Do You Have These 5 Project Management Skills Hiring Managers Struggle to Find?
Project managers are definitely in demand. In fact, the Project Management Institute predicts that by 2027, around 88 million project manager jobs will need to be filled. But hiring managers are not just looking just anyone to take over these important positions. There are certain skills you need cultivate to be considered a viable project manager candidate. Here are the five most important skills you must master to hear those treasured words, “you’re hired.”
Critical thinking skills
Being able to identify, analyze, and solve problems effectively is a key element of the project manager job description. Whether you are working at a start-up tech company, a family-owned construction firm, or a community hospital, you’ll have to think critically to solve daily issues. You will need to be able to gather and synthesize information in such a way that the best possible strategy is devised. How do you know if you have this skill? Are you introspective? Analytical? Curious? Objective? Open-minded? If so, critical thinking is probably an ability you possess. In order to make this skill marketable as a project manager, you must articulate examples of situations in which you used critical thinking to turn a problem into an opportunity.
Advanced communication skills
Communication has changed quite a bit in the digital age. You no longer just have to be a good speaker; you now have to be a great writer as well. The Association of American Colleges and Universities found that 73 percent of employers desire strong written communication skills in their hires. Similarly, modern communication skills not only entail being a good listener, but also an adept reader. In fact, reading between the lines is a more applicable skill for project managers than ever before because written communication is often lacking the nuances that indicate tone, attitude, and intent. So, while you are honing your speaking and listening skills, make sure you polish up your writing and reading skill development at the same time.
While some project manager positions may require more technical knowledge than others, there are very few (if any) that do not need at least some level of technical proficiency. The ability to use basic tools like spreadsheets and scheduling software may not be enough. Depending on the position, you may also need to become proficient in app development, network security, cloud computing, and more. If you want to remain competitive as a project manager, the more technical skills you acquire, the better off you will be.
Managing projects inherently entails negotiation. Whether you are negotiating with suppliers, clients, team members, or supervisors, your ability to keep all parties as satisfied as possible will definitely set you apart. Excellent negotiators not only know how to reach compromises and make deals; they also know how to stay cool, calm, and objective throughout the process.
Do you know those people who have everything in its place, labeled and neatly organized? As a project manager, you need to be one of those people. Disorganization is one of the most crippling qualities a project manager can have. If you can multitask and prioritize with the best of them, hiring managers will recognize this as a desirable trait. However, if your thoughts and your files tend to be scattered all over the place, you need to work hard to turn that around. Just because organization might not come naturally to you does not mean it cannot be achieved.
With such a pressing need for project managers in a wide variety of fields, more and more people are gravitating toward this career. Yet hiring managers often struggle to find individuals with all, or most, of the qualities they are looking for. If you can master the five skills discussed here, you will put yourself ahead of the pack, and find yourself excelling in your new position before you can say “team meeting.”