Résumé Reboot

Tailoring Your Job Application Will Attract More Interest; Also: The Transition from Business Analyst to Project Manager



Tailoring your job application will attract more interest. Also: the transition from business analyst to project manager.

By Lindsay Scott

For the first time in my career, I've been getting passed over for interviews when I apply for new project manager positions. What am I doing wrong?

You've encountered a common problem: Going from job to job seemingly with ease until one day applications get no response. The problem is typically one of two things. Either you've hit a streak of bad luck where other applicants are more qualified, or your résumé or CV is not checking all the right boxes. The good news is that you can develop a strategy to refresh your résumé to attract interest and ensure your qualifications match.

Recruitment practices have been changing over the years, and your résumé should align with them. Whether organizations automate their application review process or leave it to real people, today's résumés must give details that match the job description. Make sure to customize your résumé for each application so it emphasizes the same keywords as the job description. Take the first five roles and responsibilities the job posting mentions and tweak your profile, key achievements or recent experience to reference those requirements. Use hard metrics about your two most recent projects (budget, span of control, benefits delivered, etc.) to help quantify your experience.

All of these customized changes can be done in 10 minutes or less each time you apply, and you'll become more adept at it the more you do. This tailored approach also will help you determine if your experience truly aligns with the job opening. If your résumé can't support each of the job's top requirements, move on and apply for opportunities that are more likely to help you land an interview.

I'm a business analyst but would like to become a project manager. What steps should I be taking to achieve that goal?

Career changes are never easy, but the transition from business analyst to project manager isn't necessarily a huge leap. These two roles are already somewhat intertwined in the project environment, so there are plenty of small steps you can take to reach your goal.

Lucky for you, organizations increasingly are opting to combine the business analyst and project manager role. This type of hybrid role would be an ideal one for you. The comfort of working in a role you already know—the business analyst—means learning the responsibilities of the project manager role is less of a stretch. That's particularly true if you already work closely with a project manager today.

Find out if there's an opportunity to shadow that project manager, maybe taking up a few project management responsibilities alongside your business analyst duties. A natural place to start picking up solid project management skills would be to extend your work by helping gather requirements or becoming more involved in pulling together the project plan. You also will find that carrying out some formal training in project management at this stage will help boost your knowledge and confidence as you make the transition. The main difference you might find between the two roles is that project managers have a larger responsibility for directing others. Developing your knowledge and experience in areas such as leadership, negotiation, conflict management and leveraging influence also will help accelerate your growth.

The first step you need to take is spotting the opportunity to build up the project management duties in your existing role. From there, start to look for the hybrid roles at your organization or other companies. You might find that this hybrid role is just what you're looking for. If it's not, your next move will be to find opportunities that focus solely on being a project manager.

I've encountered job postings for project controllers and project coordinators. What's the difference?

Although both are similar entry-level roles focused on supporting the project manager on day-to-day activities, there are a couple of differences. Project controller roles tend to be associated with openings in industries like construction, engineering and manufacturing, while project coordinator roles are more associated with opportunities in IT and other business projects. As a general rule, both roles maintain the project plan, schedules and budget—or generally anything else the project manager needs. However, coordinators tend to get more involved in team support and also can be coordinating smaller projects of their own.

For both roles, salary is based on experience and the level of responsibility given to them by the project manager. But both provide excellent opportunities to develop skills and knowledge so you can progress to project manager or to roles in a project management office. PM

img Lindsay Scott is the director of program and project management recruitment at Arras People in London, England.



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