Focus your work history on the last five years
( 10 years if you’ve worked for the same employer
for a long time). For earlier positions, include only
the date, the company you worked for and the job
title. This shows the reader your previous experience, and they can choose to ask you for more
detail in the interview if they’re interested.
4. USING A LIST OF SKILLS
It has become common in project management
résumés to include a list of skills, such as “stakeholder
management,” “managing business change” and
“leadership.” The skills are not attached to any career
history, nor is there any context. Instead of including
a bulleted list that stands alone, consider highlighting these skills in your career history. These skills are
what hiring managers are really hiring you for, so it
makes sense to give them the context they deserve.
5. FAILING TO HIGHLIGHT ACHIEVEMENTS
The most impressive achievements and accomplishments on a project manager’s résumé go beyond
finishing a project successfully. Project managers are
expected to deliver a project on time and to budget,
so that alone is not really an achievement.
Key achievements showcase the difference you
personally made. They highlight how you went
above and beyond the call of duty to deliver benefits and value for your organization.
Ask yourself, “What benefit did my organization
receive because of what I did?” Then communicate
this achievement, as well as any key facts or figures
that back up your claims.
If you haven’t updated your résumé in a while, it
may be worth starting from a blank sheet of paper
and using these insights to form the first draft.
Remember to always have someone from outside
the world of project management read your résumé.
A hiring manager might not be as clued in to the ins
and outs of project management as you are.
Q: I’ve been working in a project management
office (PMO) for a few years now, and I’m not
sure where my career is going. Do you have any
advice about creating a career path in this area?
A: There are two options for people working in a
PMO: either stay within the PMO field or think
about moving into a delivery role, like a project
management position. If the latter appeals to you,
there is a lot of information and advice already
available. Check out PMI’s website, and Career
Central specifically, for career and professional
If you think you’d like to progress in a PMO,
there is less career development advice out there.
The interesting thing about a PMO role is that you
undertake the same training and development that
any other project management practitioner would,
but the way you use this knowledge differs.
A lot of PMO people have to adapt their training, because there aren’t many PMO-specific
training courses available. PMO people also look
for development in areas such as analysis and
data management, quality management, coaching
and mentoring, and business operations. It helps
in their primary role as custodians of good project
management practice within their organizations.
Senior positions in PMOs, such as portfolio office
managers, will require that you have previous
hands-on delivery experience, such as a project
manager or program manager role.
Finally, you need to carry out your own research
because your PMO career path will be determined
by the organizations you work for. You need to
be able to answer the question, “What do I want
to achieve in my PMO career?” to help drive your
own development plan. PM
Lindsay Scott is the director of program and
project management recruitment at Arras People
in London, England.