If you have a good, strong CV then you are in a great position to apply for new roles – however there is such a solid emphasis placed on matching candidates up for jobs with a requirement of 90%+ ticking of boxes. As your CV shouldn’t exceed 3 pages, it can be difficult to be able to place all your experience in there. This is where tweaking comes in, now it is not about drawing out a tiny fraction of your experience for a role which is predominantly looking for someone with a clear focus on something. For example if the role is a project manager for implementation of desk top rolls outs and your core experience is new product development but you have a small amount of exposure in a previous life to desk top roll outs. As clearly there are people with the right experience level who can fit the bill.
Tweaking is about highlighting specific areas deemed as most important to the hiring manager – such as stringent reporting, you may have covered this lightly in your CV but if it is listed high up in the job description then this skill is clearly an area which the employer deems are very important to that role – therefore you should look to draw out detail about your reporting in your CV. Looking at what kind of reports you generate, who you present them to, how often, and in what format these take.
Achievements are another area which can be tweaked for applications, again focussing on particular examples which may be relevant to the position – this is where you can be a little clever too. By researching a business (this only tends to work for direct employer roles as recruiters aren’t keen to divulge enough information on businesses to be able to know who they are) and looking at what else they are doing such as major change, and incorporating an achievement relevant to their change. Although not directly relevant to the role you are applying for it can highlight your exposure to specific scenarios which the business is currently undergoing. If the project management function is undergoing changes such as new structures or implementing a PMO then you may have some exposure to working with PMOs / heads of projects to support implementation. Something which you haven’t necessarily covered in your CV as you are focusing on delivery – it’s these little extra pieces of information which can really set you apart from your peers and put you in a shortlist for interview.
Always scrutinise the job description / advert and see where the emphasis lays with competencies; they are usually in order of importance. Make sure you read through the list of requirements and can tick the boxes, then put your CV next to the description and make sure your CV have the required emphasis on each competency. Clear communication is the order of the day and let’s face it – that is the key to effective project management, demonstrating what you say you are good at from the first point in the application process will stand you in good stead.