It’s that age old question – to get your CV written professionally or do it yourself? The problem with asking someone else to write your CV is that you may miss a lot of the key detail required to secure you that all important place in the shortlist. However this professional CV writing service focuses primarily on you and what you have achieved over your career, making sure that all the key information sought after by recruiters and hiring managers is drawn out. We don’t just take your CV and reword it like many other CV writing services, we spend time with you to understand what your objectives are and ask all the right questions to produce a strong CV which really sings your praises and gets results. We have extensive experience of working specifically within the Project Management recruitment field and have actually worked in project management so we know that success is drawn by much more than just process. It is this unique skill set which makes us stand apart from other CV writers, you are taken along the journey to producing a strong CV which will equip you with knowledge and insight into how to update your CV in the future as your career progresses. Not everyone can write their own CV, often we are approached by clients who are happy writing others CVs but struggle to really convey their own experience. It usually takes someone from an objective perspective to be able to ask the right questions and put together a coherent document. We all have something we are great at – you are great at managing / supporting projects and we are great at getting all that detail down on paper.
So you’ve worked hard to get noticed by the employers or been through the battle of getting recruiters to represent you and the hard work has paid off as you have an interview pending, or if you are fortunate then you may have a few lined up. This is the point where you don’t sit back and wait for the day; you need to apply yourself to really impress the interviewers. Often those who have reworked their CVs find it an important refresher for what they have done over the years and it really brings home the fact that we easily forget important (and relevant to interviews) pieces of work. Also those who have sat comfortably in a role for a long time or have secured assignments without interviews will not be as prepared as those who regularly go for interview. Here’s a guide to getting yourself ready and creating a good impression at interview:
- Go through your CV and refresh yourself on what you have been doing over the past few years, pay particular attention to areas relevant to the role you are interviewing for and dig deep into your memories by walking through assignments step by step to draw out any additional detail which may not be addressed on the CV.
- Read the job description and draw out key areas of requirement, those listed core competencies are a good starting point. For example if they are asking for Change Management then you will need to supply a good example of when you have managed change, think about the bereavement curve, what the key challenges were and how you overcame them.
- Start to pull out some strong examples which you feel will be good to talk about and apply the STAR technique (Situation, Task, Actions, Results), be clear on the message you want to deliver and keep to the facts, being theoretical is not useful to the interviewer especially when you’ve actually done it so tell them how it was.
- Examples of work, some interviewers may ask you to take an example of a stakeholder communication plan or project plan – in this case take a portfolio with some strong examples and be prepared to answer questions about it.
- Research the company, so many people barely do this so take time to really understand what the business does and what key challenges they may be facing, who are their competitors, what’s new on their news pages. Also take a look about what others are saying about them, know all there is to know – really demonstrate your buy-in to them and the role.
- Do a dummy run to the offices – don’t leave the journey to chance. It is always good practice to time how long it takes and which trains/buses you need to take (or where to park the car) and going at the same time of day as the interview will take place a day or two before will give you a good idea of traffic etc. Do remember to take enough change for the meter if you are driving, I have known one candidate turn up to interview stating they can only stay for half an hour as they only had enough change for that on the meter – yes really!
- Organise what you are going to wear a day or two before; ideally all should wear a suit or smart office clothes, even those who are fashion conscious need to tone it down for an interview. Nothing too outlandish or uncomfortable either.
- Put together some good questions to ask the interviewer, it is good practice to think through the role and business – this will naturally bring up some questions about how you will fit into the team, what you’ll be doing and what is expected from you within the first few weeks/months. Write a list, better to include more than you’ll ask as some will inevitably be covered by the interviewer during discussion.
- Lust – Lusting after a job doesn’t come across as attractive, everyone needs to demonstrate keenness and dare I say a little passion. These qualities are attractive and can really persuade a recruiter to put you forward for a role, sometimes the challenge of a potential new role over the remuneration package may truly be the case (not just a spiel out of desperation to get any job). But make sure you keep yourself in check, don’t hound recruiters/HR until they concede (it is highly unlikely they won’t), keep professional and don’t argue decisions made unless you really do have a valid point and even then you must be diplomatic in how you approach the subject.
- Gluttony – don’t apply for every job which vaguely looks familiar to your skill set, quality not quantity every time, applying for everything will soon get you put in the rejection pile as recruiters will keep seeing you name popping up for roles completely irrelevant and as they recognise your name they stop even opening your application.
- Greed – we all have a mortgage or rent to pay, however grabbing at the roles offering most money isn’t the ideal route, what else is being offered? Will the role enhance your career portfolio or do the company offer valuable training?
- Sloth – don’t be lazy with your applications, go the extra mile – tweak your CV and write a fresh cover letter for each application. Lazy applicants often highlight themselves for all the wrong reasons to employers and recruiters alike.
- Wrath – sitting very close with Lust this; keep your cool when making applications for a job. It can be frustrating and daunting – you feel like you are putting all the effort in and not yielding any results. Coming across aggressive and crabby isn’t professional and will quickly ensure you are not considered for any roles moving forward.
- Envy – others make seem to reaping results from their applications, securing interviews and job offers, rather than sitting there wondering what they have that you don’t, ask for some feedback. Speak to them, ask to see their CV, ask them to review your CV and also ask the people who you apply to, understand why it is you didn’t make the short list.
- Pride – your CV may have been perfectly sufficient in the past, but times change and employers expect to see so much more on a CV these days, stop being so proud and ask everyone for a critique – all feedback is good feedback, understand how others view your CV. Is it really saying all the right things?
Here’s your 7 step guide to reaching success when looking for a new job:
- Research – when you take the decision to start looking for a new role you really need to understand the industry and the roles you are applying for, make a start by looking at the types of roles you wish to apply for. Job descriptions and adverts are widely available online, by reading through them and understanding what is involved you will quickly identify the roles most relevant to you. Also spend some time researching the industries you wish to work in. Look at some of the larger corporate websites to gain a greater knowledge of what is hot at the moment as these will likely be the growth areas in that field. Start to match up your skill-set and exposure to relevant projects, make a note of these and use them as examples in your CV.
- Make a list – gather a list of the relevant role titles to your skill, and place in a spreadsheet to keep track of websites which yield good search results for them. As well as searching job boards, think about placing random searches into search engines as you will also bring up roles with direct employers too which you may have otherwise missed – a lot of employers will only advertise on their own websites.
- Focus – Ensure you are spending time on roles which you can meet a minimum of 90% of the criteria listed, this saves you wasting time on roles which you are unlikely to get into the short-list for and keeps your list down to a manageable size. It is important to streamline your applications so you can spend more time tweaking your CV and writing a cover letter for so you can yield more results. It is quality not quantity!
- Make another list – create another spreadsheet of roles you have applied to and through which websites, when etc. you need to be organised when you start receiving calls from HR / recruiters etc. it does make all the difference when you sound on the ball during these calls.
- Follow up – leave it a day or two after you make an application then call up the person handling your application. Check it has been received and offer to clarify anything further they may need to know. Round up the call by asking when you can expect to hear a response regarding your application – remain professional throughout, this includes speaking to receptionists etc. be friendly, clear, helpful and don’t let frustrations show. The person handling your application makes the decision whether to pass on your CV to clients/hiring managers so keep in mind they are testing you from the first point of application. Put yourself in their shoes – if you come across abrupt or desperate then they are highly unlikely to put your forward through fear of having their reputation soiled.