By utilizing your application, resume, CV, and interview to elaborate on all of your experience and highlighting overlapping qualities and achievements, you’ll give the prospective company a more holistic picture of you as a person. The better a company thinks they understand you, the more likely they are to think favorably of you and begin to trust you. Trust is the basis for any sort of working relationship.
The bottom line is that all of your experience counts. This is particularly relevant if you’ve recently graduated from school and have limited experience in the professional world. If you worked at a gym while you were in school, emphasize your ability to form relationships, conduct quality customer service, and pitch sales authentically. Use the overlapping assets in your background to prove yourself worthy of a PM role. Almost anything that makes you unique is going to work in your favor.
3. Embrace the Interview
Project management is all about making decisions. If you can eloquently explain your decision-making thought process and the positive impact of those decisions in concrete terms, you’re on your way to getting hired. Prospective companies are going to be most interested in results. Take the time to dissect your resume based on results-based analysis (RBA) to practice associated hard results with each of your positions and responsibilities. When it comes time to interview, you’ll be armed with all of the information the company is most interested in.
4. Soft Skills are the Tiebreaker
If your prospective company is interviewing five different individuals for the position you want, they’re likely to line up credentials, education, experience, and results, for sure. However, they’ll probably dedicate a significant portion of the search to comparing soft skills. Project managers interact with people day in and day out, including superiors, colleagues, subordinates, and clients. Understanding how to manage and communicate with people effectively is critical.
Beyond managing individuals, a good PM has strategies for remaining cool under pressure. Deadlines are often hard and can be difficult to juggle. Time management, organization, and detail-oriented thought processes are among the most important that a PM can have.
In an interview, the panel may ask you about hypothetical situations or real situations that you’ve encountered in the past in order to demonstrate some or all of these qualities. Be ready with instances from your experience that will help to illustrate your expertise in these soft skill areas.
5. Hard Skills are Required
Fluency in Excel and PowerPoint are some of your best friends. You should have a working knowledge of computers; the more you can fix, the better. Technical certifications like a Project Management Professional (PMP) cert are often a plus, but sometimes companies will pay for you to get certified if you’re a great match in every other area. Ensure that your hard skills make it onto your CV and resume, and be prepared to answer questions about them during an interview.
While you’re job hunting for a project manager job, the most important thing you can remember is to be your authentic self. If you show the prospective company as much of the professional you as possible, rest assured that the right position will eventually surface. Remember your CV, nonspecific experience, interview tips, soft skills, and hard skills, and you’ll be set for your search.
Shift Frequency Publication – Educational Material © 2018