Getting Started as a Scrum Master (Without Experience)

We often hear people say that they want to be a Scrum Master, but no one will hire them because they don’t have that job title on their resume. However, some of the best Scrum Masters I’ve ever seen may have been lacking formal experience, but they had other qualities that made them stand out from the crowd—a passion for agile, a desire to change organizations for the better and great people skills.

Let’s explore some ways that you can get hired as a Scrum Master even if you’ve never worked as one before.

Get Life Experience

The good news about Scrum is that it’s not just a framework for technology teams—it can be applied to all areas of life! We’ve seen stories about Scrum being used to plan a wedding, flip a house, make a cross-country move, manage homework and even coach a swim team!

So now’s the time to put theory into practice outside of your work life. Perhaps your church or synagogue has a big fundraising event coming up and could use your help as a volunteer to help people unite on a vision, collaborate around the work and iteratively deliver work leading up to the big event.

Do you have kids who are in school virtually right now? Well, that’s a complicated and complex project to manage, and what a great way to try out Scrum! You can put together a backlog of student assignments and tasks for parents and kids. Assemble a visual board in your home or online. Meet daily with your ‘team’ to discuss the work that day and who may need help. Conduct sprint planning every week to see what work the ‘team’ will commit to. See, you’re already a Scrum Master!

“The agile community is a close-knit and passionate one, and so many people have been hired from the relationships they’ve formed with other agile practitioners.”

Get Involved

The agile community is a close-knit and passionate one, and so many people have been hired from the relationships they’ve formed with other agile practitioners. With the world being more distributed now, it’s easier than ever to join an agile community, even if it isn’t where you live. Check your local Meetup for what’s happening in your area, or consider participating in networking and learning opportunities from one of these groups:

Be Bold

I was at an agile conference when a woman who was a middle school music teacher presented about how she was using Scrum in the classroom. She then stated she wants to leave education to become a Scrum Master in IT and asked if anyone would hire her. It was a really, really bold move and all of us were overwhelmingly saying ‘yes’. The reason—she demonstrated that she could apply Scrum anywhere, was passionate about it, could communicate and present well and well, she simply asked.

She walked away from that conference with multiple job offers and in no time was working as a Scrum Master in IT with absolutely no previous experience!

Look for Relatable Skills

Since being a Scrum Master is so much a soft skills role, play those up on your resume. Things like “facilitated meetings”, “created team harmony”, “helped resolve a conflict” are all great skills that are needed by Scrum Masters.

There are a few words you may want to delete from your resume as they may sound too command and control for this role. Watch out for job sappers like “managed”, “controlled” or “ran”. By eliminating these from your resume, you may seem better suited for a role as a Scrum Master.

Earn Credentials

One of the most recognized credentials for Scrum Masters is the Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM) from the Scrum Alliance. The certification gives you a lot of real-life scenarios and practical tips for leading teams and the organization through Scrum.

At BigAgile, we have plenty of opportunities to earn your CSM remotely so check out our upcoming events.

We hope now that we’ve given you plenty of ways to go out and get your first professional job as a Scrum Master. Just remember to get some real life experience, get involved in the agile community, make bold moves to stand out from the crowd and highlight your relatable skills on your resume.

Want to learn more about getting started as a Scrum Master? Watch the webinar, Launching a Career as a Scrum Master in Marketing with Lance Dacy and Stacey Ackerman.

Lance Dacy is a Certified Scrum Trainer who’s passionate about applying Scrum beyond technology to all areas of business and life. If you’d like to become a certified Scrum professional, check out the upcoming class schedule.