Archive for the ‘Cover letters’ 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

Project Management Job Cover Letters – Q&A

Dear Nicola,

I was at an event recently when I met a hiring manager from a large employer in London, he talked to me about a project controls position which had become available and it really struck a chord with my experience. I asked a few questions and explained my background then asked if he would be interested in my application, to my delight he said yes and gave me contact details asking me to send my CV and cover letter to him. I am fairly sure my CV reflects the detail required for the role but I have little experience in writing a cover letter can you advise where to start? Sarah – Project Consultant, London.

Hello

Many thanks for your question Sarah let me start by saying well done for asking questions about the requirements for the role – this is a key starting point for the bulk of the letter. Ideally you should highlight specific examples of your experience which closely matches the role – avoid being theoretical, keep to facts. As this is a project controls role I would keep focus on where you have “policed” governance or put structures in place, talk though background briefly then what you were actually doing and the results achieved from this.

I know you mentioned your CV you feel is up to scratch, however, the CV needs to back up your cover letter – therefore you should read through the letter once complete then read through your CV to ensue it matches up. This is where many fall down, spending a long time creating a great cover letter then the CV doesn’t reflect this experience clearly. As cover letters often get discarded, it is important to make sure you really work on that CV or all that time will have gone to waste and you’ll be left wondering why you’ve not had a call.

Essential Directory to Making PM Job applications

I have written a number of articles containing tips and advice based on assisting PM professionals in securing that all important next role, job hunting should be a structured approach and does take some planning. Although the job websites make applications easy with one click to apply functionality, however some planning and organisation is required if you want to truly reap a good harvest.

A key starting point is setting out how and what you are applying for, this article provides some great ideas on how to structure an approach to your applications.

Once you have put together an action plan you need to start visiting some of the PM specific job boards and agencies, here is a list of some very useful sites.

Next, once you have a list of roles you wish to apply for you should take some time to match up your relevant experience to the job advert / job description. A cover letter can make the difference between being seriously considered for a role and being placed in a rather hefty pile of rejection CVs.  This article has an example of a cover letter which is written in response to a job description so you can really understand what detail you should be including.

Directory

I have said this before and I will say it again – don’t leave job applications to chance, with the market being flooded by applications it is important to make sure you are doing all you can to ensure your CV is being viewed positively. Taking the pepper gun approach of applying for everything just doesn’t work and can be detrimental to your endeavours – often making recruiters and hiring managers disregard your applications as soon as they see your name in their inbox again and that may well be the role you are well matched to but having seen you apply for lots of other roles which aren’t relevant to you, you have unwittingly given yourself a bad name / reputation.

Taking a targeted approach to applications will have your applications taken seriously and remembered for the right reasons.

Example Project Management Cover Letter

Writing a cover letter seems to be a daunting act for so many – I have previously written about what to include but wanted to provide an example letter to assist you in gaining interest from potential employers. Cover letters should be tailored to each application and it is a good idea to spend time making sure you tailor your CV too. Unfortunately, gone is the day when one size fits all so taking time to apply for fewer jobs but putting more effort in will give you a better chance of success for generating interest and that all important interview.

Letter

Here is a fictitious job advert:

Project Manager required to manage a number of new product development projects within FMCG manufacturing, the successful applicant will have a good understanding of project management methods such as PRINCE2 and will have managed teams within matrix managed environments which are globally dispersed.

  • Exceptional project planning using MS Project
  • Manage resources across different cultures
  • Competent in PRINCE2 methods
  • Good client facing exposure
  • Extensive financial tracking and management responsibility
  • Comfortable providing monthly presentations to site managers and senior management teams

Of course the tailored letter for this role is only applicable to those with at least 90% of the above required skills and experience. This is a rule of thumb for all job applications; don’t waste your time applying for roles which are not relevant to you.

So a cover letter will go something like this:

Dear Sir / Madam (ideally try to get the name of the person you are applying to)

Please find enclosed my CV in application for the role of Project Manager as per your advert (reference CVR2905) advertised on XXXXXX.com.

I would like to draw your attention to my current role at XXXXX where I am responsible for managing up to 15 concurrent FMCG new product introduction projects, although PRINCE2 is not a process used at this organisation I have previously used this method at XXXXX where the business adopted a light version and all projects were managed through aspects of the project lifecycle.  I should also point out that during a contract position prior to this I implemented PRINCE2 methods into the core project management function within XXXXX.

All my roles have required extensive stakeholder management with internal and external parties based across the UK, Europe and USA. Most of my team management experience has been within matrix environments and where resources are globally dispersed. I am an advanced user of MS Project and have used this to plan projects for the past 10 years; I have held full P&L responsibility for all my projects with budgets ranging from £100k to £1.5m. I currently provide bi monthly presentations to our senior management team on project status, financials and forecasting – these are generally utilising Powerpoint and on site however I have also travelled to a number of our manufacturing sites for this purpose also.

I am available on my mobile to discuss further and look forward to hearing from you in due course.

Yours Faithfully (if you do not know their name) / Yours Sincerely (if you do know their name)

Jack Tyler

07000000000

So as you can see – the letter addresses all aspects of the job description with examples and tells the reviewer more than the CV allows as we only want a 2 or 3 page document which should be highlighting the above but may not have all that detail. This will greatly enhance your application and should do all the right things in getting the reviewer to really read your CV not just skim through it along with 100 other applications. It also does the trick of helping the HR / recruitment consultant understand your relevance to the role; bearing in mind that a great deal of these reviewers won’t always have specialist knowledge of the role.