So you want to be an engineering project manager. Great idea! In this guide, we provide tips on how to create a stand-out resume that can help you secure an interview and land your dream job. Let’s start with examples of the three standard resume formats.
Project managers in other industries
Project manager jobs are as diverse as the number of industries available to hire them. Project managers can be found in almost every industry, each with its own unique responsibilities, skill sets and certifications. Engineering project managers are just one example of the many titles found under this category.
Some other common project manager titles include:
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Job duties of an engineering project manager
Engineering project managers play a critical role in the development of engineering projects. They rely on the same standards, guidelines and processes — such as execution, monitoring and closing — as other project managers, but specialize in engineering projects with a focus on a subspecialty such as chemical, mechanical, civil/construction or industrial engineering.
Their most common duties include:
Tracking and reporting project status, milestones and issues.
Communicating regularly with clients, engineers, tradespeople and vendors.
Performing quality assurance tests on various parts of the project.
Defining and implementing requirements.
Allocation and management of resources.
Ordering equipment and supplies.
Collaborating with operations, project and program teams.
Evaluation and maintenance of operational specifications and procedures.
Performing technical duties to support and assist project teams as needed.
Engineering Project Managers Median Salary
The average salary for engineering project managers in all specialties in the United States is $119,147, according to Project Management Institute. Job growth depends on the speciality.
Top skills for engineering project managers
The list of skills required to be an engineering project manager is long, so it’s a good idea to read the job description carefully to make sure you have the required skills for each job.
We’ve narrowed down the top-six skills for this field. They are:
- Problem-solving: Engineering project managers have to identify problems before they happen — if you can tackle issues before they negatively impact a project, then you’re a step ahead of the pack.
- Organization: Project managers are often tasked with creating or keeping order among many moving parts and teams, so being organized is key.
- Communication: Although engineering project managers don’t manage people, they do coordinate workers, create and manage schedules, and interact with multiple teams regularly.
- Familiarity of engineering processes and industry terms: The specific terms you should know depend on the type of engineering you’re involved with. If you’re in software engineering you will often use the term “object-oriented programming” and if you’re involved in chemical engineering you’ll want to know what “absolute temperature” is.
- Engineering software knowledge: Each branch of engineering uses different types of software, but you should be well-versed on the type your branch uses. For example, mechanical engineers rely heavily on Mathcad while civil engineers use AutoCAD frequently.
- Analytical thinking: This skill set is crucial. Engineering project managers have to think fast on their feet. The ability to break complex problems into components helps them solve problems quickly and prioritize tasks.
Engineering project managers education and certifications
A degreeMost engineering project managers have a bachelor’s degree in engineering from a program accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc., and they often specialize in a subdiscipline, such as civil, mechanical, chemical, environmental or industrial engineering. Many obtain master’s degrees.
LicensureOnce you have developed a solid foundation in the fundamentals of your chosen engineering focus, then you must gain practical experience in the field before you can become a project manager. Many states require engineering project managers to be licensed, which usually requires at least four years of practical experience and passing the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam, which is offered in several subdisciplines, according to the National Society of Professional Engineers.
CertificationsThe Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) is an entry-level certification administered by the Project Management Institute (PMI). You need it if you want more advanced certification in the future.
The Project Management Professional (PMP) certification, also offered by the PMI, is the next step after the CAPM and it is considered the industry standard. This certification is administered only to those with prior project management experience. According to PMI, 82% of project managers (all types) hold this certification. Those who hold this certification report a 22% higher salary on average, globally.
The Professional in Project Management (PPM) certification, administered by the Global Association for Quality Management, is suitable for those who want training in keeping project schedules, approaches to project control, and leading and motivating project teams.
Engineering project manager resume-writing tips
There are many ways to write an engineering project manager resume, depending on your specialty, experience level and job history, but these three tips will help you make the most of your resume as a marketing tool.
- Grab their attention with a stand-out professional summary or objective statement. Seriously! Use the first part of your resume to your advantage. If you’re experienced, then write a professional summary that plays up your specialty and a major project you’ve worked on. And if you’re newly minted, make your objective all about the special, related skills you have that will help your potential employer succeed.
Play up your skills. Chances are, if you are applying for a position as an engineering project manager, you have some strong technical skills and have developed the soft skills that will help you succeed. Easy enough to just add them to your resume, right? Not so fast! While your skill set is likely impressive, you don’t want to throw all of them in the hiring manager’s face. You’ve got to pick and choose. Here’s how:
- Look closely at the job description and identify the required and nice-to-have skills that match your own. Remember: Skills don’t come just from work experience. You likely have valuable job-related skills from volunteer work, classes, travel, parenting and hobbies, too.
- Identify one or two of the biggest projects you’ve worked on. If you haven’t worked on a project, then think of a class project or internship. What did you do and what was the impact?
- What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve overcome at work or school, and how did you overcome them? You will find some of your strongest skills there.
- Pick the top-five technical, soft and transferable skills, and describe exactly how you can use each on the job and how they will help the company succeed.
- Quantify your achievements. The most compelling resumes not only show off the job seeker’s accomplishments, they use numbers for real impact. To do this, think about your work or school history and identify specific work you did that you’re most proud of. Did you save the company thousands of dollars? How? Maybe you created a process that improved workflow efficiency by 30%. Show at least one of these measurable achievements for each job in your work history, or list them along with matching skills if you don’t have a work history.
What is an engineering project manager?
An engineering project manager must be able to plan, schedule, delegate, track and report results on projects while effectively managing and communicating with team members. Engineering project managers use the same standard processes and methodologies as other types of project managers. Ideal for those with an engineering background who want to work in project management from conception to completion.
How do you become an engineering project manager?
The first step to a career in engineering project management is to earn a bachelor’s degree in an engineering specialty such as civil engineering, ideally from a program accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). Next, obtain any required state licensure, which varies state by state. Passing the fundamentals of engineering (FE) exam is the first step in the licensure process. Obtain a master’s degree in engineering, project management or a more concrete engineering subdiscipline. Achieve professional certification from the Project Management Institute (PMI), which offers the Project Management Professional (PMP) and Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certifications.
Is project engineering a good career?
Engineering project managers are in high demand with 22 million new jobs to be added through 2027, according to the Project Management Institute. Add to this an average annual salary of $88,397 and the opportunity to advance, and engineering project management is a solid career choice with a good outlook.