Applying for a Project Management job in another industry? Set yourself up for success!

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The Key - by Engin Erdogan via Flickr

The Key - by Engin Erdogan via Flickr

Guest post by Erika Flora

The principles of Project Management apply universally, so a good Project Manager should be able to manage projects in any industry, right?? Well?not if you ask most employers.? They want someone with project management experience in their particular field.? So, how do you overcome this?? If you are contemplating a move to a new industry, here are some ideas to help you be more attractive to employers:

Highlight specific accomplishments on your resume. Include hard facts and figures on projects that were, for example, completed on time or under budget.? Stick to tangible numbers that show your skill in the area of project management and will easily translate to employers in any industry

Gain some industry specific skills. Take a course, or better yet, obtain a certification, in the desired industry.? Seek out training online or at a local training facility or university.? If you are interested in getting into biotech, for example, there are lots of online?industry-specific?courses like this one -?”Project Management Fundamentals for Lifesciences“.??

Project management principles apply across all industries, but employers want to know that you will be able to ?speak the language? at their company.? In most cases, a foundational course will be enough to get you there.

Get connected! Network with individuals in your industry.? Consider joining a professional organization specific to the industry you are interested in joining.? If, for example, you want to get into IT, you can join something like itSMF or AITP, and network with people in the industry.? Ask lots of questions on how they got into the industry and consider helping out as a volunteer, so others can see your skills while you learn from theirs.

Get professional help. Consult recruiters that focus on the desired industry.? You can search MRI International?s website for recruiters in a particular field.? Recruiters work with employers every day and have a good pulse on what employers are looking for in candidates.? They can provide a wealth of knowledge and ideas on certifications to take, where the best job boards are, etc., and they can go to bat for you with employers to help you get your foot in the door.

No one method is a magic bullet for breaking into a new industry.? However, there are lots of easy ways that a project manager can learn new skills and vocabulary, thereby making themselves more attractive to employers in a new industry.? Happy job hunting, and best of luck!

Erika Flora, PMP, ITIL Expert
Principal, Beyond20