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Author: Helen Sabell

Best of: 5 Unique Experiences a Project Manager Should Include on a CV

Recruitment for project management jobs can be ruthless and fast-paced. Experts say you have 6 seconds to make a great first impression before your CV lands squarely in the rejection pile. In this case, well-established experience, a diverse skill set and unique character will set you apart. But how can all this be communicated quickly on a piece of paper?

 

The best way to stand out from the masses is to look beyond standard experiences that decorate the resumes of every other management candidate. Hundreds of professionals have earned a degree in business, but employable attributes can come from many experiences. A skill-based hobby, extra study or work abroad are a great addition. The best CV examples will incorporate experiences that are unique to the applicant in order to land that dream job.

Extra Study

Adult education is an important part of professional growth for every employee. Additional study, whether undertaken in the form of an online course or workshop, compliments your skill set and can give your resume great curb appeal.

Related Article: Attributes of an Exceptional Project Manager

As a project manager, it is necessary for you to actively demonstrate an ability to learn new ideas quickly and process information efficiently. These attributes can be cultivated in the classroom. A Diploma of Project Management that sits alongside additional training in an Agile Management will greatly increase your appeal to employers.

A great CV will need to go beyond simply listing the course title and date, and provide a clear outline of the tangible abilities learnt and how these are applicable to the role of project manager.

 

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Travel Abroad

Working abroad can be an incredible experience to include on your application. It is a unique opportunity that will not only add interest to your CV but indicates your good character to recruiters. Travelling requires maturity, adaptation, and responsibility – all attributes of a leading project manager.

Your travel adventures are a great way to display your personality during an interview. Sharing some of the exciting moments and achievements with a potential employer will set you up as a professional who is relatable and most importantly, open-minded.

It is no secret that most international work opportunities involve rigorous selection, making it an inspiring milestone to be included on the CV of every professional.

 

Volunteer Work

Your leisure time is valuable and using this to support a not-for-profit activity signposts excellent moral fibre. It suggests to a recruiter right off the bat that you can recognise and respond to your values and are loyal to more than just the highest dollar. An employee that has genuine care for their work is an invaluable asset to a business.

Exemplary managers will lead their team with complete dedication and careful attention to detail. This kind of attentiveness is cultivated by more than the promise of a fortnightly salary and makes an important component for a successful career in project management.

Whether you are a regular volunteer at charitable fundraisers or spend the weekend participating in community workshops, these are all different experiences that can help you to succeed in your next application.

 

Coaching

Taking on the position of head coach for the senior basketball team should not be undervalued. Project management involves functioning as part of a wider team and ensuring that everyone works productively – coaching a sport is no different. In fact, this experience can instill many of the great leadership qualities valued by employers.

Coaching is a prominent example of your ability to transform a leisure activity into a highly sought after skill. As a coach, you would be expected to understand each player, develop tactics, coordinate roles and monitor individual achievement. Each of these tasks forms an intrinsic part of project management.

Of course, it’s important not to write an essay on your in-depth understanding of the position of point guard, or how you won the premiership 5 years ago. Keep it concise and focus on your role and the skills you gained.

 

Side projects

A venture that you have invested time and passion into is worth a mention to any potential employer. Whether it’s a personal blog or public speaking stunt on the weekend, acknowledging your interests will enhance your experience, show individual character and in doing so, catch the attention of recruiters.

Side pursuits are great to incorporate into a small summary or in the opening letter of your application. Balancing the professional and the personal will help your CV to stand out in the job search as exactly the leading project manager they’re looking for.

Tips to Boost and Influence Your Project Teams Morale

A high level of productivity from your project management team is essential in securing a successful outcome.

If you can keep your team productive and happy, you will see your project thrive. However, it can be difficult for project managers to come up with project management techniques to boost productivity and morale. It is important to try and range of different approaches and see what suits your team best.

Read on to learn more about how you can boost your project team’s morale.

Employee engagement

The key to building a productive project management team is to make sure your employees are engaged in the work. Disengaged employees tend to produce poor work and can bring the rest of the team down. It is never a good idea to ignore disengaged employees, as they have higher rates of absenteeism and turnover, which can impact the course of your project.

Boost employee engagement by improving your overall work culture. Do not micromanage your team, instead, treat each as an equal and give them the chance to manage their time and resources the way they see fit. Over Managing a team can lead to disgruntled employees and poor performance, make sure you are giving your team members some independence when they are at work.

Proving industry training can also help keep your employees engaged in their work. There are many short courses that companies can offer employees for them to upskill. This help employees to feel they are progressing in the company and it helps employers build a stronger team. For example, offer employees the chance to learn project management so that you have an expert team at your hands when you need it.

