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Projects can make or break a company. If they are not adequately managed through the proper project management framework, they can impact the organization adversely. Hence, employers seek the right project manager to keep their projects on track. To be considered for this position, a well-written cover letter that demonstrates your comprehensive experience and expertise in the field is a must.
As a project management professional, you may be great at planning, monitoring, and leading small to large-scale projects. However, communicating these skills in your cover letter can be challenging. Thus, in this article, we will share best practices for creating an engaging project management cover letter to help you outshine the competition.
1. Analyze the job requirements
The objective of your cover letter is to convince recruiters that you are the right person for the project management role. For this reason, it is imperative that your experiences, skills, and accomplishments relate back to your target employer. As a job seeker, you probably know that recruiters are looking for someone who will benefit the company. Hence, it is crucial to have a better understanding of what they really need before you start writing your cover letter.
We highly suggest going through the job description at least twice. This will give you a better sense of what the company is looking for and what they need potential employees to do for the role. Take note of all critical project management skills the position requires. These are typically the terms and phrases that repeatedly appear throughout the job post.
Once you know the job requirements, you can sell yourself more effectively. You can easily create an attention-grabbing narrative of your project management background that matches the company’s specific needs. Keep in mind that the secret lies simply in addressing their needs right upfront. Doing so can definitely increase your chances of landing an interview.
2. Showcase hard and soft project management skills
Project management roles require a mix of technical knowledge and skills combined with key soft skills. Highlighting these in your cover letter can help you come off as a more compelling candidate. Moreover, you can reassure hiring professionals that you have the requisite project management abilities and a deep understanding of industry tools to get the job done.
Technical skills, which are also referred to as hard skills, are the more tangible and measurable abilities required for project management roles. Including these in your cover letter can help you showcase your technical know-how and capacity to lead projects from start to finish. Below are some of the most important hard or technical project management skills you can add to your cover letter.
- Planning and forecasting
- Risk management
- Tracking and monitoring
- Project management methodologies
- Meeting facilitation
- Project management software
- Contract management
On the other hand, soft skills are intangible, difficult to measure, and are not associated with any concrete or measurable output. Nonetheless, according to a study, 93% of employers said that soft skills are essential factors in hiring decisions. Adding relevant soft skills to your cover letter can help you demonstrate your ability to work on your own or with others and juggle multiple deadlines. Here are some of the must-have project management soft skills:
- Time management
- Critical thinking
3. Prove your competency
Companies rely on a project manager’s expertise to ensure their projects are completed according to specifications, on budget, and within schedule. Thus, it is imperative for hiring professionals to envision how you can add significant value as their potential project manager. You can do this by presenting what you bring to the table and highlighting some of your most impressive project accomplishments in your cover letter. This will demonstrate your capacity to deliver results by putting your project management skills to use.
Danielle Boone, Director of Project Management at Go Fish Digital, said that cover letters with detailed examples of projects that candidates led captured her attention. As a person responsible for hiring, she looks for information on how candidates were able to solve problems and make a measurable impact. So, make sure to include an example in your cover letter to communicate that you’re a strong candidate. However, do not just randomly pick from what is listed on your resume. Instead, emphasize your most recent and notable project wins with direct relevance to the position you’re applying for.
Here’s how to effectively showcase your project management qualifications and competencies:
As a Project Manager at XYZ Enterprise, I directed a $5.8M digital transformation project for an air transport company. I facilitated all aspects of end-to-end project planning, detailed budget analyses, performance reviews, and resource allocation. I also led a project team of 8 and coordinated directly with clients on behalf of the company to ensure the project scope and requirements were on track. The successful deployment of this project resulted in the reduction of the incident rate from over 5% to 0.8%, subsequently increasing goods safety.
Working in diverse project management roles for the past 8 years, I’ve had the opportunity to oversee a range of critical projects for 2 global transportation companies. By utilizing appropriate project management tools and methodologies, I was able to execute highly profitable projects with budgets of up to $50M. Throughout my career, I have played a pivotal role in increasing their revenues by up to 30% while saving over $2M in costs.
4. Make your cover letter about the company
Your cover letter is an excellent opportunity to describe why hiring you would be valuable for the company’s project objectives. Nonetheless, hiring professionals aren’t just seeking a candidate who can do the job but also who perfectly fits into the company’s structure and culture. Hence, apart from demonstrating how highly qualified you are for the role, you should also showcase that you are aware of the company, its values, aims, products/services, and recent projects.
It is important to take some extra time and effort to get to know your target company. By doing so, you can gain a better understanding of who they are and what kind of person they are looking for. Consequently, allowing you to better communicate that you’re a perfect culture fit and the right potential project manager for their team.
A cover letter is a great tool to convey the value you offer and convince hiring professionals that you’re an effective project manager. We understand that creating one can be a confusing and daunting task. Thus, we highly recommend following the best practices we shared in this article to sell yourself better and increase your likelihood of getting selected for an interview. However, if you need further support, feel free to reach out to us, and we would be happy to help.