Recently, the title of Project Manager has been severely abused to say the least, with programs such as ‘The Apprentice’ seriously misrepresenting just what a true PM does, portraying them as little more than performing circus clowns, incompetent task managers, bullies and chancers.
As a result, my team get applications and calls all day long from people who find themselves unexpectedly on the job market, who have decided that they will become (or are) Project Managers now. I do not doubt that each can bring some interesting skillsets the fore, but in truth, the vast majority are good general/operations/ production /client account managers , who have worked on some projects during their day to day employment activities and this is clearly evident than when you enquire into their use of relevant project controls and tools.
In our opinion, the best PM professionals are pragmatists and not aggressive despots, who provide professional structure and discipline when all too often there is none. They do not leave a wave of chaos and disruption behind them in the headlong drive to achieve their deliverables at all cost. A true Project Manager will add real value to any organisation or business.
Believe it or not, many Companies are still saying that they always struggle to find good PM talent, and yet with so many “PMs” available, how can this be true? Don’t be fooled into thinking you’ll be able to find a job easily in 2012. Companies were undoubtedly very picky about whom they hired in 2011, and often the recruiting timeframes were very protracted. Unfortunately this trend shows every sign of continuing throughout 2012.
With a depressed economy impacting hugely on recruitment budgets, hiring managers are producing evermore lengthy lists of must-haves to ensure they achieve maximum value for money and value add when hiring Project Managers, often a track record of working within the same industry sector or with an organisation’s preferred software can be definitive in mitigating risk for the hirer, thus proving attractive. Naturally, most PMs currently without work probably don’t have the “right” package and so 2012 isn’t looking too promising as many organisations continue to show a reluctance to hire unemployed professionals who may or may not have the appropriate “transferable” skills.
What can we do as a Recruiter?
It is our job to understand what each client really needs for the role. Seeing beyond the often generic job descriptions and person specifications is vital in ensuring we integrate every aspect of the PM’s skillset to the client’s requirement.
What can you do as a Project Manager?
Sadly, there is no magic wand that can be waved here to ensure success, however ensuring your professional profile matches the requirement and clearly showcases the relevant skillsets for the role you are pursing is a major step in getting over the first hurdle, include as many acronyms and buzz words as appropriate to stimulate interest. In addition keep abreast of new trends in project management i.e. Six Sigma, Agile and other methodologies being adopted in a particular industry sector, this will set you apart from other Project Managers and often give a competitive edge.
What can we do collectively?
We cannot force square pegs into round holes, but by working closely with both the client and the applicant, we can often round of some of the corners and hone the professional service’s required by a client to ensure we have” a best of breed” solution each and every time.