Having reviewed thousands of CVs in both my recruitment and CV writing capacity I have seen all sorts of techniques used by candidates hoping to gain interviews. Some work and some really don’t, formatting although it is important is not going to get you on the shortlist – bright and creative CVs only tend to work in the creative industries but not necessarily for the management roles. Focus tends to be placed on aesthetics and not content, at the end of the day it is the content which will get you the ticks in the box of the requirements list. Therefore it is important that you concentrate on making the information you provide interesting, put yourself in the shoes of the recruiter/hiring manager – if they haven’t worked at your business in your exact role then they cannot read between the lines and guess at how you work or what the projects actually entailed. Simply stating you delivered XYZ project to time and budget doesn’t cut it, think about what the project involved and what the benefits are for starters. Address “how” you got from A to B and core competencies involved, who were your stakeholders, what were your major challenges and how did you overcome them. A seemingly bland project will come to life as you add context and paint a clear picture of what it is you can do, jazzing up your CV in the right way!

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Look at the information you provide objectively, does it make sense to others? It is easy to become embroiled in internal terminology and confuse reviewers who will simply discard the CV for one which is clear and interesting. Most of you will be passionate and proud of what you achieve in your professional capacity, this needs to come across as it can be the difference between being shortlisted or put in the recycle bin.

Statements such as “Delivered new project capability where others had previously failed, the teams were de-motivated and sceptical about another attempt at change…” are great with some further context – suddenly what can seem a fairly generic skill set for PM professionals is sounding gritty and makes you want to read on, now I want to know what you did and what the outcome was. This is the start of clearly demonstrating how you add value and problem solve coupled with your PM capability/understanding, and management style.

So what are you waiting for? Do you have a Life Less Ordinary or are you another Lifeless Ordinary? Put the work in and harvest the results from your job applications.

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