Voices CAREER Q&A
Limited experience across the project life cycle
doesn’t have to be a job-search obstacle. Also: how
to get the most out of PMI membership.
By Lindsay Scott
questions about initiation and planning, speak with
authority about how you’ve developed planning skills
during implementation. When it comes to initiation
experience, be open and honest. Talk about the skills
you do have that are relatable and how you plan to
bridge your current gaps (to show you have a plan of
action). Explain why the position you’re interviewing
for fits into your career plan; for example, you want
more experience in these areas or you want shorter
projects that will enable you to manage the whole
project life cycle.
Finally, remember that organizations want project
managers who can deliver projects—so make a big
deal about the implementation experience you have
rather than focusing on your perceived gaps. This
change of mindset will increase your confidence and
can make a big difference during interviews.
I work at a high-security organization, and
the projects I manage require special security
clearance. I’m looking for a new position and
want to update my résumé. How can I do that
without sharing sensitive information?
This is quite easy to do: Concentrate on writing
about how you did something rather than writing
I’m looking for a job and am concerned I don’t have enough initiation and planning experience—I’ve always focused on project implementation. How should I tackle this problem?
First of all, it’s only a problem if you choose to make
it a problem. Just because your experience has
focused on the implementation side, does that really
mean your initiation and planning experience is lacking? I’m sure there were times when, due to shifting
requirements, you’ve had to alter a project plan.
Don’t focus too much on where in the project life
cycle your experience has come from. Rather, think
about the techniques and skills you have.
I would advise you to revisit PMI’s A Guide to the
Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK®
Guide) with an eye for which techniques and skills
are used in the initiation and planning phases. Also
consider undertaking a competency assessment on
these phases. I predict you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
In terms of practical actions you can take to
prepare for a new position: First of all, make sure
you address any gaps revealed while reviewing the
PMBOK Guide® and from your assessment. Take
some time to invest in yourself—enroll in a training
course or just pursue further reading in areas such as
business cases, requirements gathering, planning and
scheduling. Building your knowledge in these areas
will make you feel more confident when it comes to
talking about your experience in an interview.
The second step is to make sure you clearly
articulate what delivery experience you have, both in
your résumé and in your interviews. In response to