Lindsay Scott is the director of program and
project management recruitment at Arras
People in London, England.
you’re really looking for. As you understand more,
your confidence will grow and you’ll be on the way
to making the right decisions for your future.
Q: What are some of the entry-level roles for
someone who is interested in pursuing a career
in project management?
A: There are jobs that support the activities of
project and program managers. The roles tend to
have “project administrator,” “project coordinator” or “project support” in the title. These roles
require an understanding of the project life cycle
and the hands-on work focused on areas like
producing reports, updating registers and logs,
scheduling meetings and generally supporting the
project manager and team. Because these entry-level roles exist to support the administrative side
of projects, strong candidates tend to have a background in administrative office roles.
Q: I’ve noticed that some job applications ask for
a cover letter. What is the best way to write one?
A: The cover letter is all about providing a sum-
mary for the employer. It acts as a “Do-I-read-the-
résumé-or-not?” marker that tells the employer
what he or she can expect to read in the résumé.
If you’re unable to convey within a few short bul-
let points that you are a match for the position,
chances are the employer will pass you over for
someone who can.
If a cover letter is asked for, the employers will
be looking for a number of things. The obvious
ones are that they want to check that you have
read the job specifications (you’d be surprised how
many people don’t read the whole advertisement)
and that you can follow instructions (i.e., include
a cover letter). They want to see how you have
interpreted the job and what experience and skills
you highlight. They also are interested in how you
write and convey information. After all, a project
management job relies on this skill, too.
A cover letter is not about listing the skills and
experiences you have obtained and hoping that
these are the ones the employer is looking for. It’s
about providing context for your résumé, highlighting the skills relevant to that particular job.
If you take a look at any project manager job
posting, you’ll see which requirements are the
most important to the employer. They’re generally
featured within the first paragraph of the position description or near the top. You should aim
to include about four or five points in your cover
letter that relate to them. Make sure that your language matches the job description’s. PM
You never know if moving on is
absolutely the right decision,
but there are a number of
ways you can minimize the risk
of making a mistake.