Offer support and set realistic goals

It’s likely your team’s productivity will start to dip if you are setting them impossible goals to reach. Instead, make sure you are giving them realistic goals and offer plenty of support to them as the work towards them. Be sure to keep an eye out for anyone who looks like they may be struggling or burning out. It is important to make sure you do not burn out your project team, or things will begin to decline.


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Have a chat with employees and let them know you are there to assist them and answer any questions they may have. Make it clear that you expect the best from them, but you do not expect them to take on tasks that they do not feel ready for. Try and offer incentives for reaching goals (e.g., positive feedback) so that your employees know that their work is important and appreciated. This should help increase your team’s productivity and morale.

Allow flexibility

While you may have some deadlines that are non-negotiable, have a chat with your employees on how they would like to plan their time and be open to flexibility. If you have employees who would prefer not to stay back long hours, suggest that they come in during the weekend, so that they can work during the hours they feel most productive.

Be sure to respect that your employees have other commitments as well (e.g., family, socializing, recreational activities) and give them the opportunity to work out a way that they can complete their workload and still enjoy life outside of work.

Gain insight by measuring productivity

Sometimes is can be hard to pinpoint where your levels of productivity are declining within your team. Fortunately, there are many online programs that can help you measure employee productivity (e.g., hub staff) so that you have a better idea of where your attention needs to be focused.

Make sure you use this information wisely, meaning, do not scold an employee who seems to be working less productively, but look at why this may be and try and come up with solutions. Perhaps you are delegated too much/too little work to them, or they may be uninterested in the work that you have given them.

Create a positive company culture

To boost morale, you need to have an overall positive company culture that promotes self-care and employee happiness. If you think your company culture needs a big change, be sure to speak with a member of HR about how you are feeling and how you think things can improve. Employee productivity and morale are essential to building a successful team that produces good results. Make sure you try a range of approaches to boost your project teams morale so that your employees are feeling enthusiastic while they are at work.

Navigating Your First Job as a Project Manager

Congratulations! You’ve passed the interview, shook hands with the boss and landed yourself a desk of your very own. Of course, that was the easy part; now it’s time to tackle your very first job in project management. For many PM graduates, this will be the most challenging aspect of the transition from student to professional.

The expectations will differ, very little in your environment will be familiar and instead of being at the top of the hierarchy, you’re now back to the bottom of the ladder and ready to work your way up. Check out these tips to make sure you navigate your workplace with all the cool intellect of an established project manager.

Use Your Study Experience

Leaving school doesn’t mean leaving all the important lessons behind. Even junior project management roles often require a qualification and the in-depth understanding and experience that comes with being a student of the industry. Study gives you foundational knowledge, and can be used to your advantage.

Related Article: 10 Must Have Skills of an Exceptional Project Manager

Looking for a project manager job?  Check out the Project Times job board

Whether you studied a Diploma of Project Management or undertook a degree, the theory forms a crucial part of navigating your first job. Beyond these important textbook definitions and case scenarios, the classroom also instils important attributes in students such as networking skills, organisation, and time-management. These are all highly employable characteristics and will prove invaluable to you as you work through this new and exciting experience.

Be Prepared To Make Mistakes

Project Management is an industry like any other when it comes to human error. Mistakes are an inevitable part of employee growth and will help you to become familiar with the expectations of your workplace. It is important to remember that you are not only a project manager but also a person, who is allowed to make errors in judgement.

Graduates should turn their attitude around and instead of being frightened by the prospect, see it as an opportunity to learn something new. Whilst it is better to avoid mistakes altogether, learning from the incident will make the best of a bad situation and demonstrate impressive diligence.

Listen

As the office newbie, the only way to understand the dynamics of your colleagues and projects is to listen. This doesn’t mean just hearing what they have to say, but also acknowledging, understanding and, where appropriate, questioning it. Listening is a sign of engagement and respect to those around you.

It also goes without saying that theoretical knowledge is not the same as true industry experience. Your colleagues will provide you with valuable insight and tips to succeed. Leaders of project management will be able to listen, understand and direct their coworkers with ease – a unique talent that can be built up through experience.

Pick A Mentor

Progressing in your career is a great feeling, and often young professionals will be guided by mentors towards promotion. The importance of a mentor to achieve this cannot be undervalued. In sport, a player will look to their coach, in the classroom you looked to your teacher, and in the workplace, it is a good idea to choose someone that has all the qualities you would like to develop yourself.

A positive influence and someone you can look to for assistance and advice is an important support when starting a new job. It will help to anchor your position within the business, and set the standard for a work ethic that you can aspire to.

