How to Land Your Dream Project Manager Role

Project management is a growing field across many industries, including technology, IT, finance, law, and healthcare. According to a recent study, project management is expected to grow 33% by 2027, adding 22 million jobs. That same study also looked at the labor market to fill those roles and found an emerging talent gap. Now is the time to begin investing in your project management skills to position yourself for a future career.

Project managers have been essential to businesses, like construction, for many decades. However, industries are increasingly seeing the value of having a team member dedicated to organizing, planning, and executing a project within its time and budget constraints. For example, in information technology where technology projects are increasing in complexity and budget, project managers are relied on more than ever. This is further supported by growth expectations from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. They expect computer and information system manager positions to increase by 15% over the next ten years. If you want to join this growing and engaging field, let’s examine the skills you need and how to best position yourself for your ideal project manager role.

Build the Skills

Successful project managers (PMs) are typically balanced in their hard and soft skills. When it comes to hard skills, PMs need to be able to manage a project’s risks and finances. They should be able to create a P&L forecast, manage costs, and run a risk analysis. These are the tactical skills needed to keep a project on track and within budget. Depending on the industry, project managers may also need to understand certain technologies, scientific information, or legal jargon.

A PM’s job, however, is not just numbers and spreadsheets. They also need to manage team members. They must share risks, finances, and costs with their teams through nuanced leadership skills and clear communication. When a project veers away from the plan, they must manage interpersonal conflicts and solve the underlying problems. These soft skills are essential to keeping teams working efficiently and collaboratively to complete a successful project. 

Gain the Credentials

There are many project management credentials available for employees to pursue to bolster their resumes and validate their skills. For some positions, a specific credential is required or highly recommended, while other roles do not require any additional certifications or training. It is important to research your desired industry and their preferred qualification before pursuing a project management certification.

One of the most popular credentials is the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification. It is open to project managers with up to three years of experience and is meant to validate their experience rather than serving as an entry-level certificate. The Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) is the entry-level counterpart to the PMP. They are both offered through the Project Management Institute (PMI). Other certificates, like the Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) or the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL), are geared toward PMs specifically in information technology or software development.

Write the Right Resume

You should write and design your resume to tell the story of your project management skills. Even if you do not have a ‘Project Manager’ title yet on your resume, you can craft it to highlight the skills you bring to the table. If you have a summary section, make sure it mentions your hard and soft skills and your experience in working on or managing projects.

If you have pursued any credentials, keep them prominently displayed on your resume in your education section or elsewhere. You will also want to call attention to any project management software you have worked with, such as Jira or Asana. Research the skill and software preferences of your prospective employer by looking at the LinkedIn profiles of current project managers at that company. Do they have any listed software proficiencies or skills on their profiles? If you share those, make sure to highlight them clearly on your resume.

Lastly, project management is all about successfully bringing a project from ideation through execution to completion. Highlight your results-driven nature by including statistics or objective facts about how you have done similar work in the past. This could include a reference to a project that was delivered under-budget (do not forget to cite a number!), or a team you optimized to perform a similar project over time for various clients (include a percentage for how much more efficient your team became over time).

Your resume, through compelling credentials, statistics, and skills, will begin to tell the story of your project management career thus far. Use it as a jumping off point for your interviews, where you can dive into the more intricate details of specific success stories.

Now, Get the Job

With your resume built to highlight the skills, credentials, and experience you have gained, you are now set to begin applying for jobs. Remember to tailor your resume and interview answers to the specific job description and role you are applying for. While the project management field is growing across industries, it can still be daunting to find the right employer and role for you. As you begin to review open positions and apply, consider working with a staffing agency to streamline your search.

Staffing agencies, like TeamSoft, can help you find a position that is perfectly aligned with your experience and unique skills. Since 1996, our team has specialized in filling IT positions. We are experts in the field, so let us help you find a position where you can succeed and grow. Contact TeamSoft today to get started on your search.