What Does a Project Manager Do? Job Description and Sample Resume


project managers ear many hats problem solver to diplomat

What do project managers do? In a nutshell, project managers keep projects on-track and on-budget. They have to look at the big picture and details of the project at the same time.

The exciting part is, they are the conduit for change and progress. They must start, plan, execute, keep watch over and finish a project.  They can also work in almost any industry. Although a lot of effort is put on the planning portion, you have to be just as gung-ho about executing and monitoring the project.

Without projects and project managers there would be no internet, no moon landing, no Netflix and no Prius to name a few. This is a great career choice for an ENTJ personality type. It is also a good choice for the ESTJ.

These began as what ifs and impossible goals. But with project management, these projects changed the world. If this sounds exciting, keep reading.

You would make a good project manager if you enjoy setting and reaching goals, bringing order to chaos and can motivate people to do what you need. 

You would not enjoy being a PM if you loathe talking to people, fold under pressure, or you’re a perfectionist. 

$112,200 — The median total compensation for project managers in the United States according to the Project Management Salary Survey, 10th Edition.

Bachelor’s degree is a requirement, but it doesn’t have to be project management related. A CAPM or PMP certification is a big plus. 

What Skills Do I Need to be a Project Manager?

Besides being extremely organized and working well under pressure, a project manager must have people skills and communicate clearly. They will likely have to communicate to different audiences — stakeholders, managers, project teams and people outside of the organization — about who needs to do what and when to meet the project goals. 

People skills — knowing how to read and react or not react to people is a key aspect of the job. You have to be a social chameleon and tailor your communication approach to the audience. You also have to be willing to lean on your team and trust that they believe in the project as much as you do. 

Other essential skills for a project manager are:

  • Motivation
  • Communication
  • Organization
  • Leadership
  • Prioritization
  • Problem solving
  • Adaptability

Project Manager Job Search Tools

Project Manager Sample Resume

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Project Manager Job Boards

Where Do Project Managers Work?

Project managers work in all kinds of industries from IT to construction and anywhere someone needs complex projects to run smoothly.

Project Manager Example

Construction managers oversee projects

Construction Manager 

What they do: Plan, budget, oversee and coordinate construction projects .

Where they work: Generally construction managers work out of a field office on the project site. They can keep tabs on the progress and make informed choices about what to do next. 

Hours: Because the project can be unpredictable, construction managers can work beyond 40 hours a week. 

What You Need to Be a Construction Manager: Most construction managers must have a bachelor’s degree in:

  • Construction science
  • Construction management 
  • Architecture
  • Engineering

The occupation is projected to grow 10 percent from 2018 to 2028(source)

Pay: Construction managers make a median salary of $93,370 (source).

Education

In addition to a bachelor’s degree, ideally in the field where you would manage projects, you need to learn about the standard tools, terminology and processes that project management professionals use. It’s a relatively new profession that today follows distinct guidelines. 

Project Management Certification Exams Comparison

Getting certified in project management can boost your earning power and expertise. This table shows the different certifications offered by the Project Management Institute.

CertificationBenefits Cost About
PMPYou can work
in any industry,
anywhere, w/any
methodology.
$405-$555200
questions
w/ 4-hour
time limit.
PgMPProgram Management
Certification that gives
you a competitive
advantage.
$800 to
$1,000
Panel review
170 questions w/
4 hour time limit.
PfMPPortfolio Management
Certification that gives
you a competitive
advantage.
$800 to
$1,000
Panel review
170 questions w/
4-hour time limit.
CAPMGives new project
managers a competitive
advantage getting hired.
$225 to
$300
Online exam
w/150 questions
3-hour time limit.

How Much Do Project Managers Make?

Project manager salaries depend on the industry, location of and years of experience a person has. The numbers vary, but they should give you an idea of how much you could earn.

Entry-level

  • Entry-level project managers make about $48,000 according to reported salaries on Indeed.com.
  • Entry-level construction project managers make an average of $50,977 according to Payscale.com.
  • Entry-level information technology project managers make an average of $60,555 according to Payscale.com.

Project Management Professional (PMP)® certified project managers report that their salaries are 23% more than non-certified PMs.

Positive Affirmations for Project Managers

No project is impossible, the solution appears when I don't overthink it. Positive affirmation, affirmations for project managers, office art, free printable quote, project manager quote.

Download the 4×4 inch printable wall art for your office.

  1. I communicate with anyone to bring the best possible outcome.
  2. My goals are attainable in the time allotted.
  3. I solve problems using innovative ideas and proven frameworks.
  4. I am calm under pressure.
  5. No project is impossible, the solution appears when I don’t overthink it.
  6. I get my projects done on budget and on time, no matter the challenge.
  7. I can talk to anyone about anything.

Take this career personality test to find out if you are a good fit for this job. The 16 Personalities test will let you know more about your personality in accurate detail. The text takes about 10 minutes and you don’t have to think too hard about your answers.

Just be honest. Finding the right job starts with knowing who you are. Good luck and take the test.

Tracey Lamphere

Tracey Lamphere, M.S. IMC is the editor of Job Affirmations, a publication that provides information and ideas to use mindfulness, positive affirmations, and visualizations to transform your career.

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