What your Project Management CV profile should say about you

The first part of your CV a hiring manager reads is (or should be) your profile – this ought to be a short statement no longer than about 80 words. The profile should be a clearly written summary of you and your skills. I have seen statements which take up half a page – too long! And ones which are a short sentence – too short. But putting the length aside, it is content which is important.

The best way to construct your profile is to think about your key skills and where your strengths lay – do not fall into the trap of creating a profile which is all about you being enthusiastic, hard working, etc as these are essential requirements for any role and as such they are expected. Instead concentrate on specific skills. For example if you are hot at financial reporting, stakeholder management, resource management etc then these are the areas you should be focussing on.

Here’s an example of a profile which doesn’t add value:

A driven and enthusiastic individual with an ability to work in a team or own initiative, good with customers and always has a positive outlook.

It is short and really doesn’t tell the hiring manager anything about your technical abilities. These are the types of attributes which will be teased out at interview – although it is unlikely you will reach interview unless the rest of the CV makes up for the lack of professional description.

Here is an example of a strong profile:

An experienced Programme Manager with accreditations to back up the practice (APMP & MSP). Overall programme responsibility for corporate wide initiatives; leading a team of 10 project managers and hands on experience of managing multiple concurrent strategic projects increasing a business’ ability to achieve its goals.  Good exposure to interfacing with all levels of management and cross functionally within the organisation.   

 

The profile tells us a great deal about the candidate such as his/her seniority, team management and that he manages projects as well as leads teams of PMs. Reading a profile like this for a programme manager role will make the hiring manager want to read on to really understand more about the programmes of work and his/her style of delivery.

Your profile should be clear and concise – stating “deliver on time and to budget” doesn’t really add value as it is expected that you can do this; that is what you are paid to do and the reality is that about 70% of projects are deemed failures due to not reaching deadlines or budgets and would it not be a great opportunity to talk about how you delivered and issues you faced in the bulk of the CV to give the reader a real understanding of how you work? Plus, I know a lot of hiring managers who would be wary of a PM who has never had any major issues managing a project – the concern being how you would deal with one if it arose.

Try to use the profile as a short snippet of what you can do – if you were at a networking event and only had a minute (or less) to describe yourself to a hiring manager to make a good impression and want him/her to take notice what would you say?

At The CV Righter we work with you to understand what you do and how you do it – from conducting a detailed discussion we can create a profile which will make the hiring manager sit up and want to read your CV, not discard it within a few seconds. www.thecvrighter.co.uk

 

Project Management Job applications – making it happen

Applying for a job can be both exciting and daunting – if you have not been in the market for a new job for a while; you are likely to be unaware of the changes in how recruitment works. For a start you are meeting heavy competition; no longer can you expect to receive a response from employers about your application. Although some employers do endeavour to respond, HR teams have been streamlined and are inundated with applications making it increasingly hard for them to respond to everyone. The competition may not be as daunting as you think though as a large proportion of applications are unsuitable for the roles, however there will always be a few which meet the selection criteria for HR staff. By writing a strong cover letter (note earlier blog) and ensuring your CV is up to date with relevant information to the role and business you are applying to you can ensure you are ticking the boxes and should be placed in the interview shortlist.

Do not assume that applying for a role less senior to your current status is going to put you ahead of the selection process. I have seen a number of instances where a project manager has applied for a project coordinator role and this has brought into question why the individual wants to take a step backwards. In some cases it has been clear that the line manager felt intimidated by the seniority of an applicant as they had more experience than them. If there is a particular reason you are applying for something deemed more junior to you, explain. But in reality, a lot of candidates applying for roles which are more junior do it because they cannot get a role in the current market at their own level. Not a good reason to apply, employers fear that as the market picks up the candidate will move on.

Try to get the balance right – apply for roles which are at a level with your skills and experience or slightly above, demonstrating your appetite for career progression. Carefully pick roles which are well suited to your abilities and ensure you place the job description next to your CV – then tick off the competencies listed on the JD against your CV. If they are asking for something which you haven’t covered in your CV but have done – add a bullet point addressing it. Take out bullets which are not asked for which will allow room for the additions.

Take time applying for roles – do not just send your CV in the excitement of seeing something you would love to do, if you are really that excited then it is clear you need to make the application right.

