A variety of factors contribute to the success of any project. One of the most essential components is the project manager. After all, the project manager is the one responsible for planning and executing the entire project.
Without a competent project manager at the helm, you run the risk of crashing into the rocks of missed deadlines, wacky budget mishaps, ticked off clients, and frustrated team members.
Ain’t nobody got time for that. And as you can see, a project management is critical for your business’s bottom line.
So, when hiring a project manager, you’ll need to know precisely what to look for in a project management resume.
That way, your hiring manager can find the perfect candidate with the project manager skills you need to stay in business and grow, too.
So, what exactly does a project manager do?
In general, a project manager will lead and guide the team on task completion for a project.
Project managers assign these tasks strategically, because it’s also a part of their job to know who’s the most capable for a specific task.
A project manager’s decisions will also determine whether individual tasks and the entire project is set to meet deadlines and remain in budget.
They know which tasks are within the project scope and whether the project will meet stakeholders’ expectations.
In this article, you’ll discover what makes a great project manager — the skills and qualities they must have, and what to look for in a project management resume when hiring.
We’ll also give you some project management resume examples so you’re not operating in the dark.
What to look for when hiring a great project manager
When you consider all the various duties and responsibilities a project manager has, it’s vital to carefully screen potential candidates for such a critical role.
The bottom line is, the person in this position can make or break the project assigned to them.
Also, a the vital thing to look for when hiring a project manager is to consider what specific types of project they’ll be managing.
The most important project manager skills you should look for in a candidate are:
- Technical skills, if applicable
- Leadership skills
- Communication skills
In addition, many employers also consider the following when searching for a great project manager:
- The tools and tactics the project manager will use to handle team conflicts
- Prioritization skills for assigning tasks and deliverables in the most efficient order
- Ability to discern outcomes of past projects within the field
- Strategies for keeping a project on track
- Ability to meet and manage project sponsors’ expectations
- Knowing how to manage the team, including underperforming members
- Ability to describe their own communication style
Of course, you’re free to tailor your qualifications according to your project’s goals and requirements. This will help you paint a clearer picture of how your potential project manager will fit in and guide your team toward success.
Skills and Qualities of a Great Project Manager
A great project manager must possesses the necessary technical skills.
But they should also know the ins and outs of the project so they can make good decisions about scheduling and assigning tasks to different team members.
Also, a great project manager should possess certain soft skills, whether it be for goal setting or meeting deadlines.
What do we mean by soft skills?
Great project managers know how to build relationships
One thing to remember in project management is that there’s no I in team.
Many projects, such as IT or construction projects have large, complex teams. These teams have members with varying communication styles as and different ideas on which deliverables should be prioritized.
A great project manager knows how to build relationships among team members and keep them intact.
This way, the team can still work together despite disagreements and differing viewpoints.
They can negotiate
One of the essential soft skills for a project manager is the ability to negotiate.
A great project manager ensures the project keeps on rolling and no stone is left unturned. To keep the project moving, they’ve got to constantly negotiate with various people — project stakeholders, sponsors, vendors, and the team.
A project manager’s negotiating skills are important in keeping everyone involved, dedicated, and invested in successful project completion.
They’re patient and empathetic
Let’s face it.
Some projects take months or even years to complete.
So, your team will face with many challenges, from tasks getting behind schedule or personal matters disrupting workflow.
Despite these setbacks, the project manager must be able to uplift their team members’ spirits. They should lend a hand when someone needs help.
Or simply listen team members’ needs and concerns.
A project manager who cares about their team makes everyone feel appreciated and motivated — a must for employee engagement and retention.
They’re flexible and calm under pressure
When working on projects, the team won’t always be able to meet expectations and deadlines for various reasons.
A great project manager, however, is capable of coming up with solutions whenever issues arise.
They must be able to handle stressful situations and think clearly even under pressure. This skill will hold the team together and keep the project from falling apart.
Project management skills cover a wide range of relevant technical and soft skills. Both types of skills are essential for completing projects and avoiding significant drawbacks or lapses.
So, when you’re ready to hire, go over the project manager resume with a critical eye.
Interview candidates thoroughly to uncover if they have the skills it takes to move projects along.
