What are Some Essential Skills for an Effective Project Manager? How Can These Skills be Developed?

Being a project manager means handling a long list of responsibilities. The right manager can make all the difference in the smooth navigation of a project. 

That said, the scope of project manager skills is constantly expanding. If you are new to this field or trying to upgrade your resume, you need to keep up with the demands of the evolving position. 

In this article, we will go through the project manager skills you need to be successful in this field. We will also give you tips on how you can highlight your project management experience in your professional resume. 

But before you go all-in what project manager skills are, the first step might be to read about jobs of the future 2030.

What Are Project Manager Skills?

So, what does it take to be a great project manager?

The scope of project management starts when you are assigned or initiate a project. There are different steps involved in the process, such as initiation, planning, execution, monitoring, and closing. 

Each phase will demand a different set of skills of a project manager to ensure its implementation. 

Moreover, the type of project manager skills might also vary depending on the specific job you have undertaken. For instance, you might be heading only one phase, or one team, limiting your exposure to other areas. Yet, there are a number of aspects that are relevant across the field: 

  • leadership and team management; 
  • organization, prioritization, and time management;
  • communication;
  • negotiation;
  • risk and conflict management;
  • budget management;
  • technical skills. 

What Are the Hard Skills for Project Manager?

The hard skills of a project manager focus on the technical aspects of the job. Here is a breakdown of the most demanded technical skill for resume.

Your employer is going to be looking for a candidate who can handle all the facets of the job. This includes covering tangible deliverables, such as the project planning, scheduling, and budget. Additional skills for resume of project managers encompass familiarity with the latest tools and software used in the profession. 

Project managers should also have specific subject matter expertise matching the type of industry they are working in to accomplish tasks professionally. 

What Are the Soft Skills for Project Manager?

Unlike the hard skills, the soft skills of a project manager are more flexible and transferable. These are applicable not only for the specific qualities of a project manager but also for the betterment of job performance regardless of your career field. 

For instance, hiring managers are always looking for project managers who can handle effective communication and collaboration with multiple teams. In addition, you are expected to have creative thinking, time management, and problem-solving skills. 

Project managers should have a clear idea of how to manage teams effectively and ensure the right work environment for the fulfillment of the project. 

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Top Project Manager Skills

For the best chance of success, every project a company undertakes needs a person who is responsible for its implementation. This includes clearly defining the objectives, compiling a team, and ensuring that all the requirements related to a project are met. 

As you already know, project managers combine their skills, knowledge, and helpful tools to plan a project and its successful execution. Compared to the role of a general manager, this position will have you dealing within the limited scope of the project, as well as specific deadlines and deliverables.

In the next section, we will describe each of the most sought-after technical skills of a project manager:

  • contract management and procurement;
  • risk management;
  • planning and monitoring;
  • quality management;
  • scheduling and budgeting. 

Contract Management and Procurement 

Project managers are responsible for ensuring the successful completion of the contract and associated policies. Managing professionals should have a clear idea of how to convert the project needs to deliverables and how to find the necessary services to fulfill them. 

They are also required to locate the best vendors and manage the supply chain while handling the stakeholders. 

Risk Management 

As a project manager, you will have to perform risk identification, analysis, and control. In other words, you should consider any risks that are likely to occur and ensure that you keep them to a minimum. Apart from the project management experience, one can also rely on technical tools to handle risks in a structured manner. 


It is the project manager’s job to guide the execution and smooth running of the project. The basics of this include identifying the different phases and delegating the work. A project manager should determine who is responsible for a certain part of the project. They ensure each team member accomplishes relevant tasks and has a sufficient but manageable workload to do their job as efficiently and quickly as possible.


Project managers also have to monitor and evaluate the running of the project. They use a number of performance metrics for this purpose, such as cost variance, resource utilization, productivity, customer satisfaction, and more.

