5 Steps to Land Your Next Project Management Job

The economy hasn’t completely turned around yet, but it is getting better. Unemployment rates are slowly going down, foreclosures are dropping, and house values are finally going up again.

But it still isn’t easy to find a job – you’ll know this if you’ve applied to any in the last year or so. It’s still tough and there are still a lot of jobs you apply for and never hear about again even though you looked like a perfect match.

And those others where you interviewed and maybe were even a finalist and then…nothing…or a surprising flush.

I’m going to discuss my 5 steps to land your next project management job. This is really applicable to all jobs to some degree and these are just based on my observations, experiences, and opinions, so I welcome your input, feedback and experience as well.

1. Some PM jobs aren’t real – hang in there.

I know this may seem hard for some of you to believe, but many of those jobs that get posted online aren’t real. They are fishing for resumés for positions coming up soon or 6 months from now, but not now.

Or they’re “possible jobs” that go away because they were questionably funded at best anyway. Consulting gigs get lined up or planned out and then fall away for funding resumés…the same happens with full-time employment positions.

Keep this in mind, and you’ll be ahead of the pack during your search. 

2. Match your resumé and cover letter exactly to the job requirements.

If you’re rapid firing your resumé at jobs on a job board late at night, chances are you aren’t tailoring your resumé and/or cover letter to match up well with the job you’re applying for.

That takes time and you tell yourself it’s better to send off for 20 jobs with the resumé you have rather than two jobs with a detailed and direct hit resumé and cover letter for the job or jobs you are applying for. Wrong.

Tailoring for the job at hand is always best. If you don’t have the correct skillset, then don’t apply – and if you aren’t an immediate good match on paper, your resumé goes in the trash. Too many applicants to deal with. Period.

3. Know that you’re likely competing with a lot of applicants.

It may not matter if you are king of the project management world – you still won’t even get an interview because your resumé simply may never be seen.

Too many applicants – good and bad – and not enough hours in the day.

4. Make sure your resumé doesn’t make you look unstable.

Here’s a good one. You have too many recent positions. Even if they are increasing responsible positions, if you have several jobs in the last few years – especially if you’ve left some companies for other companies, you look like a hopper.

Right now, organizations are a bit unwilling to invest in you if they think you’re a “one and done” sort of employee…meaning after about a year you’ll likely leave for another job somewhere else.

You can tell them till the cows come home that you won’t do that, but they won’t believe you. And why should they, they’ll just move on to the next candidate. So do your best to combine work and make yourself not look like a hopper.

5. Update your resumé to the latest technology.

This is a real killer. If you haven’t updated your resumé lately and you’re showing old stuff…out of date technology, meaningless information in today’s cutting edge job market, or you’re calling yourself an expert in leading projects using sustainable technologies or “green implementations”…you need to update.

When is the last time you heard the term “carbon footprint.” It didn’t last long, did it? They will laugh at your resumé in the HR department and toss it in the circular file fast.

Summary / call for feedback

Are you a project manager looking for a new position and you don’t seem to be getting any traction. In my opinion, if you’re a solid candidate, then it’s because of one of these five reasons. What are your top five? Please share your experiences and discuss.