Advancing Your Career in Project Management

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Written By: Jennifer Glatz, P.Eng., PMP

May 17, 2019


Are you finding it difficult to get to the next step in your Project Management career? Or perhaps you’re ready for a new challenge and want to get into the PM market? Check out these practical steps to get you started.

Let’s face it – achieving that promotion or trying to break into the project management market can leave you feeling winded like going up endless flights of stairs in heavy steel toed boots. Competition is fierce. Project Managers are placed under lots of pressure to deliver results and building trust in your abilities is paramount. 

So what do you do when you’re facing headwinds in your promotion or job search? Consider these four steps to reach that next landing. 

1. Retire your Chronological Resume

Recruiting techniques have changed. Companies rely more and more on talent management systems that filter out candidates by keyword, skills, and accomplishments. Your resume must be submitted in a functional framework in order to be reviewed and interpreted correctly by electronic systems, or if you are submitting it to a recruiter. Unless you are submitting your resume directly to the hiring manager, consider moving away from a chronological resume and submit a functional resume instead. 

2. Articulate your Value Proposition

Time is limited in the recruitment process, so clearly articulate your value proposition at the start. In other words, describe what value you bring to your prospective company in one or two sentences. Consider both your industry expertise and your superpower skill that solves a distinct market problem and use it as your headline in all personal marketing.

3. Constantly Look for Opportunities to Network

The project management industry still relies on who you know. Continuously look for opportunities to network both within and outside of your organization and your industry. Social media apps such as LinkedInShapr, and MeetUp can be great ways to expand your network. And just like regular exercise is part of a healthy lifestyle, try and network a little bit each day to keep your networking muscle fit.

4. Connect Yourself with an Experienced, Politically Neutral Coach or Mentor

Project Managers are constantly under pressure to deliver results for their organizations and clients. Not only are PM’s seen as the drivers for the tenets of project management (scope, cost, schedule, quality), they are also required to deliver business value. It can be difficult to navigate projects that are politically charged or mission critical so connecting yourself with an experienced, politically neutral coach or mentor can help to guide you, to enhance your skills, and relieve some of the pressure. Consider looking for someone removed from the project or outside of your organization that provides you with balance and perspective and set a regular coaching schedule.