Do you read job postings and think “Heck, I can do that”? You know, those job descriptions that emphasize good communication skills, the ability to present information, ability to work under pressure and maybe even be a good team player? Voice in your head says “That’s you. You can do all those things. You should apply.”
Maybe the job description reads something like the one below – which took me two minutes to find on www.indeed.com using “project manager” as my search criteria.
* Plans, estimates, staffs, organizes and monitors projects
* Assess impact and implications from a cost, efficiency, contractual, legal and experience (Customer/HCP) standpoint.
* Determines requirements, plans projects, establishes priorities and monitors progress.
* Evaluates project status and resource utilization and implements changes to improve the team’s effectiveness
* Identifies risks and vulnerabilities, and creates contingency plans
* Identifies reporting requirements, and creates monitoring and control mechanisms
* Conducts regular and ad-hoc project reviews with project team, sponsors, and clients
* Defines communication plans & maintains open communication among project participants and interested parties
* Compiles and analyzes results of services for identification of improvement opportunities.
* Provides measurement and cost savings support (development, reporting, validation and improvement) for service management.
* Develops strong relationships with business leads and sponsors
*Demonstrated change leadership skills – process improvements when possible.
* Demonstrated strong analytical and problem-solving skills.
* Demonstrated ability to drive results required.
* Self directed
* Able to influence in direct and matrix environment
* Minimum of 2 years work experience in project management and business operations
Nothing in that job posting that you’re not familiar with, right? So you send off your resume and cover letter (and probably fill out their online application). You spend time emphasizing your soft skills on your resume… you even put all of those keywords into your professional summary, because isn’t that what you’re supposed to do? And then hit the send button, confident that you’ll get a call, because clearly, you have all the skills they’re looking for even though you might not have the 0-3 years experience in (fill-in-the-blank here).
I hate to be the wet blanket here, but you’re probably not going to get a call. Unless you demonstrated that your EXPERIENCE (yes, I mean work experience) somewhat matches what would be required of the job to which you’ve applied, you’re likely not going to get noticed. Why? Because that’s what you’re being screened on. You’re not being screened on whether you can do the job; you’re being screened on whether you’ve done the job. I know, I know, exceptions do exist. But you get my point, right?