Archive for the ‘Careers Advice’ Category:

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

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

Value Proposition CV – does your Project Manager CV say £30k or £80k?

Having reviewed thousands of Project Management CVs, I, like many others who have worked in the recruitment business can generally pitch a salary level for a candidate. However, there are lots of CVs out there which do not demonstrate the salary level the candidate is currently on or would like to achieve in their next role.

When constructing your CV you need to think about how you add value, it is always good to highlight some key achievements – as project management is all about achievement. But to think out of the box will help the reader of the CV understand a little more about you and how you work. Key achievements don’t have to be grand in regards to size; working on large high profile projects is great however I would expect to see this in the remit of your role in order to contextualise your work. And, you were paid to deliver them so simply putting; “delivered on time and to budget” doesn’t add a lot really.

What sets you apart from others delivering similar pieces of work? Not all projects are delivered to spec for a number of reasons or maybe they have been but it took a great deal more than straight forward management to get to that point. Understanding issues you have come up against and how you have overcome them tells us so much more about your skill-set.

Strategic involvement on projects also demonstrates a higher level of project manager and as such typically would command a higher salary. Demonstrating an awareness of key business objectives and also implementing structure to an organisation are key areas potential employers look for.

The most disappointing CVs are the bland ones – bland being ones which have barely any detail about projects or methods of delivery and lack areas such as stakeholder management and benefits realisation. As project professionals gain more experience and move onto new projects and organisations the room to express any such detail reduces significantly. Ideally a CV should be 2 pages long although 3 pages are acceptable, put greater emphasis on the most recent roles and reduce detail as you move down through the CV. If roles are >10 years ago, simply add a line for dates, company name and role title. Do not make the mistake a lot of project professionals commanding £60k+ do by thinking “less is more” and writing a short statement under each role and assuming that their seniority in each organisation will say the rest – it doesn’t! All businesses are different and do things differently, job titles are misleading and assuming that the hiring manager will recognise the skills without them being stated will often leave your CV in the “reject” pile.

Candidates looking for salaries pitched at circa £30k need to put good emphasis on experience gained thus far and responsibilities – ensuring you are demonstrating your understanding of the project lifecycle and where you have gone above and beyond the role requirements. Again, it doesn’t necessarily mean ground breaking ideas (although they would be great) – areas in the business which you identify for improvement and ideally when you have put new processes in place to reduce time wastage or increase productivity.

The CV Righter has many years experience both delivering projects and recruiting for project professionals, for a free CV review make contact today: www.thecvrighter.co.uk

Targeted Project Manager CVs – strengthening your applications

targeted CV for a job application has gained even more success in securing that all important interview – a lot of candidates have come to me for advice over the years stating that the hardest part of the recruitment process is actually obtaining an interview, they feel they would be able to sell themselves successfully for the role in interview but struggle to even get beyond the bottle neck which is the filtering process with hiring managers and recruitment personnel. A few years back when there were more roles than good candidates, CVs which tended to be fairly generic were considered and often gained shortlist for interviews – however a change in the job market has meant that there are less roles and more candidates applying which has driven a stricter filtering process and at one point, less desirable remuneration packages. Thankfully the offerings from employers has improved significantly due to candidates with a wealth of experience taking reduced salaries moving on to pastures new as the market picked up. However the filtering process has remained as strict as ever with employers wanting to see well written CVs with demonstrable experience of the types of projects you’ve been engaged in and how you deliver.

Here are a few points to consider when creating a targeted CV for a role:

1. Think about who the organisation is, if you are making a direct application to the employer – do your homework. What talent do they typically attract? Use Linkedin, execute a search on the company to check out the profiles of current employees – what backgrounds do they have? Is there a strong correlation with your career portfolio? If so, put greater emphasis on this detail in your CV by providing more information. This type of research can also assist you in identifying other organisations which your background may be attractive to.

2. Research the prospective employers’ website and just google about them – what types of projects are they working on or have they worked on recently which you can match your experience up to. By drawing attention to this in your CV you are highlighting your relevant and often additional skill-set providing the employer some insight into your abilities beyond the current projects longevity within the company.

3. Scrutinise the core competencies listed in the role description – have you addressed these in your CV? A comprehensive CV not only covers what you were doing but how you delivered too.

4. Check the detail – if the employer is looking for an experienced PM who has exposure to managing multiple concurrent projects valuing £5m, and you have done this, make sure it is covered clearly in your CV. Also if the job advert is asking for line management experience of 10 multi-disciplined staff and remote team management, have you met the criteria? Does your CV state this?

I have lost count of the really good project people I have worked with who have poor CVs, only stating the bare minimum in a CV – recruiters are finding it increasingly difficult to “sell” the candidates to their clients as CVs are bounced back with the response, “I asked for X Y Z, the CV doesn’t state it.”

Until you are sat in front of the employer where you will have the opportunity to really talk about your skills and experience, the only tool you have is your CV to get you there. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – it’s not necessarily the best candidates getting the interviews, it’s the best CVs.

The CV Righter can tailor your CV to specific job applications and also offers a quick turnaround service to ensure you meet the recruitment deadline. Don’t let your dream job fall through your fingers through not being able to sell yourself on paper – I know it’s hard to sit down and write your own CV, don’t let that be the only reason you are not securing interviews. Let The CV Righter do it for you, we’ll work with you to ensure your CV is selling you in the best light. Visit www.thecvrighter.co.uk and make contact to see how we can help you.