Having reviewed literally thousands of CVs over the years, one thing which quickly became apparent was that prospective job candidates really struggled to articulate themselves. It’s true and not just restricted to those deemed “junior” or fairly new to project management, those managing multi-million pound programmes and heading up incredibly complex and technical pieces of work (often high profile) are also guilty, if not more so. You may ask how hard it can be to clearly talk about the key deliverables, important facts and “how” you work – when spelled out, it isn’t or is it?
How many times have you made a statement which has been misinterpreted? From a flippant status update on Facebook to a quickly scribed tweet, responses contrary to what you meant often crop up so how common is it to make the same mistakes on your CV – very!
When we write something down, to you as the author it makes sense but often you write as you speak and don’t think about the fact that others do not know what context you are talking in when it’s a flat piece of paper. A short, to the point (or not) document which should be presenting you in a professional manner and selling your abilities to potential employers and recruiters.
Don’t leave it to chance, think long and hard about your target audience and what they expect to see, work through your skills, experiences and knowledge and ensure this comes across clearly on the CV. Don’t make the mistake of writing thousands of words or going polar opposite by barely supplying any info. Remember it doesn’t matter what level you work at, the employer still needs to see what it is you have done and how you have done it. Senior management often believe less is more but this will seriously hinder you from securing that next position.
Just like people, CVs need a health check periodically, as a project management professional you should take responsibility for your career and part of progression is updating and improving you CV as your experience grows. However there are times just like with your own health when you may suspect something is no quite right, you know when you feel there is something amiss and you aren’t functioning properly… Well you may also see these signs with your CV especially if you are applying for roles. To you the CV looks OK, but you aren’t yielding results from your applications or maybe you are but they aren’t quite the results you were hoping for.
Visiting the doctor is a good idea if you don’t feel right but all too often the GP cannot diagnose and calls for tests, and ultimately will refer you to a specialist in the field, who can investigate more thoroughly and is used to seeing hundreds of patients annually who display similar symptoms to yours and can often pinpoint what is wrong within a short consultation. Unlike the GP who is a general practitioner and is fantastic for uncomplicated ailments and conditions but has not got the in-depth knowledge of specific areas of the body to be able to accurately diagnose and ultimately understand your condition.
The same goes for your CV, you may investigate your CV and even take it to recruiters, managers, colleagues, HR friends etc but as good as their advice can be, the likelihood is that they don’t know enough about project management combined with hiring managers high expectations. Those who do will often miss how to articulate key details.
When you come to The CV Righter, you will have your CV thoroughly reviewed, and moving forward with the service you will have a thorough consultation where weak points in the document will be highlighted, completely missed areas will be teased out and poor parts will be nursed back to health to ensure the CV is really selling you.
Don’t leave it to chance, you could be missing out on some fantastic opportunities just because you hope it will sort itself out and blaming the state of the job market just isn’t an excuse. As a seasoned PM recruiter I know only too well that opportunities are still there even in perceived slow periods.
People in PMOs – well that’s what a successful PMO is all about surely? It’s all well and good having frameworks, templates and processes but without the right people behind them driving, nurturing, coaching, selling, and adding value to the business change will not happen. So, are you talking about this aspect in your CV? I didn’t think so! I’ve touched on this on a number of occasions, as your teams are also a big part of the role. As a successfully PMO professional you will be dealing with and educating a wide range of people, from senior management teams, sponsors, delivery staff, users and technical teams to name a few. Your influence can mean the difference between an inclusive and responsive experience or poor comms, delivering out of scope and no buy-in to the value of what is trying to be achieved. Therefore it is important to think about what involvement you have had, and positive changes you have made to businesses – capture this information and make sure you demonstrate good examples of this on your CV.
PMOs are often challenged by senior management for their effectiveness and ability to add value so don’t just focus on process, you are an interface and as such you will provide a range of services whether it be consultative, supporting, mentoring & training or policing… Every business is different and if you have a range of exposure to PMOs then you should exhibit your portfolio to really enhance your chances or securing that next role and improve your rate/salary.
Writing your CV doesn’t come naturally to a lot of people and Project Professionals particularly find it difficult to strike a balance between getting the project information versus the core competencies. This is understandable as there is often a great deal of detail you wish to include and in doing so, key criteria is missed out completely. Knowing what the hiring managers want to see has changed over the years and with the volume of job applications increasing for roles you are unlikely to be called in for an interview to discuss the missing parts when there are those who have clear and concise documents which do have the correct balance of information.
I was talking with a recent client who had previously had her CV professionally written and one of the bullet points stated Change Management – I probed what this involved in that role and she said she hadn’t actually done any CM in that role but had been advised to state it anyway. I pointed out that should she secure an interview with the CV that she would inevitably be asked to expand, as there was no detail and it is a point of interest for a Project Manager job. She became very concerned that her CV was not saying the right things and began to question the advice she had received from the service she had invested time, money and faith into. I have come across a number of CVs which have been professionally written, which either don’t make sense or are limited in content – the problem with not using a CV writing service which is specialist in your field. At the CV Righter we work with you to understand where your skill-set lies and help you achieve a CV which will draw attention for the right reasons, we look to add that extra information about your style and where you go above and beyond the role. Setting you apart from your competitors is crucial to getting you on that shortlist for interview.
Do not make assumptions about the reviewer of your CV – they can come from all sorts of backgrounds and may not necessarily understand Project Management, you need to be hitting the right keywords but also adding in context to make the information understandable to all.
Identifying a CV service which is right for you and your skill-set is important – just because it is cheap or very expensive, doesn’t mean you will be getting value for money. Ask for a review of your CV before engaging services and see what their understanding of your experience is, it is all well and good pointing out grammatical errors and formatting – but what will they do with the content and how will they work with you to achieve a good, strong, honest document which will harvest results?
Get in touch today to receive a free review of your CV and constructive advice on how to improve it.