Five Resume Tips for New Project Managers to Get Noticed
By: Veronica Thraen
As a new project manager (PM), getting noticed in the hiring process is not always easy. Many entry-level positions require a college degree and 1–3 years of working experience in a particular industry. But how are you supposed to meet these expectations if no one will hire you due to lack of experience?
According to the latest talent gap analysis by the Project Management Institute (PMI), there are a wider range of project management roles and more job openings than ever before:
The global economy has become more project-oriented, as the practice of project management expands within industries that were traditionally less project-oriented, such as health care, publishing and professional services.
With so many project management opportunities available, how can a new PM stand out when you’re up against a seemingly unattainable list of requirements and more experienced PMs? Here are some resume tips to help you get noticed and, hopefully, land your first job as a project management professional.
Tip #1: Highlight your project management skills even if you haven’t had a formal PM job title.
Just because you haven’t held a formal project manager job title, doesn’t mean you haven’t used those skills for other positions. Some critical skills you typically see on PM job descriptions are leadership, communication, organization, team/time management, and critical thinking/problem solving. Highlight any projects you’ve been involved in where you’ve used these specific skills.
Have you worked in various industries? Some positions require industry knowledge, so including a list on your resume may also help you beat the applicant tracking system!
Tip #2: Include any networking groups, volunteering, or related internships.
Show your interest in the field by including related networking or volunteer groups you’ve been involved in. There are so many opportunities for volunteering or networking within local chapters of project management groups.
Of course, internships are also considered “working experience” and shows your eagerness to learn the ropes from those more experienced in a real-world environment. You are ahead of the game if you have an internship that you can feature even if it is not project management specific (see Tip #1).
Tip #3: Get creative with your career objective.
Try to avoid using the standard PM career objectives seen on some resume templates, such as: “To help a company deliver project objectives on time and within budget” or “To work for a company that will utilize my project management skills.” Hiring managers receive hundreds of resumes, so they may only have time to glance at the core skill areas and/or summary of qualifications. Be more specific.
For example, why did you choose a career in project management? What skills do you have that will make you an effective project manager? What can you bring to the team that will benefit the company even if you have not held a formal PM role? Personalizing your objective based on the company and job description will give you an extra edge.
Tip #4: Add a link to your blog (or your favorite PM blog, podcast, or book).
A professional blog or any publications you’ve written are a great way to showcase your writing ability, communication style, and thought leadership skills. These are all critical skills for a project manager.
Have a favorite project management blog, podcast, or book? Why not include it on your resume? This shows your interest in learning more and keeping up on latest trends. Hiring managers look for PMs who are motivated, take initiative, and need minimal supervision.
Tip #5: Add relevant certifications or PM courses.
Finally, certifications are extremely valuable for project managers and highly recommended if you do not already have one. Studies have shown that PMs with certifications have higher salaries than those who do not. And many companies require them even for entry-level positions. Here are some project management certifications to consider.
If you do not yet have an accredited certification but have started taking project management courses or are interested in getting certified, include the details on your resume. Some hiring managers will forego the hard requirement if they know that it’s already in process — and some may even help you get certified once you’re on the job.
Even with all of the open project management jobs, standing out in the hiring process as a new project manager isn’t easy — especially when you’re up against unattainable lists of job requirements and more experienced PMs (and the applicant tracking system). Incorporating these 5 tips will elevate your resume and get you noticed — and, hopefully, help you land your first job as a project management professional!
Veronica Thraen is the Owner and Principal Consultant at Maven Project Management, a technology project management consulting firm in Phoenix, Arizona that helps growing organizations put processes and tools in place to keep projects on track for long-term growth and success. Her leadership advice has been featured by Ellevate Network, The Huffington Post, and Forbes.