Do you want to be a project manager in Australia?

penWhen even the most junior project management positions advertised require qualifications and experience it can be difficult to get your foot in the door.

Here are some tips to increase your chances. Experience is the Catch-22 of project management recruitment. Prospective employers and recruitment consultants want to see that you’ve got it, and you can’t get it unless someone gives you a job. The trick is to find ways of describing your existing experience to show that you have what it takes.

Project management work is about management of finances, resources and most importantly deadlines. Start thinking about what experiences you already have and how to show those in the best light. Even straight out of university you will have something to offer. For example courses in human interaction, planning or budgeting, understanding business methods, requirements capture or analysis, report writing, and so on, can be highlighted.

If you haven’t had direct experience there are many other skills that you have, which can be highlighted. For instance, presentation skills, communication skills, teamwork, planning and organizing experience, problem-solving techniques and analytical skills. Balance your description of soft skills with examples of when you have worked as a team or on projects as part of your course.

Work experience is also important but any experience outside of work you might have with managing people, resources or finances can help define you as a potential project manager. Some workplace know-how does make it that bit easier to craft a good CV. In the event that you have project co-ordination experience and are looking to make your first leap into project management then you have something to draw from. Pick out the skills most relevant to project management and make sure you have good examples. Come up with your own list, but the essential ones to cover are:

  1. Leading a team
  2. Communication skills
  3. Being able to plan and execute tasks to a deadline
  4. Problem-solving
  5. Handling a budget, or at least tracking how much of the work in hand has been completed.

Competition for project management roles can be fierce, so don’t be too upset if you don’t get accepted on your first try. Even the time of year can make a difference: for example after graduation the market is swamped with new grads and employers can take their pick. During the interview, ask for feedback if you are unsuccessful. Good luck!

If you are enthusiastic, keen to learn, treat your colleagues with respect and have a great skill set to build on, you will be recognised for your talent and hard work, and you’ll get that project management job you’ve been working for.

Once your CV is ready and you have drafted a great cover letter, then send it off. The recruitment process is straightforward: either they’ll like what they see and invite you to interview, or they won’t.

Competition for project management roles can be fierce, so don’t be too upset if you don’t get accepted on your first try. Even the time of year can make a difference: for example after graduation the market is swamped with new grads and employers can take their pick. During the interview, ask for feedback if you are unsuccessful.

If you are enthusiastic, keen to learn, treat your colleagues with respect and have a great skill set to build on, you will be recognised for your talent and hard work, and you’ll get that project management job you’ve been working for.

Good luck!

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