Meeting deadlines is important, but if you want to be appreciated in this role, you should mind quality as well. All stakeholders should be satisfied with the project result, so you have to pay attention to details.

Scheduling and Budgeting 

Project managers should also know how to schedule the different phases and allocate the required budget. This means defining the deliverable and the cost involved. Moreover, project managers should be prepared with a sequence of activities for each phase. 

This is often done by setting different milestones with clearly outlined requirements and ensuring that the team adheres to them. 

How to Improve Project Manager Skills

As you see, the list of project manager skills is quite long. Many of these are often acquired by experience rather than a degree. 

Indeed, project management is a learning process. Each project you undertake will teach you new things. However, you should be willing to put in the effort and time. 

If you are keen to improve specific aspects of your skillset, there are dozens of online courses that can help you with it. You will be able to find the relevant information applicable to your industry on MOOC platforms and other dedicated educational websites. 

There is no question that if you are ready to commit to it, you will definitely be able to garner your project manager skills as you go along. 

Project Manager in the Workplace

Being a project manager is all about ensuring that the project is completed as needed. The required skills of a project manager can be widely different based on the project’s peculiarities. 

For instance, some project managers will be able to work regular business hours within the offices and yet fulfill the demands. 

On the other hand, other project management jobs might include travel and even moving to on-site locations, depending on the industry. This might mean you have to work outside office hours to keep track of the project. 

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How to Showcase Your Project Manager Skills

It can be tricky even for the most experienced in the field to showcase the project manager skills in the resume in the best manner. 

We suggest that you first understand what the job is and then tweak your resume as needed. You can and should provide clear information about what you achieved in your different roles. 

Project Manager Skills for Resume

Being a resourceful and experienced project manager is one thing. However, ensuring that your resume highlights your successful career is another. 

Before you enter the job market, it is crucial that you polish your resume in a way that will impress the recruiters.

Your project management skills resume should also be relevant and specific to the role you are applying for. Each position will have a different set of aspects expected from a candidate. 

Further, we will provide some project management tips that will give you a better idea. 

Project Manager Skills for the Job Interview

Hiring managers are not impressed by a list of your previous project management experience. Instead, they are looking for tangible proof of how you have used your skill set and achieved the goals of each project. 

If you did not know this already, employers and recruiters use the application tracking process to find the right candidates. Therefore, they need the qualities of a project manager to align with their specific job requirements. 

For this reason, you will have to ensure that achievements as a project manager are tailored to the job you aim for.

For instance, mention more industry-related skills that allow you to solve a particular problem. In some cover letter examples, you might find a story of a manager who helped a graphic designer team they’ve managed to solve an artistic problem due to the skills they had themselves. 

Sample Project Manager Resume Skills Section

You can start by identifying the key skills included in the job description and doing research on the company. Once you have a clear idea, you can work with the professional skills examples we are listing below. 

Project Manager Skills in a Resume Skills Section

Give a clear and concise bullet point list of your professional skills examples:

  • handled and led multiple projects in mergers and acquisitions;
  • highly competent in scheduling and cost estimation; 
  • experienced in data analysis with Oracle 8i and MS Access; 
  • well-versed in Jira and Taiga; 
  • saved $200,000 through effective budgeting. 

Project Manager Skills in a Resume Work Experience Section

You can also include specific skills of a project manager in the job descriptions, focusing on quantifying your accomplishments. 

For example:

  • delivered a project on a product design for an eCommerce enterprise; 
  • managed a team of 10 and communicated with several consulting collaborators; 
  • worked with designers and industry experts to create the concept and plan the execution; 
  • helped reduce the expenditure by 20% through effective planning. 

Key Takeaway

Project managers have to combine both their hard and soft skills to effectively and efficiently do their job. There are several project manager skills and things you can develop through experience and constant learning. 

Most importantly, your resume should do an exceptional job showcasing your portfolio as a project manager in a convincing manner. You should use the right description of skills and quantify your achievements.

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