Get Familiar With Your Role

This means making a real effort to remember the name, face, and role of your team members. No-one will expect you to remember it all the first time, but if you can’t recall their name by the fifth attempt, it’s not going to look good. Being familiar with your position is also about understanding your environment – small aspects such as where your manager sits, your nearest meeting room or popular cafes around the block. It’s important to feel as though you belong, and being comfortable with your surroundings can fast-track this.

Beyond the where and who, it is crucial to become as familiar as possible with your projects. The role of a project manager is to coordinate deadlines, communicate with stakeholders and drive productivity in the team. If a coworker raises a question, you should be confident enough to answer. This demonstrates leadership and creates a relationship based on trust and mutual respect within the team.

Learn To Learn

This is perhaps the most fundamental lesson to take with you from your first day of work till the last. As a professional you will still continue to learn new ideas, new approaches to problem-solving and new skills. Many graduates mistakenly believe their days of learning and research are over the minute they leave the classroom, but the workforce brings with it a life of adult learning and education.

As a graduate, you offer a unique opportunity to your employer. Being fresh out of school and filled with innovation, an open mind and ‘I can change the world’ attitude gives you a distinct edge against other experienced applicants who may be set in their ways. There is no better time than now to break into the industry and, with the right tools, become a pioneering project management professional.

 

Looking for that first-time project manager job?  Check out the new job board on projecttimes.com .  Lots of jobs for those not-so-new project managers, too!

Career Corner: 5 Unique Experiences a Project Manager Should Include on a CV

Recruitment for project management jobs can be ruthless and fast-paced. Experts say you have 6 seconds to make a great first impression before your CV lands squarely in the rejection pile. In this case, well-established experience, a diverse skill set and unique character will set you apart. But how can all this be communicated quickly on a piece of paper?

The best way to stand out from the masses is to look beyond standard experiences that decorate the resumes of every other management candidate. Hundreds of professionals have earned a degree in business, but employable attributes can come from many experiences. A skill-based hobby, extra study or work abroad are a great addition. The best CV examples will incorporate experiences that are unique to the applicant in order to land that dream job.

Extra Study

Adult education is an important part of professional growth for every employee. Additional study, whether undertaken in the form of an online course or workshop, compliments your skill set and can give your resume great curb appeal.

Related Article: Attributes of an Exceptional Project Manager

As a project manager, it is necessary for you to actively demonstrate an ability to learn new ideas quickly and process information efficiently. These attributes can be cultivated in the classroom. A Diploma of Project Management that sits alongside additional training in an Agile Management will greatly increase your appeal to employers.

A great CV will need to go beyond simply listing the course title and date, and provide a clear outline of the tangible abilities learnt and how these are applicable to the role of project manager.

Travel Abroad

Working abroad can be an incredible experience to include on your application. It is a unique opportunity that will not only add interest to your CV but indicates your good character to recruiters. Travelling requires maturity, adaptation, and responsibility – all attributes of a leading project manager.

Your travel adventures are a great way to display your personality during an interview. Sharing some of the exciting moments and achievements with a potential employer will set you up as a professional who is relatable and most importantly, open-minded.

It is no secret that most international work opportunities involve rigorous selection, making it an inspiring milestone to be included on the CV of every professional.

Volunteer Work

Your leisure time is valuable and using this to support a not-for-profit activity signposts excellent moral fibre. It suggests to a recruiter right off the bat that you can recognise and respond to your values and are loyal to more than just the highest dollar. An employee that has genuine care for their work is an invaluable asset to a business.

Exemplary managers will lead their team with complete dedication and careful attention to detail. This kind of attentiveness is cultivated by more than the promise of a fortnightly salary and makes an important component for a successful career in project management.

Whether you are a regular volunteer at charitable fundraisers or spend the weekend participating in community workshops, these are all different experiences that can help you to succeed in your next application.

Coaching

Taking on the position of head coach for the senior basketball team should not be undervalued. Project management involves functioning as part of a wider team and ensuring that everyone works productively – coaching a sport is no different. In fact, this experience can instill many of the great leadership qualities valued by employers.

Coaching is a prominent example of your ability to transform a leisure activity into a highly sought after skill. As a coach, you would be expected to understand each player, develop tactics, coordinate roles and monitor individual achievement. Each of these tasks forms an intrinsic part of project management.

Of course, it’s important not to write an essay on your in-depth understanding of the position of point guard, or how you won the premiership 5 years ago. Keep it concise and focus on your role and the skills you gained.

Side projects

A venture that you have invested time and passion into is worth a mention to any potential employer. Whether it’s a personal blog or public speaking stunt on the weekend, acknowledging your interests will enhance your experience, show individual character and in doing so, catch the attention of recruiters.

