Project Manager Job Descriptions – The Ultimate Guide
Project management is a fast-growing career field, and to vie for top positions, you need to look closely at project manager job descriptions and understand what employers are looking for in their next PM.
Because there are often dozens of candidates that apply to each opening, adding key elements found in these descriptions to your resume will help you stand out from the crowd.
To provide guidance as to what top employers are looking for, we conducted extensive research into project manager job descriptions for Fortune 1000 companies.
These descriptions show the commonalities among employers looking for project manager candidates. Being aware of these job responsibilities, along with experience and education requirements, will help you to find openings that are a good fit for your particular skills and experience.
Project Manager Key Responsibilities
Communication and Relationship Building
Project managers are strong communicators. They must communicate clearly and effectively both verbally and in writing. Because people in project management roles must pitch ideas and speak in front of small and large groups, public speaking skills are essential in this role.
People in this position lead project management team meetings to ensure team members are on task and on point to meet strict deadlines. Because of this, project managers must be excellent at creating and maintaining schedules. They must also be willing and able to motivate others to stick to a given schedule.
Those in project manager roles have the ability to form lasting and trusting relationships with customers, clients and individuals both internally and externally.
Project managers must establish a rapport with those they interact with, so it’s important that project manager candidates take a true interest in people.
Financial Management and Cost Control
Project manager job descriptions also include the financial aspects of project management. For example, project managers work closely with senior leadership and stakeholders to establish strategic plans and objectives. They make every effort to carry out these goals. Therefore, project management candidates should have an understanding of financial procedures and protocols within their particular industries.
Project manager job seekers must also have cost control expertise and be willing and able to work within a specified budget.
If you have experience managing budgets, be sure to include this information on your resume. Additionally, include any areas where you’ve played a part in saving a company money.
When it comes to the bottom line, employers want to see cost-effective strategies and solutions. Highlighting this on your resume will undoubtedly make an impact.
Team Player and Change Agent
Project management professionals must understand and implement internal protocol and possess the ability to look at situations and issues from various points of view. These individuals must be forward-thinkers; they must be comfortable working independently or with limited supervision. This independence is often balanced with the ability to work as part of a team and to appreciate others’ insights, talents, skills and any concerns.
PMs must have the ability to adapt, as change is always present. They must also have the skills necessary to work through unforeseeable setbacks. Current project managers know that powering through difficult situations is a vital part of the job.
Project managers possess negotiation skills. They often work alongside finance and communications departments, corporate affairs, human resources and other internal departments. They may be asked to weigh in on a conflict or to share plans and goals at any given time.
Project managers also have the knowledge and ability to coach and mentor other individuals as needed, so leadership skills and experience are highly valued in the project management field.
When applying for positions and during the interview process, don’t be afraid to showcase your key project management responsibilities.
Project Manager Job Location
Project management job descriptions might mention commuting or relocation. Being open to doing either may play a big role in your ability to land a project management position, particularly if you reside in a rural area.
Some companies do hire remote project managers. Amazon, for example, posts project management jobs both remotely and in Seattle. They also occasionally hire for positions overseas. If you are willing to commute or relocate, be sure to mention this information in a personalized cover letter.
Willingness to commute or relocate will demonstrate your dedication to your career as well as your desire to secure a position within a specific company.
Unsurprisingly, larger cities tend to have the most project manager positions available at any given time. Verizon’s PM job openings are throughout the country, including project manager positions in New Jersey and New York.
Wells Fargo also hires nationally and internationally, with the majority of Wells Fargo’s project manager positions in North Carolina, India and the Philippines.
CVS Health regularly posts positions throughout the nation, many of which are in Arizona.
Project Manager Experience and Education
Individuals with a goal of becoming a project manager should gain knowledge and experience in the field(s) in which they intend to apply. Experience with leading projects in specific industries is often required.
Some companies, such as Anthem, require up to five years of previous project management experience. In many cases, a degree is required in addition to on-the-job training and experience in a particular setting. For instance, Erie Insurance Group in Pennsylvania requires a bachelor’s degree in business, finance, project management or information systems. American Express will consider job candidates who have a degree in business administration or technology (or, a degree in a related field) and candidates without formal education but have extensive PM work experience. The insurance group prides itself on matching candidates to roles that allow them to showcase their skills and talents.
Project manager job descriptions show that Fortune 1000 companies typically require a four-year degree and four or more years of relevant experience.
When updating your resume, be sure to include any on-the-job training and certificates that apply to your field. Humana prefers a Project Management Professional certificate and Six Sigma certification.
It’s best to include all pertinent information regarding education and experience on your resume to ensure employers don’t have to guess about your qualifications. Employers tend to skip over resumes that are short on skills and experience but love to read about quantified successes and achievements within past project manager roles.
Don’t sell yourself short. Be sure to include the reasons you’d be an asset to the company. This information should be customized to fit each industry in which you apply.
Because generic terms and a lackluster skillset are a surefire way to go unnoticed.
Project Manager Salary
Pay rate can vary greatly among project managers. Payscale.com provides up-to-date salary information based on location and amount of time in the field. For example, the median salary for an experienced IT project manager in Chicago is $101,000 and bonuses can range anywhere from $3,000 to $19,000.
An entry-level project manager in operations can earn $76,000 in San Francisco with bonuses between $500 and $14,000. In Boston, a mid-career program project manager earns $69,000 and bonuses range from $500 to $10,000.
Project Manager Resume Tips
When sending out your resume, list any skills, experience, education and certificates relevant to the position. Keep an eye out for keywords in the project manager job descriptions, and don’t hesitate to customize your resume based on the employer’s requirements and preferences.
Be forthcoming and honest. Most of all, be fearless. Showcase your strengths to make an excellent first impression.
As you dust off your resume, keep in mind what’s included in a project manager job description. Use this guide to help you craft a striking and engaging cover letter and resume, so you can get that first foot in the door.
And when you need a professional project manager resume, we’ll be here to help.