Before sending an application, are you thoroughly reviewing each project manager’s job description? Most people read a job advert and write an application. As a result, they do not get many invitations to interview. Understanding what the employer wants can be the difference between landing a project management job or not.

When applicants read between the lines, they can confirm whether the job is a right fit. In addition, the job description may include helpful information you can use to pass the interview. Most project manager job descriptions will include the same basic details, but carefully noting specific requirements for each hiring company will put you ahead of the competition.

In this post, you will learn how to read between the lines of a project manager’s job description for the best chances of landing the job. We’ll also outline the details to include in your project manager resume.


What specific things to look for in a Project Manager job description

A well-written job listing contains much information about the role and a bit about the company. It also details salary and benefits, which help candidates decide if they should apply for the position. Do a brief scan to figure out if it is a job you can do and want to do. For instance, do you have the necessary experience? Are your certificates in line with what is asked for?

Once you know you want to apply for the position, reread the job description. This time, focus more on what the employer needs and what value you believe you can add to the company. Some of the details will be straightforward, while others not so much. You must read between the lines to understand what the hiring manager wants.

Take special note of the following sections.

  • Responsibilities
  • Skills
  • Education
  • Experience


Project Manager responsibilities

The project manager’s responsibilities appear in a bulleted form in a job description section. You should carefully go through each to know if you are capable or have the necessary skills to perform them.

Some of the duties of project managers may vary from industry to industry, but the following are the most common.

  • Setting plans and targets for projects as well as ensuring adherence to timelines.
  • Identifying the most suitable employees for tasks in a project and delegating duties to them.
  • Choosing the best path for project progress when multiple options are available.
  • Pinpointing potential risks and mitigating them.
  • Outlining the required resources and managing their allocation to ensure the project is completed on budget.
  • Acting as the point of contact between different units assigned to the same project to ensure it runs smoothly.
  • Maintaining effective communication with investors, key stakeholders, or the board to ensure the project meets their expectations.
  • Ensuring quality is maintained throughout the life of the project.
  • Managing and adjusting schedules, targets, project scope, and financing changes as needed or per the budget.


Skills needed for Project Management

To successfully manage teams as a project manager, you must have the appropriate soft and hard skills. These may vary depending on the industry, project, and experience. The most common skills in a project management job description include.

Hard skills

  • Industry-related technical skills
  • Proficiency in project management software tools
  • Risk management
  • Team management
  • Budget management
  • Time management
  • Strategic thinking
  • Project management certifications
  • Decisiveness

Soft skills

  • Organizational skills
  • Communication skills
  • Forecasting skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Team mentality
  • Decisiveness
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Ability to delegate duties


Educational and Certification requirements

Before creating your application, ensure you meet the minimum project manager qualification in education and certification required by the recruiters. A bachelor’s degree is often sufficient for most project management roles, but some positions may require a master’s degree.

The project manager job description may need candidates to have additional certifications. The most common project management certifications are:

  • Project management professional certification(PMP)
  • Certified associate in project management(CAPM)
  • Portfolio management professional(PfMP)
  • Agile certifications
  • Program management professional(PgMP)


Project Management experience

A project manager job description usually lists the prior experience required for the position. For instance, a company may want somebody with industry experience for a certain number of years. But other organizations want someone who has previously held a leadership or project management position. Carefully scrutinize this section to see if you meet what they need.

Although a combination of both is ideal, industry experience and project management experience in a different area would still be enough to impress the recruiter. Successful project managers do not necessarily need technical experience. Carefully think about these with the responsibilities you highlighted at the back of your mind. If the specific project calls for a person with industry knowledge, it may be hard to execute the project manager’s role without it.

In addition, research the company and the project involved to get a deeper understanding of the advertised role.


Specific mentions of things in the job description

Keep a keen eye for specific mentions in the project manager job description to know which are most important. For instance, note if a role or responsibility is repeated several times within the description. Values, responsibilities, and personal qualities necessary for the role will come first.

Also, the items are listed in the order of importance on any list. Mark the first few as they will be the most relevant and crucial in helping you to land the job. But that does not mean the rest of the items are not valuable.

Once you identify these mentions, you need to list them in order of importance and choose those you can use as keywords in your job application. Use the keywords to show you can deliver on the specific position—lookout for words that describe crucial duties, skills, and requirements.

What to include in your Project Manager resume 

After picking the suitable format for your project manager resume, choose a font size and style that makes it easy to read on paper and PDF. Ensure the information fits on one page and use bullet points to increase scannability. A PDF file format is preferable to ensure it looks the same no matter the device or OS. 

Your project management resume should include the following details: 


Contact Details

The first section of your resume should include correctly filled contact details, including relevant social media handles. 


Project Managers’ Resume Summary 

A summary is a short description of your professional experience. It should let the hiring manager know if you are relevant for the position without having to read the whole resume. Ensure you indicate your years of experience, top 1 or 2 professional achievements, and relevant project management experience. 


Project Management Work Experience 

Using the reverse chronological order, list the most recent project management experience first, and remember to include the job title. You can briefly describe the company if it is not well known, and do not forget the engagement period. In a few sentences, outline your project management responsibilities and achievements in the previous positions. 

Every candidate is going to write about their basic responsibilities. Impress the recruiters by using keywords you marked from the project manager job description. Give them what they want. It is best to focus more on achievements as they are a better testament to your ability to deliver projects. 


Project Management Education 

A resume’s most important work is communicating your professional experience to the recruiters. Therefore, the education section should be brief. List your education qualifications starting from the highest project management degree. Include the university, college, or institution you attended and the years you studied. 

You can include your high school diploma if you do not have a degree. Some project management jobs do not require a degree. 


Project Management Skills 

The skills section of your resume is also equally important as your experience. Remember to include only relevant skills in the position and avoid being redundant by filling in all your skills. Use the keywords you noted from the project manager job description when filling this part. Also, do not forget to include any industry-related skills. To ensure your CV is well organized, separate your soft and hard skills. 


Project Management Certificates 

Finally, list your project management certificates, starting with the most recent if you have multiple. Under each, include the certificate name and issuing agency, the year you received it, and expiration date if applicable. Add the day you expect to receive your certificate if you haven’t. 


Key takeaways 

The details included in a project manager’s job description are not always explicit. You must read between the lines and understand the hiring manager’s intent. Those candidates who take the time to focus on the finer details thoroughly have better chances of landing interviews and their dream jobs. 

Take time to note or mark what you think is important. List keywords you may incorporate in your application and resume to help you stand out. As you draft your resume, ensure only the necessary work experience and skills are included. Also, customize it to match the project manager’s job description. 

Pathstream can help you with your resume, skills, and job interview for the best results. Feel free to contact us or visit our website for more information.


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