Whether you have done your PRINCE2 qualification, taken a course in AGILE or have become a certified project management professional (PMP), getting qualified is only the first part of the task. Now you need to go out there and find a company willing to employ you in your new professional area of expertise. Here are 4 keys to getting hired for a professional level job after you have qualified or become certified in project management.
1. Have a flawless CV
Having researched the organisation you are applying to, you need to tailor your CV to reflect their requirements and show how you meet their person specification. Some of the areas you will want to make sure are included are:
- Understanding project framework (PMBOK etc.)
- Knowledge of project planning
- Knowledge of change, quality and risk management
- Excellent communication skills
- Excellent organisational skills
- Ability to manage people, resources and budgets
- Understanding trade-offs with quality, time, cost and scope
As well as these core skills, ensure you are including elements in your CV that match the person specification for the job. Make it look good, and take the time to write a succinct but thoughtful covering letter to go with it.
2. Be a confident professional
Even if you feel the job you are applying for may be a little ambitious even for you, it’s important not to give this away at any stage of the process. Walk with your head held high, your confidence glowing and enter that interview room as if the job is a shoe-in. Be careful not to come across as aggressive or arrogant though, if you don’t understand what something means, ask.
3. Offer great value for money
Any practical experience you have of working in a project environment will be highly valuable. If you have not worked on projects before, then maybe other jobs you have held or personal hobbies can be translated into professional added value. Musicians can offer creative influence, sports lovers bring a healthy competitive attitude and people with kids bring resilience and excellent organisational skills.
If you are newly certified maybe with the APM Project Fundamentals Qualification but haven’t had a great deal of practical experience, learn to talk the talk and walk the walk by researching, reading and networking with other professionals. Experiment with project management software so you can confidently talk about your preferred systems, and join in with LinkedIn discussion groups from your profession to understand the latest buzzes and trends.
4. Network, Network, Network
With all the social media around these days, there is no excuse for not networking efficiently. Make sure you have a complete LinkedIn profile with plenty of endorsements and recommendations (even if these are from part time jobs or jobs unrelated to project management). Join in with the groups, look for PM groups on Facebook and find forums for people working in this sector so you can get to know others and learn from their experience. You never know when the next person you speak to might just be offering a job.