Ready to take on your first role as a Scrum Master only to realize no one will consider you for lack of experience? We get the frustration. The bad news is you can’t conjure up a solid work history out of thin air (nor would it be honest to do so). The good news is there are other ways to get that first offer letter. Read on for some tips on how to get your first Scrum Master job with no experience.
1) Keep Expanding Your Knowledge
The Scrum Master is a crucial accountability, expected to help the Scrum team, the Product Owner, and the organization be the best they can be. Stepping into this accountability for the first time can be daunting. You’ll need to position yourself as best you can so that a hiring manager can see that you have the skills and knowledge to bring value to the team, even if you don’t have experience in this role yet.
A good starting point is expanding your knowledge base as much as you can. Ongoing courses and training programs on Scrum and Agile practices will go a long way to level up your resume. You might even consider taking it a step further and diversifying your knowledge with different books, blogs, and online videos. A few to get you started include:
- The Toyota Way by Jeffrey Liker
- Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
- How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Can you serve as a Scrum Master without a certification? Sure, and many do. However, a globally-recognized certification like the PSM I demonstrates to businesses that you’ve gained knowledge and put it to the test sufficiently enough to earn a certification. If you don’t have direct experience as a Scrum Master to speak to, this certification can help bolster your argument that you will excel as a Scrum Master.
With that said, some certifications are only handed out for participating – giveaways, to say the least. Employers can sniff out if your certification is merely a participation trophy or an actual assessment of your knowledge, so choose wisely.
2) Focus Your Resume on Scrum Master Skills
Ask yourself, would you hire yourself if you went over your resume? Before answering that, what’s the ideal person who comes to mind whenever you think of a Scrum Master? Take time to go through their online profile and see how it compares with yours. Which strengths and opportunities have gotten them their current position? Make those considerations when updating your resume.
Highlight anything you’ve done where you demonstrated the skills of a Scrum Master – even if it wasn’t a paid position. It could be in a non-profit such as a church, a sports group, or a book club.
Have you taught others skills? Practiced facilitation skills in helping others make a decision? Have you shown a low tolerance for organizational impediments and driven change to remove them? Have you acted as a mentor to someone learning a new skill or role? These are all skills that a Scrum Master can employ to great effect. Remember that a Scrum Master is a “true leader who serves”, so if you have experience as a servant leader, this can help a hiring manager see you as a potential Scrum Master for their team.
3) Network, Connect, Repeat
We cannot understate the value of making meaningful connections. In fact, 85% of jobs are filled via networking. Lucky for you, the Scrum community has endless opportunities to connect with others who are passionate about helping others grow in agility.
Many agile or Scrum-oriented meetups occur online. When attending these, be sure to practice good virtual networking habits including switching on your camera, sharing your story, and following up with those who intrigue you.
You can also set aside time to attend local meetup groups. Scrum.org has a detailed list of local Scrum meetup groups, both in-person and online.
Want more? Why not attend the annual conference led by Agile Alliance week-long conference in Nashville? It’s an annual event bringing together the best from the Agile community. The upside: you need no experience to attend this. Downside: there will be some costs to travel, attend, and stay in the area.
4) Lead Where You Are
How long is long enough when building a career plan as a Scrum Master? The reality is that getting a Scrum Master job with no experience will likely be a longer journey. While the thought of landing a great role in 60 days is exciting, it’s probably not realistic. Whatever time it takes, we highly emphasize persistence.
If opportunities don’t exist, create them. Instead of quitting your current place of work, try and drive change in line with agile principles and Scrum values. A Scrum Master is a leader and most leaders don’t ask permission to lead. They simply lead where they are in their current spheres of influence. So find an area of waste, an impediment holding someone back, or problem that’s been swept under the rug and use the tools of empiricism – transparency, inspection, and adaptation – to help realize a solution.
Not in a role with this type of autonomy? Consider networking within your company to secure a new role that allows you the flexibility to build the right skills and gain experience. The more creative you get, the better shot you have. Out-of-the-box ideas like starting your own blog on Agile Principles can go a long way towards showing potential employers how you think and what knowledge you have.
Whatever the case, be innovative, iterate, and have an open mind while applying Scrum both in your personal and work life.
We’re Here to Help
Being smart means that you’re willing to learn and admit where you need help. These are powerful characteristics of an effective Scrum Master – learning, iterative, and adaptive. Responsive Advisors can help you grow these skills and step into the Scrum Master job you’re looking for.
We’re a team of Professional Scrum Trainers with a track record of success through best-in-class training and personalized coaching. Whether you are a beginner or have prior experience with Scrum, we can help you level up your knowledge so you’re fully prepared for that first role.