How to Find the Best Project Manager for Your Needs
No matter the industry, you’ll want to hire an applicant with the project management experience your business needs to grow.
A project manager with enough background knowledge and experience will become a valuable asset to the project and your organization.
But how can you be sure they’re the right fit during the job application process?
Here are some tips for hiring managers.
Evaluate your needs and the status quo
Before you can start hiring a manager, evaluate your needs first.
One major reason for frustration in the hiring process for project managers is not having a clear understanding of your brand and the organization’s status quo.
Remember, the duties and responsibilities that come with a project manager position are far reaching, and there may be a disconnect between your project manager’s experience and your needs.
So, before you begin the hiring process, ask yourself the following:
- Is the project team experienced? Do they have experience with similar big projects?
- Are you adopting formal project management systems and tools or using ad-hoc solutions?
- With your work culture, can both self-starters and people with big agency experience flourish within your organization?
- Do you prefer one over the other?
- Based on the size of the project, should you consider hiring an assistant project manager as well?
Identify the skills the project manager role requires
After you’ve determined your broader needs as an organization, next on the list is to identify the skillset the project manager must have.
Make sure these skills are aligned with the duties and responsibilities of their role and what your organization requires for growth.
Additionally, your project manager will also need to be:
- Able to schedule daily tasks for members and plan large scopes of work
- Capable of creative problem solving
- Capable of identifying and managing possible project risks
- Able to give helpful feedback to both clients and production teams
You can add more skills to this list, especially if you require the project manager to be knowledgeable about a certain field.
Just remember that when evaluating prospective managers, stay away from shiny hire syndrome.
Remember the must-have skills you’ve listed previously so you get someone who fits what your organization ultimately needs.
Determine the non-negotiables
Once you’ve identified which job skills and qualities are needed for your project manager role, next is to determine which among these skills and qualities are must-haves for your applicants.
We highly advise that you sort skills, qualities, and qualifications into “must-haves”, “good to haves”, and “nice to haves”.
Always remember, those you put on your must-have list are non-negotiable.
You can involve your entire team when sorting out qualities in your list. Make sure you get feedback from people who will be working with the project manager the most. This would help you understand what the team wants from their manager.
Not sure what to include as must-haves?
- Excellent communication
- Dedication to the team
- Interest in the organization
- Natural leader
On your must-haves list, include your red flags. If you see a lot of them, steer clear. It’s not a carnival and you will not have a fun time.
Red flags would include things like ethical violations, faked experience, or fudged credentials. Be on guard for these.
Post more informational and engaging job postings
Many organizations often fail to find the right project manager because of murky job postings.
Most job ads make the following mistakes, which are considered critical when looking for managers:
- Talking too much about the company and not about the specific role
- Unclear job description as well as an unclear explanation of the role and responsibilities
- Exclusion of criteria for filtering applicants
- Convoluted instructions for sending in an application
So, how do you avoid these issues and create a stellar, clear job posting that brings all the excellent candidates to your yard?
Remember that when creating a project manager job post, make it informative, but it’s ultimately sales copy.
Because really, what you’re doing is selling a position and the prospective project manager is a customer.
An example of an informative job posting would be those following the Role-Responsibilities-Requirements structure.
This framework identifies the role open for applicants, then follows with the responsibilities associated with this role.
Lastly, the framework lists the requirements each prospect must possess or meet.
Practice smart hiring
Increased technological use in the labor market has been prevalent for the last several decades.
So, jump on the bandwagon if you haven’t already.
You can also use technological advancements when trying to hire a project manager, whether an entry-level project manager or even a senior project manager.
Nowadays, organizations use applicant tracking systems (ATS) which are software that sorts potential applicants’ resumes.
These tracking systems weed out resumes that don’t fit the job description and requirements you’ve selected.
The result is a hiring process that’s easier, faster, and more objective.
What to Look for in a Project Management Resume
The Project Management Institute (PMI) expects the demand for project managers to grow by 33 percent through 2027. This provides more opportunities to each project management professional (PMP) as well as aspiring project managers.
When searching for a project manager, you need to look at your candidates’ resumes.
In this section, you’ll learn how to identify a great project manager’s resume and we’ll show you a project manager resume sample.
