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How to Start a Remote PM Job

Project managers will always be a vital component of the industrial business model, whether they are working on-site, in-office, remotely or, more likely, in a combination of all of these contexts.

How to Start a Remote PM Job: eAskme
How to Start a Remote PM Job: eAskme

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With the nature of work looking to be indefinitely, if not permanently oriented towards working remotely, below are some ways to help maximize your odds of landing that remote PM job.

Get the PMP Certification

The first step to landing a remote PM job is, it should go without saying, to take and pass the PMP examination.

The PMP certification is a rigorous and in-depth accreditation that provides candidates with a sophisticated technical understanding of all aspects of project management, from finance and accounting to people management, to budget planning and forecasting.

Attaining the PMP certification requires reading the PMP credentials handbook and ensuring that you have completed all of the necessary eligibility prerequisites, which include both field and educational experience.

Following that, you will need to prepare a study regimen and successfully pass the exam.

Look for Unlisted Industry Jobs

The fact of the matter is, in most industries, the majority of jobs are not published.

If you are spamming resumes to every applicable posted job in an industry, your chances of landing a remote PM job are not very high.

The majority of hiring is done via friends and acquaintances hiring other friends and acquaintances, including previous colleagues, coworkers, roommates and the like.

With this in mind, there are a few things that you should be doing at all times if you aim to land a remote project management position.

One of them is looking for ways to directly reach hiring managers.

Sending an application package (even an impressive one) off to a general HR email listed on a large job aggregator is very often a disheartening uphill battle.

Instead, use the search function on LinkedIn to find the hiring manager and email/contact him or her directly.

The other is to try and make at least 100 contacts per month. Whether this is through LinkedIn and other social media channels, by phone, email, or showing up at conventions, never stop networking.

Emphasize your ability to self-direct and motivate

Success in remote positions, and especially remote management positions, are predicated on your ability to self-direct and self-motivate.

Your cover letter, resume and any interview you happen to secure should emphasize these abilities in as many different contexts as possible.

If you are in a position where a project is dependent on your ability to coordinate a large number of different tasks and people, you need to be able to operate without a lot of oversight or micromanaging.

Try to highlight past professional experience where you took charge, organized and managed your and others’ time well.

Draw attention to your ability to make things happen, an entrepreneurial spirit, and intrinsic sources of motivation and rewards.

Demonstrate Superior Soft Skills

Being a good manager and leader requires superior soft skills regardless of the context, but even better ones if you are operating remotely.

An ability to convey trust, empathy, fair-mindedness and compassion through a screen or an instant messaging application is an essential part of what management does in a remote work world.

If you are being hired remotely for a remote project management role, your remote interviews are the ideal time to let prospective employers know that you are well equipped with the virtual interpersonal skills to lead and get things done remotely.

Active listening and good body language are especially important in remote conversations because with faltering internet connections and less-than-ideal audio and video equipment, there is plenty of room for messages to be lost, intentions to be misinterpreted and relationships to suffer.

Augment Your PM Skills With Digital Ones

Project managers, regardless of the industry, are responsible for organizing, directing and planning projects that are completed on time, to specifications and on-budget.

All of this requires specific technical skill sets, expertise and experience gained in the classroom and on the job site. In the digital world of remote work and communication, it also means a suite of digital skills and competencies that allow you to do the job from behind a computer, phone, or tablet screen.

There are 5 basic digital skill-sets required to work safely and successfully in a remote work paradigm.

These are transactional skills related to payments and receipts; an ability to use a variety of devices and common software and to safely handle information; written and visual communication skills; the ability to create and edit documents and a variety of multimedia; and knowledge of cybersecurity trends and best practices.

Companies that are increasingly conducting businesses online are concerned with being able to trust digital employees, and especially those in management positions, with extensive access to highly sensitive proprietary and client information.

Conclusion

Trying to find project management work right now, as it is for many other professionals, is likely to be a daunting and frustrating task.

The number of positions in most industries is far exceeded by the number of qualified applicants.

But, if you incorporate the above strategies into your search and focus on selling yourself as the ideal remote PM, you stand a much better chance of securing gainful employment as WFH project manager.

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