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Breaking into PM: Showcase Existing Skills

Updated: Aug 13, 2022

Suppose you are interested in becoming a project manager, but don't have prior job title or required skills shown on your resume. In that case, it can be challenging to find an opportunity in Project Management. Recruiters may ignore your resume or believe you are not qualified when applying for a position. When you are networking, people may look at your LinkedIn Profile and not connect that you have the skills to be a project manager.

Showcase your existing project management skills and find an opportunity to stand out.

Shown below are five essential qualities that every solid project manager, at any level, should be able to demonstrate consistently. Review your past job experience and find opportunities to highlight these qualities as bullet points on your resume, including any positive outcomes.

  • Communication - 80%+ of what a project manager does is verbal, non-verbal, and written. Excellent communication skills help project managers articulate the scope of project status and work alongside team members. Highlight experience in communication such as reports, demonstrations, speeches, and presentations.

  • Organization - Projects will have several moves pieces, and it is crucial that a project manager is able to understand the status of every item. Attention to detail is a critical component of being a project manager. The ability to multi-task and stay organized under pressure all play a part in successful projects. Think about situations in the past where you have played a leading role in bringing teams together and organizing smaller efforts. How did you keep everything and everyone organized? How did you keep track of what everyone was working on?

  • Relationship Management - Project managers may know how to run a project, but no one will want to work with them if they don't form positive and collaborative working relationships with their colleagues.Projects don't always run smoothly and work environments have their own politics to navigate. Understanding and demonstrating the soft skills of relationship management is something to highlight on your resume. If you have previous experience in customer facing roles or with internal stakeholders, highlight any positive experience and skills you have in navigating relationship management.

  • Leadership - Project managers are leaders in the organizations, even without the title. Project managers lead projects and people to deliver value and outcomes. Showcase your past experience in any leadership roles you may have had from college/university, volunteer organizations, or social clubs. Showcase projects that you took on to assist others, how you influenced others, and the results.

  • Process Improvements - Project Managers should always look for ways to improve how they run projects and how the business operates. Look for past experiences when you have found issues, how you resolved them, and the outcome.