BA PM PMO PgM – Jack of all trades? Project Management CV Tips

A question I often get asked by recruitment candidates how describe themselves when they feel they are “a jack of all trades”. I was recently working with a client on their CV and asked them how they would describe themselves and was faced with a 5 minute dialogue. I pointed out that if he didn’t know, then how would a recruiter or hiring manager figure it out? The person in question is very much a team manager, contract manager and operations/projects manager. So when we drilled down to what the day to day role actually included it became clear that first and foremost he was actually head of operations and programme manager, he has significant exposure to contract management and leading large teams of circa 200 people. So when it came down to describing him on his CV we took this lead and placed him in a recruitment pigeon hole – unfortunately it is pigeon holing, but as much as we do not like being labelled it is important to define yourself clearly so others can understand what you do. If a reviewer cannot understand what it is you do in the first statement they will reject your CV, it is as simple (and harsh) as that.

Playing the game

Therefore when you are writing your profile on your CV you must think about this and categorise yourself, you can talk about demonstrable exposure and experience too but you must make that decision as to where your skill-set belongs. I don’t know too many project professionals who don’t have some exposure to Business Analysis or PMOs and equally, established PMs will have often delivered programmes of work and it is these blends of skills which are greatly appreciated in the business world. After all, how often have these additional skills and exposure come in handy for non-related assignments? Employers see it as having more for their money, but you do need to decipher the initial quandary for them – realistically, what is your job title? What is it you actually do?

I have seen some getting around this by having various versions of CVs, each tailored to one element of the skills and experience which can work too – the only issue I see arising from this is having multiple copies of your CV online and registered with agencies may raise questions, again about how you define yourself.