The job market is littered with project managers…some good, some great, and some bad. Interestingly, it isn’t always the great ones that get recruited for new opportunities. In many cases, the “bad” ones seem to be the most marketable. This is true across the project management ranks, from Business Analyst to Project Manager to Program Manager to Project Portfolio Manager to PMO Director. Why is that, and what can I do to improve my own marketability as a project manager?
Project Manager Resume Tip #1
The #1 thing going for those that are successful in being recruited for and securing offers for PM, BA, or PMO roles is that they articulate business value. I see lots of project management resumes, and way too many of them focus on function instead of value.
Think about it, if the lion’s share of your resume talks about gathering and analyzing requirements, developing specifications, managing budgets, coordinating team resources, and reporting on the status of the project for each tollgate, then you’re missing the boat. These are functions that are certainly important, but employers and recruiters fully expect that you can do these things. Do they need to be mentioned in your resume? Of course, but they are really interested in you as a leader, a problem solver, or a project turnaround specialist. Review your PM resume from the perspective of a recruiter or executive and consider the message that you’re sending.
Project Manager Resume Tip #2
Cut down the volume of information in your resume. Too often, people in the project management space feel inclined to provide an exhaustive list of their projects. This includes all of the functions, budgets, resources, and technologies for every project. It makes for a lot of repetition and can lead your reader into a complete state of boredom. For most decision makers and recruiters (despite their claims to the contrary), boredom equals no phone call or email follow up. Plain and simple, without a follow up, you’re not a candidate for the job.
Project Manager Resume Tip #3
Who says that the resume is the only document you can or should provide when conducting a job search? No one! The resume is what’s expected as a minimum, and that’s exactly what most people provide.
Don’t be like most people. Be different…be unique. Think like a project manager or PMO leader trying to present a product or solution to a team for buy-in. To be effective, you have to state your case from a variety of angles depending on your audience. For example, the senior executive team wants to understand the business case and the strategic impact of your proposed project. The business stakeholders want to understand how the project will affect their day-to-day activities. The project team will want to know the Work Breakdown Structure and crazy time line you agreed to with management to get the green light for the project.
The resume for project managers is really just an entry point for the job process. Having a portfolio that you can present to decision makers along the way will truly help you communicate your PM leadership chops.
Stephen Van Vreede is not your average IT/technical résumé writer. He provides career strategy and concierge job search solutions for senior (15+ years) (ITtechExec) and up-and-coming (Nodd
lePlace) (5-15 years) tech and technical operations leaders. Stephen and his team focus on building simplified, targeted, and certain career move campaigns, be it an external search or an internal promotion. He is co-author of UNcommon with career development leader Brian Tracy (out June 11, 2015). Contact Stephen directly at Stephen@ittechexec.com or send him an invite at https://www.linkedin.com/in/stephenvanvreede. To see whether Stephen and his team are a good fit for you, take their free (and anonymous) 1-minute compatibility quiz, Is the ITtechExec Approach a Good Match for You? Also, feel free to take his complimentary resume self-assessment quiz, How Certain Can You Be About Your Technical Resume? You might be surprised by what you find out!