Four Tips for Landing Your Next Job
The question serious job seekers inevitably ask is: “What are hiring managers looking for?” Asked through a more specific project lens, this question is: “What skills are currently in demand in the field of project management and project leadership?”
Learning the answer to this key question is critical to putting your best foot forward when seeking your next opportunity. As people move between jobs more frequently these days, focusing on gaining the necessary skills for becoming more marketable down the road is increasingly important.
Keep these approaches in mind as you develop professionally.
Soft skills are in demand
According to four out of five business executives, soft skills such as communication, leadership, and negotiation are more important for project managers today than they were just five years ago. In addition to this trend is an obvious uptick in the demand for project management skills.
According to the Arras People Benchmark Report, there are several key things that hiring managers are looking for when they evaluate a candidate, including real world experience, sector expertise, the right personality and the right professional approach… which aligns with the surge in soft skills demand.
Trust your instincts
While interviews can be tricky, with the right skills under your belt, the interview is a great place where you can shine. However, many interviews are short, and often through video chat rather than in-person. You have to make your case in 30 minutes or less. You need to succinctly convey your experience, technical expertise, and prowess as a project manager—in a manner that expresses your ability to solve problems.
“The toughest question is when the interviewer asks a theoretical question,” says Deepa Kalangi, senior project manager at Magellan Health in Portland, Oregon, and author of Cracking the Toughest Project Management Interview Questions. “For example, you are given three months of time, and there are no requirements and no scope—how would you do it?”
To respond to such scenarios, it’s important to be able to redirect the focus on what you have done in the real-world; why a project without scope is one that is doomed to failure. Trust your instincts and your fundamental knowledge of how projects should be run.
Show off your business strategy skills
Lindsay Scott from Arras People, a specialist recruitment agency, underscores that having business acumen and understanding business strategy are increasingly important for changemakers.
“What we’ve found over the last couple of years is that a lot more organizations are interested in a hybrid approach to deliver projects, being able to get things to the market faster and smarter, given that we’re working in a more complex world,” Scott says. “And we want teams to be able to work better together in order to be able to deliver projects more successfully.”
In short, managing more complex projects in increasingly complex business environments requires a more diverse skill set. You need a wider variety of technical skills to support a hybrid approach, and layered on top of that, you need to build strong relationships with all your stakeholders in order to execute at a faster pace.
Be a people person
Manuel Salero Coca, managing director for PIN Technologies in Mexico City, points to a few specific and unique skills that may not be obvious to someone looking in from the outside.
“I like to focus on the capacity of the people, my team, myself even, in reaching efficient results—tangible results—something that you can measure,” Salero Coca says. “That is from the technical point of view—a practical point of view.
“However, the other thing that is very important to me is the quality of the relationship that people show within the team. Do these people have a good relationship with the rest of the team, and do they work in an ethical and professional manner?”
In other words, how well people collaborate within the team, as well as the stakeholders outside of the team, are of utmost importance.
To learn more, check out Career Development – Professional Networking Pro-Tips on Projectified® with PMI, available on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play Music or PMI.org/podcast.
Digital Exclusive article developed for Project Management Institute, Inc. by staff content writer Deryn Zakielarz.
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