Archive for the ‘Guy Fawkes’ Category:

Explosive times  

On the eve of Guy Fawkes it only seems fitting to talk through some explosive ways to impress your potential employer and add in a few examples of when the anticipation has fizzled out from a short fuse or two. Getting that next role has become increasingly more challenging over the years with the double dip recession and banks collapsing have left employers strapped for cash and particularly averse to taking risks. The better candidate is deemed as the one who has an exceptional CV and can really sell themselves in interview, often leaving great PMs out in the cold because their CVs aren’t up to scratch. Depending on the industry you are applying to, there are less traditional ways of capturing the attention of hiring managers such as a more creative CV and including hobbies/interests which are deemed a little different. I have had recruitment clients who have specifically asked for candidates who take time out to go travelling and have an “different” portfolio of interests, I met with recruitment clients who like their candidates to be a little more creative with how they dress – not the usual suits for them thank you sir! However I have known candidates to dress in quirky outfits only to be rejected at interview for being a little “too far out there”, you must pick your industry carefully so your rocket doesn’t backfire and set the interviewer alight in the wrong ways.fireworks

Of course for the drier industries the way to really impress is to do your research to understand what it is they really look for with potential new employees, you can look on their website but also check out their employees on LinkedIn to look at backgrounds and particular skill sets. Understanding your target audience and drawing out key experiences and skill sets can really set up your display for the right kind of “oooooos” and “ahhhhhs” as opposed to “oh” and “argh”. It’s going that extra mile which demonstrates you are bought into the business but also how there is much more to you than just “turning up” to work. Keep thinking about adding value, remember you are judged from the moment to make contact, right down to how you word your email so make an effort and be professional. Treat your job applications like you do your projects, provide the right kind of information which isn’t overbearing and ensure your stakeholders are thoroughly informed about the product you are delivering – in this case… YOU!

Does your Project Manager CV light fires?

Yes, it is Guy Fawkes and as such we are adding a little fun into the article today to relate all things to the occasion and asking the question – does your CV light fires in the hearts of hiring managers’ or is it a bit of a damp firework?  Expectations are always high when it comes to opening a CV when recruiting for a new role, sometimes (but not always) we have our appetites whet by a really explosive covering letter which really addresses the requirements for the role and we open the CV with excited anticipation, however, often the CV is a real let down. Why does this happen, you ask? Well CVs are often put together and then forgotten about as you feel you’ve done the best you can and it should be fit for all applications. You see a job you like and go about writing a cover letter talking through your career similarities to the position, all the effort goes in here with little thought to how the CV reads now (sometimes months on from when you originally wrote it). It is good practice to always read through your CV and match against the roles you wish to apply for, and then make tweaks so it is substantiating the detail you have supplied in the cover letter.

Fireworks

  • Bonfire – Create a document which really makes reviewers warm to it, think out of the box, and make sure your personality and management style come across.
  • Fireworks – Create a dazzling display on the CV to make recruiters want to read on, it’s not all about formatting and colours, it is content. What would you like to see if you were recruiting?
  • Treacle toffee – Always seems like a good idea until it gets stuck in your teeth, just like writing untruths. Keen it real, you want the CV to be good, more emphasis on what you have done not what you haven’t please.
  • Lanterns – shine a light on your experience; stand out from the crowd by working in good examples of where you have shone.
  • Penny for the Guy – Stop pretending to be something you are not, you will soon be found out. You will no doubt have some great experience so talk about it, think about impacts and change – doesn’t sound so flat when you add in some context.

Have a safe and happy Guy Fawkes!

Bonfires and Fireworks

Happy Guy Fawkes to you all – not breaking with tradition I would like to tie in today’s blog to the theme of bonfire night.

Remember remember the fifth of November

Gunpowder, treason and plot.

I see no reason why gunpowder, treason

Should ever be forgot…

A poem brought about after Guy Fawkes was put on trial in 1606 for treason having been caught in the cellars of the Houses of Parliament with several dozen barrels of gunpowder and subsequently found guilty, which saw him hung, drawn and quartered. The poem was served as a reminder to the next generations regarding treason and the tradition has evolved with time, to include rather fantastic firework displays etc.

A powerful and emotive story which despite its age has certainly played a huge part in our lives over the years – if only we could be as effective in the workplace for lessons learned. Time and time again I have worked with project managers to programme directors who tell me stories of woe from managing pieces of work which would have greatly benefitted from the lessons learned log. This document has been either ignored / not completed or hidden away like it is a bad thing because it highlights where we went wrong. Of course it also highlights the good too but attitude seems to be that if we pretend the bad bits weren’t there now we’ve completed a project then it didn’t happen – then low and behold, history repeats itself.

Now I am not suggesting we have a bonfire and burn all the confidential waste every time we learn something but surely we are at a point where it makes sense to drag out and dust down the lessons learned log for projects similar in complexity etc. each time a new project is being scoped and particularly when it is being planned.

Here’s a poem which you could adapt for your project team:

Remember remember the project of last September

Stakeholders lost all respect,

I see no reason why lessons learned should be tossed

Or ever not be kept…

Blatantly I was never meant to be a poet but you get the idea – maybe adopting something in the office which reminds all to revisit times passed to better understand how to do things more efficiently moving forward could save a lot of time, money and energy.