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Author: Wayne Brantley

Five Skills to Enhance Project Management

Seasoned hiring executives can tell you that when they review résumés of potential project managers, they are looking for clues as much as they are looking for credentials. While a project manager may be able to talk “triple bottom line” and “enhancing cloud technology” with the best of them, what a hiring executive is looking for in a project manager goes beyond education from a reputable program and experience with a notable employer.

Cultivate the following five attributes and your résumé should receive positive responses from prospective employers looking for the telltale clues of a strong, professionally mature project manager.

Five Often Overlooked Skills Needed to Excel in Project Management:

1. Public Speaking and Effective Verbal Communication

Whether you are meeting with workers to explain a timeline, presenting a project to executives and stakeholders, or explaining a change order to a group of clients, effective public speaking skills are essential for getting the job done effectively. Articulating your ideas clearly, calmly, and considering the best way to phrase the message for your intended audience are definitely skills that make a project move more smoothly. Highlighting the effectiveness of your communication skills on your résumé is important, as is seeking professional opportunities to develop those skills, especially if you are new to the field.

2. Writing and Electronic Communication Intelligence

In this age of instant social media and mobile electronic devices, hiring executives are looking for project managers who know that electronic communication requires the same professionalism as handwritten communication. Project managers need to be responsible with company devices and have the professional maturity and levelheaded restraint not to instantly reply inappropriately to an emergent and maddening situation. When a hiring executive sees a pattern of strong professional relationships with increasing levels of responsibility, he or she will have the clues needed to see you as a reliable project manager with effective people skills.

3. Networking

When you highlight your professional association on your résumé, you demonstrate that you are a team player who is active in the field and that you enjoy building the type of lifelong relationships that will bring you professional longevity. The most popular professional organization for project managers is the Project Management Institute (PMI). The organization has many local chapters, provides continuing education information, organizes online global communities of practice forums, and provides many other beneficial services to members. PMI also has a link to volunteer opportunities and jobs for professionals in the field. Associating with a group of peers is a powerful clue that you are actively committed to achieving your own professional goals.

4. Decisive Leadership

While it is important to acknowledge the trees in the forest when looking at the overall landscape, some inexperienced project managers get lost in the details and find moving forward a tough challenge. As a top project leader you will need to demonstrate that while you consider your team’s input and are aware of potential challenges, you can still move forward decisively, logically, and effectively. Demonstrating larger and more comprehensive leadership opportunities will show a hiring executive that you have what it takes to face challenges, organize appropriate responses to those challenges, and effectively deliver the project on time and within budget.

5. Research

The most successful project managers have figured out the skillful art of pre-project research and planning. Being creatively resourceful when assembling a diverse team to tackle a tough, complex project demonstrates that you are research savvy and innovative. Being able to locate money-saving resources to bring about a more effective triple bottom line, or knowing the right contact to call to locate unfamiliar equipment or a new services can reveal your ingenuity to a hiring executive. Scanning through your qualifications should reveal the clues needed to show that you have staying power and bring a unique set of skills to the current team.


While it is important for project managers to seek a reputable education or training from a reputable college or university, it is just as important to actively seek the professional development that will afford you the best opportunities over the course of your career. Becoming active in a professional association provides you access to top peers in the field. You will be able to participate through volunteer opportunities, attending your local chapter meeting, going to national conferences, and engaging in a wide range of other opportunities that will bolster your résumé power.

While competition remains tough for the best jobs in project management, there are five key steps you can take to be sure your résumé reveals the clues a hiring executive is looking for when assembling the best team possible. When planning your next career move, be sure you have an opportunity to build the written and verbal communication skills needed to be an effective leader. At the same time, seek projects that allow you to lead with decisiveness and use research skills to bring about the best results possible. Lastly, use networking to gain exposure to more opportunities and aggressively seek career growth toward securing your niche in the field of project management. With a solid professional development plan in place, you can leverage more concentrated efforts toward setting yourself apart from the competition and building a résumé that will stand out even in today’s competitive job market. 

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