Getting a PMO job

How to secure a role or job in a project management office (PMO)

It’s rarely a childhood ambition to work in a project management office (PMO). During your education and early career, it will likely have presented itself as a valid career option, so it’s important to understand how to get a job in a PMO.

There’s no one way to get a job, as anyone will attest. However, landing a role inside a PMO at the seniority to match your experience can be very different to other types of roles.

Whether you’ve worked in change management for years or are just starting out in your projects career, knowing how recruitment for PMOs works can make all the difference. With that in mind, we’re going to explore:

  • The job roles that relate to your PMO skills
  • Where jobs in PMOs get advertised and recruited for
  • How to create a CV that will stand out from your competition
  • Ways you can prepare for your interview for a PMO
  • Getting ready for a virtual PMO interview
  • How to move towards freelance and self-employment in the PMO sphere

What job options are available to a PMO?

As well as being the name of the office where projects are run through, PMO is also a common job title for the person who runs said office.

Not every organisation uses this structure. Historically, there has been data about how fast a PMO can get closed down or be seen as ineffective, which can put off businesses calling a department their “project management office”.

Because of this, job titles that include such phrases as:

  • Change delivery
  • Project co-ordinator
  • Organisational transformation

It will likely match your PMO skills. If you’re looking to move up towards the C-suite from your PMO, jobs around operations and efficiency will be where to start looking.

Where are PMO jobs listed?

Finding a role as a PMO within a PMO can be challenging. Roles are advertised on job sites such as Indeed, Total Jobs, Monster and Job Site.  You can also look for agencies that specialise in project management recruitment or specialist sites such as Project Manager Jobs.  You should not overlook checking a companies website as many post open roles.

Head hunters do a similar job to agencies. Although they are more likely to approach you directly, there’s no harm in connecting with head hunters in your industry before they get to you.

Social media may not seem like the best place to advance your career. You’re right inasmuch as TikTok isn’t where COOs go looking for their next PMO. However, LinkedIn and Twitter offer you the chance to connect with professionals.

What’s the best format for my PMO CV?

Every job you apply for should have a bespoke CV, particularly when applying for a high-level job within a PMO.

There are lots of considerations when writing your CV for a PMO role, such as:

  • Whether to include a photo on your CV
  • Choosing a career object or career summary
  • What chronology to use for your work experience
  • How to present your skills and certifications

As well as the language and data you include to catch the attention of the recruiter.

Understanding automated HR processes and how your CV is processed by computers will also boost your chances of getting to the next recruitment stage.

How can I prepare for an interview at a PMO?

There are some standard tips about job interview preparation that will always come in handy. However, the jobs available in a PMO can be a different beast to other project work so it’s worth understanding how a PMO interview might go.

What do I need to do for a virtual PMO interview?

Having an online interview through Zoom or Skype can be more daunting. Some elements of your interview rituals won’t apply, such as your first conversation with the receptionist or the first handshake and eye contact.

There are other things to be aware of on a technical level as well as how you present yourself in a Zoom job interview. We’ll cover more in a coming post.

How can I use my PMO skills as a freelancer or contractor?

When your personal circumstances change, you might what to move away from the 9-5 in an office setting and move to a self-employed model.

You can potentially move to being a freelancer working across different projects and change transitions. As a contractor, you’ll have a different relationship with the company you’re producing work for.

The take-home

Finding a new role in a PMO can seem like a daunting task. Knowing how to get a job in a PMO and the steps you need to take to get there will help immensely. As a person used to working with projects, following a workflow process will already be familiar.