Skills section showcases their project management skills
The skills section of your resume will display what skills a person gained through their educational background and their experience. However, it may be tough to uncover the candidate’s core strengths.
The key to finding whether a project manager’s resume has truly captured the applicant’s strengths is to ask them why they listed those skills in particular.
This will help you uncover what skills they’re most comfortable discussing and in detail.
You’ll often find the following hard or technical skills listed in the skills section of a project manager’s resume:
- Project management software such as Jira, Click Up, Monday.com, etc.
- Microsoft Office
- Google Suite
- Experience in CRM
- Data analysis
Take note of the project manager resume summary or objective
Often, potential project managers misunderstand the difference between a resume summary and a career objective. A project manager should know the difference:
- A resume summary gives you a glimpse of a project manager’s work history as well as their accomplishments as a project manager.
- A career objective tells you what a project manager is looking for in their next project manager role.
For a senior project manager, look for a resume summary that exudes professionalism, and highlights their biggest accomplishment or goals in two to three sentences.
Here are some examples of a project manager’s resume summary:
Project management professional (PMP) resume summary
“15+ years of initiating and delivering sustained results and effective change for Fortune 500 firms across a wide range of industries including enterprise software, digital marketing, advertising technology, e-commerce, and government. Major experience lies in strategizing and leading cross-functional teams to bring about fundamental change and improvement in strategy, process, and profitability – both as a leader and expert consultant.”
(Biron Clark, CareerSidekick.com founder)
IT project Manager Resume summary
“Experienced project manager with vast IT experience. Skills include computer networking, analytical thinking, and creative problem-solving. Able to apply customer service concepts to IT to improve the user experience for clients, employees, and administration.”
(Sarah Landrum, Entrepreneur.com and Forbes contributor, and career expert)
Their resume tells the story of their previous projects
A project manager with some experience under their belt will usually include at least one big project they’ve completed successfully and not just one-off tasks.
Usually, the experience section in a project manager’s resume will discuss relevant details of a specific project to showcase their expertise:
- Scope or goal of the project
- Project budget and timeline
- Team members involved in the project completion
- Metrics and factors for completion and success of the project
- Roadblocks they’ve encountered and their solutions
- Collaboration made with their client’s or organization’s executive team
- Project outcomes
An effective project manager resume provides you with a clear picture of the projects they’ve completed, their outcomes, and the skills they used to reach the project goals.
The resume provides information on specialization or industry experience
If you’re hiring a project manager for a specific industry, then you’ll want to look for the candidate’s experience and knowledge in your field.
For example, hiring managers in IT and technology companies usually review an IT project manager resume and a technical project manager resume — instead of a normal project manager resume.
This is the same when you’re looking for a senior project manager role.
You would most likely review a senior project manager resume. Or a master project manager resume than an entry-level project manager resume.
They have a diverse educational background and certifications
A project manager is never afraid of continuously learning from different sources, whether in school or job training. They’re proud of the education section of their resumes and will highlight their certifications.
A project manager’s resume will always include the applicant’s highest level of education.
An effective project manager’s resume for entry-level will include all relevant classes the project manager took that can convince the hiring manager of their potential efficiency and effectiveness in their role.
On the other hand, senior project managers have resumes focusing on their work experience as well as other project management certifications such as:
- Project Management Professional (PMP)
- PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)
- Certified Scrum Master (CSM)
- Professional Scrum Product Owner (CSPO)
- Kanban Management Professional (KMP)
They’ll also indicate whether they underwent and handled lean training in the past as these project management certificates will make them stand out.
A project manager is a crucial part of delivering a successful end product. Without them, organizations would not be able to complete projects without significant variances.
Great project managers ensure sure that each project goes according to the plan, the budget, and deadline. It’s extremely important that you hire an effective project manager.
But before you can hire a great project manager, you need to first evaluate them through their resume.
Remember, an effective project manager resume will reflect the following crucial points:
- A cover letter that aligns with your organization’s goals and objectives
- Important contact information, work experience, skills, and education
- Their history with project management represented in numbers
- Specializations and knowledge only known to persons in the industry
The duties and responsibilities of a project manager are crucial, so you’ll need tools to help your project manager.
Make project management easier and more efficient with our PM checklist today!