4 keys to getting hired as a professional project manager

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The author spent the first part of her career working in IT and IT Project Management in the oil industry and investment banking on complex global projects involving the management of outsourced project teams. She now runs a digital marketing company with particular expertise in technical SEO and Content Marketing.

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.


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Project management has developed into a fully-fledged chartered profession since the granting of the Royal Charter in the UK to The Association for Project Management (APM) in 2017. Training courses for project managers were already available and highly popular to help people gain professional project management accreditation, but with this wider recognition of the profession it is now seen as a desirable career path for many. Whilst the APM has the coveted Royal Charter and continues to develop its APM PMQ (formerly the APMP) programmes, there are also other internationally recognised qualifications that continue to be highly regarded such as PMP and PRINCE2.

Organisations have become increasingly project-focused in this era of rapidly emerging new technologies and they value the expertise that comes with experienced and fully qualified project teams and managers. By investing in their project management capability businesses can be confident of delivering their new projects in time and on budget more often and more successfully. Many major corporation are now training their people to have the right project management qualifications as well as relevant experience, through internal Learning & Development (L&D) programmes; or by using external project management training providers.

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