Tips to Secure Your Graduate Project Management Job
Many of us understand the pain of securing that first elusive graduate role, and as a recruitment consultant with 10+ years’ experience recruiting IT professionals for permanent positions, including project managers, heads of IT, software developers, and more, I sympathise with individuals looking to gain their first role within technical project management. The project management market is fast-paced and always in-demand, however, that doesn’t mean finding junior project management jobs is easy.
So, what can graduates do to increase their chances of successfully entering the project management career ladder?
Apply your degree to your job search
Researching how your degree coincides with project management will take your application to the next level. Find out how your degree and the skills you acquired through it could strengthen your chances and apply them to your application. Additionally, mentioning any modules that relate to project management will highlight to any prospective employers how your existing skills and knowledge could support you in a role.
Whether or not you studied a business-focused or technical degree, further training is available. There are a number of project management qualifications dedicated applicants can work towards. Consider Foundation or Practitioner Prince2, ITIL v4, Six Sigma or CompTIA Project+ – all well-known entry-level courses that could assist you in securing your first job in project management.
Widen the net
When searching and applying, don’t focus on roles that only mention ‘Project Manager’ in the title. Although you may be looking for junior or assistant roles, also consider opportunities with a focus on project planning or controlling. They’re a great way to gain relevant experience and work your way up the ladder.
Experience is still experience
Ensure you enter employment whilst you continue to seek a graduate placement. Employers like applicants who are eager to kick-start their careers, and you never know what experience you could gain or what opportunities you may come across. In addition, when the time comes to attend interviews, you’ll have examples you can apply when answering questions, rather than relying on theoretical answers.
Project Managers are expected to have a wide range of soft skills to carry out their work effectively. As a graduate, you’ll already have some experience in these areas, but there are always ways to improve these skills through paid and volunteer work.
- Critical thinking
- Quality management
- Conflict management
- Organisation & planning
Connecting with project management industry professionals is not only a great way to increase your chances of finding a job, but also to learn about the industry you want to enter. Networking can be done virtually via forums, LinkedIn groups or webinars, or in-person through workshops and industry events.
Don’t make the mistake of relying solely on the classic job boards. That’s not to say project management roles aren’t advertised on these websites, but there are some project management recruitment agencies and employers who choose to only advertise on specialist project manager job boards.
Identify a recruitment agency that specialises in recruiting for Project Management roles. At VIQU, we live and breathe IT and technical recruitment, and have years of experience assisting talented project management professionals with identifying their next project management contract or permanent job – whether they are a technical project manager, a project planner, or a project administrator.
If you’re searching for an IT project management recruitment agency that will assist you in identifying your next project management job, or you’re a business in need of a talented technical project manager, please get in touch.
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