When looking for a job in project management, we often face a number of challenges.

In this article I list 5 of the main challenges that make it difficult for a candidate to get a job in project management.

The high demand for professionals does not mean that it is easy to find a job.

Despite the high demand from project management professionals, many people are unable to get a job and are not even invited to a job interview.

Currently, searching for a job cannot be dealt with unplanned. You need to develop a strategy to get a job.

When I arrived in Canada in 2008, job searching was very different from today’s job search. There were no social networks and the research was mostly done on job sites like Monster or Jobboom.

Today things have changed.

Job sites are not as effective as social networks, especially Linkedin. I would say this is one of the main sources of information for getting a job today.

As a result of this change, recruiters are also adapting their form of recruitment.

It is not enough to present an excellent resume.

You have to show a “professional engagement” on social networks.

I would say that recruiters are more interested in the entrepreneurial profile of candidates than in the worker profile.

A person with an entrepreneurial profile is proactive, committed, participative, creative and always looking for new challenges. This is what you need to show on your resume and professional profile.

In addition, most (if not all) job seekers will face one or more of the following challenges:

  • Lack of proven experience
  • Lack of professional qualification required
  • Unfamiliarity of project management career
  • Lack of knowledge about the labour market
  • Cluelessness about the recruitment process.

What you should do when facing of these challenges so that you do not feel excluded from the job market?

1. Lack of proven experience

This is perhaps the biggest challenge and the most difficult to overcome.

This resembles the Egg and Chicken paradox: Who came first? The egg or the chicken?

You can’t get a job because you have no experience, and you have no experience because you don’t have a job opportunity.

In project management is the same thing.

Here’s a tip for you to beat this challenge:

Do volunteer work. This is the best way to gain experience while adding a point much appreciated by recruiters who is volunteering.

2. Lack of required professional qualification

Like any other profession, project management requires professionals to have specific knowledge about the activities and processes for working with projects.

It is not enough to say that you know … you have to prove this knowledge.

One way to prove this knowledge in the job market is to have project management certifications.

There are several certifications that will open the doors of the job market. Some require previous experience, and some don’t,

Be certified in project management. One of the most recognized project management certifications is the PMP certification. This is one of the certifications that requires the person to prove a work experience to be certified. Another certification is Scrum Master. This certification does not require any previous experience.

3. Lack of career knowledge in project management

Do you know what a project manager does? And a project controller?

If you do not know about these professions, you will not be able to apply for a job.

And it’s not enough to know what a project manager or project controller does. You should do a self-analysis to find out which professional profile matches with your personal profile.

The project manager is a person who must love dealing with people. The project controller is more a technical profile.

Learn about project management careers and businesses. Take an introductory project management course. Know the responsibilities of each role in a project-oriented environment.

4. Lack of knowledge about the labour market

This is another challenge that many people do not care about, but that is critical to success in your job search.

Imagine you are a project manager with extensive experience in oil and gas projects. Where do you think you would be most likely to get a job: in Dallas or in Boston?

Of course, Dallas is a much more oil-driven economy than Boston.

Another point is related to local culture. I will give a very easy example to understand.

Montreal is a predominantly bilingual city, meaning most people speak English and French. If you want to be a project manager and only speak French, for example, you will miss many opportunities in companies that require both languages.

Study the job market you are applying for. Find out what are the cultures and habits of work and local recruitment. Identify the main characteristics of the business areas where the company operates, such as IT, Health, Aeronautics, Agriculture, Oil, etc.

5. Lack of knowledge about the recruitment process

When submitting your application to a company, do you add a cover letter?

After a job interview, would you like to send a thank you letter and follow up your application?

If you know that one of your friends is working for a company that has a job you are interested, do you send him your CV, or do you apply on the job site?

All these questions concern the recruitment process. This process varies from one company to another and even from one location to another.

If you do not know the recruitment process, your chances of success will be very low.
I will give a personal example. When I arrived in Canada, I found several recruiting companies offering the same job.

I thought that if I applied for all companies, my chances will increase to have my CV evaluated by the contractor. It was a big mistake to not know how the recruitment process works.

Here in Quebec, if you submit multiple applications for the same job, your application will not be considered. In short, I missed several opportunities because I did not know the recruitment process.

Know the recruitment process. Talk to the recruiters and discuss the steps to follow for this hiring. Follow this process strictly. Do not try to find shortcuts or alternatives to this process. This is taken very seriously by recruiters.


Now that you know some of the key challenges in getting a job, it’s your turn to develop a winning strategy for your job search.

Want to know more about working in project management?

Enroll in the ‘Work in Project Management’ course and develop a winning strategy to get your next job.

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