The CV Righter offers careers guidance as part of the professional CV writing service – for a free CV review and the opportunity to discuss your applications, get in touch today: www.thecvrighter.co.uk

PMO CV tips for Project professionals

Project and programme management support roles are often misunderstood as just a stepping stone to project management but they form an integral role in the successful delivery of large or complex pieces of work. There is a definite career path for those in the field of project support and as such today I would like to address some tips on how to make your CV more effective in gaining that next role within the PMO for support professionals.

So, typically one would begin their career as a project support officer or project administrator and gain experience / skills by assisting project delivery staff in the execution of their projects and /or programmes. This may come in the form of administrative duties (now deemed as a more old fashioned sense of PMO support) or more current uses are to advise the project and programme teams on effective uses of planning, reporting, risk & issues etc. tools as a consultant to the team. We see less of the diary management and more workshops and performing an interface between the projects and senior management. Working up through the ranks of PMO can see PMO analysts and PMO managers to heads of programme / portfolio management.

To effective sell your skills and seniority there are a few key areas to take into consideration when constructing your CV; such as:

1. Ensure you provide detail about the size of PMO you are working in, not all PMOs are 20 people strong – some are as small as one person strong. Let the reader get a feel for the size of team you are working in and how many project / programme managers you are supporting.

2. Type of PMO – how mature is the PMO, what frameworks and methods are you working to.

3. Job titles are often misleading – I have seen hundreds of CVs with job titles such as PMO coordinator who are managing the PMO, make sure you describe your function within the PMO. What you actually do.

4. Setting up the PMO – often PMO professionals sell themselves short by not stating they set the PMOs up, if you have a “tool box” which you amend and apply to new PMOs – talk about it.

5. Managing the PMO – some PMO professionals are experienced at picking up an established PMO and managing from there. Not all employers want employees who will reinvent the wheel, they may be happy with their PMO (and paid a lot of money via a contractor to put it in place) and want someone to “pick up the reins”.

6. What are the projects or programme of work being supported – a key element missing from most PMO CVs – employers like to understand the type of work supported. I believe it shouldn’t matter what the product is, however not everyone believes this and so some similarity in the types of projects may be the difference between gaining you an interview or not.

By taking these basic rules and applying to your CV with some detail about how you work – you should have a clear and concise CV which will see you gain a great deal of interest from hiring managers and recruiters alike.

The CV Righter has a wealth of experience in recruiting, providing careers advice and writing CVs for PMO professionals – for a free CV review get in touch: www.thecvrighter.co.uk

What makes a good Project Manager – CV advice

A good Project Manager is often described as one who can deliver, this is a true statement but digging a little deeper into how he / she delivers is truly what makes the PM a good one. In an ideal world all projects would be straight forward with a delivery team who are dedicated to the task in hand and have all the skills and experience required ensuring success. However in reality this is rarely the case and as such it comes down to an effective project manager to be able to make sure that all the team are on board and to understand pressures from other areas of the business affecting individuals workloads.

An accomplished Project Manager, from the outset, will have a good idea of all the teams’ skills and other commitments – creating a project plan incorporating resource planning. Ensuring you are on the ground with the team and listening to what their current bottlenecks are is crucial to ensure you keep to plan. Communication is always fundamental in Project Management and as such it is important to be able to gain “buy in” from the team.

Stakeholders play a major role in projects and also require effective engagement – stakeholder mapping is an essential part of ensuring there are no big surprises for the clients as time progresses.

Risk & issue management also plays a major role in identifying further bottlenecks and second guessing potential problems – even the smaller less complex projects require such attention and a well thought out register can save the project from failure from the outset.

Above I have addressed some (not all) key areas which make a good project manager – but how many of you actually note any of the above skills on your CV? Not a lot I am sure, when you write your CV you are often thinking about the bigger picture – wanting to cover detail about the projects themselves and in some cases more about the business itself than your own skills. It is important for the hiring manager to understand the type of project you have delivered but also to understand how you work. Some organisations are more structured than others so it is important to strike that balance of pragmatism in your approach, but also demonstrate your willingness to add structure to projects and businesses as a whole which will add value to your CV.

What sets you apart from your peers? How do you manage differently to others? What makes you the first choice for projects sponsor on that all important next assignment?

The CV Righter is well placed to assist you with your skills audit and creating your CV, don’t let others “pip you to the post” with that next exciting role – ensure your CV says all the right things about you.www.thecvrighter.co.uk