Jump to Content/Skip Navigation

Differentiate Yourself in the PM Marketplace

Project Management Careers Advice

How to Differentiate Yourself in the PM Marketplace

Differentiating Yourself in the Project Management Job MarketplaceThe How to Differentiate Yourself in the Project Management Marketplace guide is a response to the increasing frustrations that project management job seekers were facing as they tried to secure their next position.
To share these insights with a wider audience, you can view the overview and also download the accompanying podcast
The presentation and podcast is aimed at current jobseekers and anyone who will make a change to their career in the future - so just about anyone in the project management community!

This is about thinking differently about job hunting – because we’re experiencing a different Project Management marketplace

In the last eight years we have seen;
  • The rise of public sector spending on PM resources – and more recently the cutback
  • We’ve seen PRINCE2 become more and more dominant – across all sectors. Organisations seem to think PRINCE2 = Good Project Management
  • We've been witness to and part of the debate on professionalism and PM – which will no doubt take effect during the next decade
  • Buyers markets, sellers markets, skills shortages, sector shortages – and now a perceived buyers market or is it?

Confusion and Frustrations

From both job seekers and organisations looking for good project management talent - so let's take a closer look at this marketplace and find out more about differentiating yourself within it.

The Current Project Management Marketplace

Project Management Job MarketplaceBrief overview of the marketplace;
  • Less roles available – period
  • Even less in the public sector – saw this before the election
  • Still slow recovery from the private sector
  • Competition for roles is obvious
  • But there is a lack of good project management talent – so is it really a buyers market?

Discerning Employers
  • 80% of requirement matches was good a few years ago – now its more likely to be 95%
  • Employers believe it’s a buyers market – and adjust rates and salaries accordingly
  • BUT good talent is staying put or can’t leave due to rates falling
  • Frustration comes with not getting the matches they believe are available

Different Market
  • Salaries and Rates are taking a hit
  • Slower time to recruit
  • More barriers in place – approvals required, last minute scrapping of roles
  • Lower confidence = dithering in the recruitment process

Job Seeker Frustrations
  • Not hearing back from applications
  • Not getting called for interviews
  • Tried and tested methods are not working now
  • Not seeing as many opportunities as before
  • Don’t know what I’m doing wrong

Where Are All The Vacancies?

Project Management Jobs80% of Vacancies Are Never Advertised!
Think about the recruitment activity that takes place in your current organisation
 – often it will be done by word of mouth or recommendation.

Jobseekers spend their efforts on the 20% of roles that are openly available – facing increased competition – meaning they are less likely to get the job

Two Approaches to Finding the 80%

Probability shows you will likely get your next job from someone you know – this is a large part of the 80%

NETWORKS = word of mouth
  • Personal networks – friends, colleagues, former colleagues, family
  • Professional networks – people you meet at events, conferences, seminars etc – this event today
  • Social networks – Twitter, blogs, forums, community groups, and LinkedIn
  • Little, often, quality input
  • You give a little – share and contribute
  • Takes time and effort – paybacks can be subtle or more obvious

Also becomes important for your brand – more on that later

Not For The Faint Hearted

Project Management JobsThe Second Approach to Finding Part of the 80%
Jobs that exist in organisations – will never be advertised – and in some cases don’t even exist yet

This is the cold-calling world of job hunting – but only a handful of people try this therefore you will experience minimal competition

To do it effectively and succeed you need to treat it like a job

Research – Plan – Execute – Keep Track – Manage it

  • Orgs you want to work for – who will want someone with your skillset and experience
  • Narrow it down – start researching through use of web, press releases, forums, your network, linked in

Plan Your Approach
  • What to say – concentrate on how you could benefit them through your track record – the organisation
  • Try the line manager approach as well as the HR department – different outcomes/action from each
  • Send through CV, profile, cover letter etc
  • Follow up – keep in touch – keep a track

Excellent Book to help
The Invisible Candidate by Anthony Haley is available as an eBook and describes the above process in a brilliant step by step guide

What’s Your USP? Your Brand?

Project Management JobsBefore you start any approaches – you start with yourself

Too many people don’t take the time to really understand what they’re about and what they have to offer. Ultimately this leads to confusions in your CV which you may not be aware of yourself and interestingly comes across when you speak to someone for the first time about yourself, your skills and experiences
Each project professional should be ready with their 2 minute call introduction call or their  elevator pitch

Understand what makes you stand out – what niche or specialism within PM – makes you different?

Identify that niche – then understand how to translate it to the current market place – then sell it . This is what creates a sellers market – and keeps the rates, salaries and opportunities higher Project Management Recruitment

Take the time to think about how you market yourself
What do you lead on? Skills, capabilities, methods, qualifications, results, benefits, successes? How do you convey these? To multiple audiences? What tools do you use to do it? CV, cover note, application form, profiles, portfolio?

Pushing Your Brand – every time you meet someone, interact with the community. It’s an opportunity to promote – you and your niche
Think about presentations – or getting involved with your profession

Do it often – small touches – use your network – little and often
Too many people wait to think about this stuff when they need it the most – to find a job
No-one likes that person who only pops up when they want something – job-botherer


What Does a Good CV Look Like?

Project Management CVRundown on the CV
  • Skills and experience clear enough to make the shortlist – interviews are for more detail
  • The way people read a CV – top, career history, back to top – keywords
  • What looks right – relevancy – all through front page
  • Achievements – good place to highlight relevancy to job description
  • Careers History – only as good as your last job – work it here! . Skills and capabilities clearly conveyed – or is it just a list?
  • No pretty logos, no photos, no quirky stuff, no lists of every single thing you’ve done
  • Don’t expect a reader to pick out from your scattergun approach
  • Check that your brand/message is clearly there. Feedback – “but I have that experience..” but it’s not there on CV !
  • Quick word on cover notes – 95% don’t bother doing a decent job – so 5% are cleaning up