Tips For Getting Your First Scrum Master Job

Looking for your first Scrum Master job but no one will hire you thanks to a lack of real experience? Can you blame them? Here’s the good news; there are plenty of ways to gain more experience in order to land that first gig and we’re going to help you out. 

Network your ascot off.

Don’t wear an ascot? Doesn’t matter, the point is that you need to make some solid industry connections. The formula is easy— The better your network, the smoother your job hunt will go.  

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If you don’t have friends in high places or acquaintances that happen to be decision-makers for their respective companies, don’t worry, there are plenty of networking alternatives you can utilize, like Meetup groups. 

Meetup Groups

Meetup groups offer a way for people of all interests to be part of a community of like-minded people. Essentially, joining Meetup groups with a focus on Scrum and/or Product Development ensures you’ll be around people who can help guide you in the right direction. The People Side of Software, for example, is located in Chicago and garners over 1,100 members all interested and engaged (sometimes frustrated and flailing) in Product Development.

By seeking out and attending Scrum-focused events (whether they’re online or in-person), you’ll not only build your understanding of industry principles and practices but you’ll also begin to expand your network, building a roster of references you can lean on for opportunities and mentorship.

Figure out where you suck and fix it. 

Don’t be THAT guy. You know, the one that sees his profile as immaculate even if it’s 5 years old. Take a moment to do a gap analysis, comparing your LinkedIn page to the profile of someone with your dream position. How do you stack up? Are there areas where you fall short? What skills do you think gave them an edge in their own job search? 

As you identify your own shortcomings, you’ll feel more equipped to chart a training trajectory going forward, giving you the opportunity to pick up the skills that add the most value to your desired role.

Give yourself a professional makeover

Tear up that boring old CV and breath some new life into your resume, tailored with a renewed focus on the role you’re looking for. 

  • Include both technical skills and soft skills. The majority of Scrum Master opportunities sit at the intersection of software engineering and people management, so it’s valuable to list everything from SQL to team-building.
  • Show your numbers and how you improved them. Consider associating some hard data with your career achievements. Scrum is all about empiricism, so if you can point to specific transparent facts that you inspected and improved over time,  you’ll demonstrate the depth of your knowledge of the engine of Scrum and illustrate your accomplishments in accelerating value delivery, minimizing costs, or boosting user satisfaction.
  • Synthesize your successes. Give the reader some context as to why you’re seeking out a Scrum Master position. Highlighting your mission and career focus can go a long way in showing that you’re a serious contender. 

Industries to consider

Although Scrum originated in the technology world, the project management framework continues to garner praise and adoption across a wide spectrum of sectors. So, don’t limit your scope. Check out industries like: 

  • Financial Services. The world of finance and banking has always been one of the leading adopters of technology, and as FinTech companies continue to gain momentum, Scrum Masters will likely find a bounty of well-paid positions in this industry.
  • Insurance Companies. As insurance companies become increasingly focused on data analytics and automation, Scrum Masters have become an equally important part of their project management talent pool.
  • Software Development. Given that Scrum first emerged from the software development industry, the technology industry continues to maintain its status as one of the best places to find Scrum Master job opportunities.

As software continues to eat the world and agile development techniques become increasingly pervasive, Scrum Masters can play a crucial role in almost every project management effort. Even still, focus on where your existing skillset will fit best.

Be prepared to take hard gigs in hard places.

Thought you’d land your dream job the moment you got certified? Reality isn’t your thing, is it? It might be a tough pill to swallow, but just like any new career, fresh-faced Scrum Masters will more than likely need to spend some time working their way up the impediment ladder. In other words, you’ll need to get experience— wherever, whenever you can— and the responsibilities involved might not always be the most glamorous. 

The easiest way to get your foot in the door is to leverage your current career. Can you apply Scrum where you work today? Or perhaps where you volunteer in your free time? Maybe even in your personal life, or right there in your own neighborhood? 

No matter what you’re working on, you’re likely to find plenty of chances to continue sharpening your Scrum skill set. Take advantage of every opportunity, and continue working at developing your agile abilities. Be able to tell the story of how you used Scrum successfully in your next job interview. 

Be smart and back it up by actually being smart.

Being a Scrum Master is all about being adaptive and iterative. Consequently, if you hope to take on a career in this industry, it’s important to continue learning and iterating yourself. Consistently taking courses and staying on the cutting-edge of this subject matter is crucial for expanding your knowledge of Scrum, allowing you to remain relevant in a constantly-changing industry. 

Still, it’s not easy to go it alone, and many new entrants will find themselves seeking out the guidance of an experienced mentor. In come, Responsive Advisors. With a diverse catalog of training programs and a deep roster of seasoned Scrum professionals, Responsive Advisors can walk you through every step of your agile education and introduce you to seasoned vets along the way.

Robert Pieper

Robert Pieper has been a licensed Professional Scrum Trainer since 2014 and National Public Speaker since 2013. Robb holds an MBA from Marquette University and an Electrical Engineering Degree from Milwaukee School of Engineering. Robb has 15 years of professional software development experience with a passion for making Scrum work delivering real products and services
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