Side pursuits are great to incorporate into a small summary or in the opening letter of your application. Balancing the professional and the personal will help your CV to stand out in the job search as exactly the leading project manager they’re looking for.

From the Archives: Our Top Article from 2015 – 10 Must Have Skills for the Project Manager

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in September 2015 and proved to be the most read article of the year!  Contributor Helen Sabell offers some great insight as to the top skills of a Project Manager.

10 Must Have Skills for a Project Manager

You may be entering the job market, either for the first time or to make an exciting new career change or looking to learn project management online. If you are looking to enter a career in project management, you will probably be wondering how to make your project manager CV stand out.

As project managers, you have to maintain a view of the “big picture” and guide the project to success, whilst handling the day-to-day tasks, and dealing with any crises that may arise. So, what are the most important qualities of an effective project manager?

1.     Business Strategy

A career in project management requires you to not only be responsive to change, you need to see it coming. Project management is a fast paced business and is constantly shifting to the markets demands. Project managers will need to understand business strategy so they can anticipate market changes and be prepared when they strike.

2.     Risk Assessment and Management

During this economic climate, businesses cannot afford to make any unnecessary risks or suffer project failure. You must have the ability to positively calculate an adequate amount of risk, as well as assess and manage threats, and also opportunities to your projects to achieve the best outcome in the quickest amount of time.

3.     Conflict Management

Conflict management is tough and can be brutal, it is not enjoyable for anyone involved. People will always get into disagreements on projects, and this needs to be resolved. Conflict management is about understanding the disagreement, setting up meetings to discuss each side’s viewpoints and both sides agreeing to a solution that can allow the project to progress.

Related article: Top 10 Articles for 2015

4.     Resource Management

As companies handle increasingly complicated markets, their business strategies and the projects to implement them are becoming much larger and more complex. Complex projects usually mean larger teams to manage, more resources to coordinate and more stakeholders to please.

5.     Time Management

As a project manager, you are probably handling numerous tasks and situations at any given time. Your time management and your ability to organise yourself and other are critically important. Time management is more than allocating a certain amount of time to certain jobs. You must be able to analyse what you are spending your time on and how important those tasks are to successfully completing the project. Your primary role is to do the strategic planning, overall monitoring and be creative and innovative at solving problems.

6.     Highly Organised And A Good Multi-Tasker

A good project manager knows how to manage multiple projects or tasks and record and solve issues on a day to day basis. One of the main differences between the success or failure of a project is usually the difference between a project manager who is highly organised and one who is not. Project management is all about the details. You must be highly conscientious about managing every detail of every project and also the possible impacts each detail may have on the overall success of the project. Remember it is even the little details that can make or break a project.

7.     A Natural Leader

It is crucial for project managers to be great leaders. Project management requires leading stakeholders and clients to a successful result. Effective project managers aspire and motivate towards a better tomorrow and inspire confidence in their team’s abilities to realise and withhold that vision. A great project manager is often described as having a vision of where to go and the ability to articulate it. Good visionary leaders allow people to feel they have a real stake in the project, they empower people to experience the vision on their own. It is also essential to build relationships with key clients to ensure alignment to the project’s targets and radiate the confidence necessary to hold everyone participating in the project responsible.

8.     Enthusiasm

No one likes a leader who is negative, they bring themselves and everyone around them down. People want leaders who are enthusiastic with a can-do attitude. People tend to follow people with a positive attitude. Enthusiastic leaders are committed to their goals and express this through optimism. Good leaderships develops as someone expresses confident and commitment to a project that others want to share this optimistic expectation. Enthusiasm is contagious.

9.     Communication


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Communication skills are one of the most crucial skills every project manager should have. You may possess other skills that will help make you a great project managers but these are useless if you cannot communicate well with your stakeholders and team members. You will be needed to schedule meetings to resolve any issues, delegate risks and problems to relevant individuals once they occur, update senior management on project progress and listen to and understand your stakeholders and team members. Ensure all stakeholders understand what is expected of them throughout the project, and that they communicate effectively with one another as well as yourself. Project managers need to communicate status changes, good news and bad news to all staff and senior management. For instance, a slight scheduling delay may only need to be communicated to internal teams but not to the client if it does not affect the client’s review dates.

10.  Problem-Solving and Technical Skills

Inevitably, there will be times when problems and obstacles may arise that will require immediate attention and solutions. How a project manager handles these particular situations will determine their success and make them stand out from the rest. A good project manager needs to have a solid knowledge of software, platforms and programmes that your company regularly work with. This allows you to be able to understand areas of the project and able to assign themselves some tasks. By assigning yourself tasks and successfully completing those tasks on time will help you gain the respect you require to successfully manage a team.