Who reads your Project Manager CV?

When you submit your CV for a job, where does it go? Well it depends on where you apply for the role – whether it is direct to an employer or through a job board. So we’ll take a look at the various scenarios:


  1. Direct employer: In this scenario the CV will generally go into a pool of applications to be sorted by HR or outsourced recruitment services, at this point the reviewer will skim read your CV and review for various elements required for the role. At this point you will be placed into a YES, NO or MAYBE pile. A shortlist will be prepared from the YES pile; if they are low on numbers then the MAYBE pile will be reviewed again for weaker possibilities. The shortlist will be sent to a number of personnel including the hiring manager and HR manager, at this point the shortlist will be reduced to a number of candidates deemed fit for interview.
  2. Job board applications: Similar to the above scenario, another layer of scrutiny will be added into the mix prior to reaching the HR department at the employer. The recruiter will receive a (generally) larger pool of applications, and the sorting process will begin. Using a list of key requirements the recruiter will review CVs and quickly sort into YES or NO piles, due to the volume of applications there is little room for a MAYBE pile. If the recruitment business is PM specific then they will tend to be much more focussed on PM requirements and more ruthless when rejecting CVs which do not meet the mark. Once a shortlist is put together, they will be sent to the employer to start the above process, unless there is already a relationship in place where the hiring manager may deal direct with applications.


Because the recruitment process is so stringent, it is important to make sure you really work on that CV and make sure it ticks all the boxes for your applications or you face being placed in the recycle bin.

What your Project Manager CV says about you – PM CV Tips

So you’ve spent a few hours writing your CV, to you it is clear and demonstrates the skills and experience you have, great start – have you had it reviewed? One of the greatest falling points for anyone writing a CV is not getting feedback, it is all too easy to believe your CV is clear (and to you it is as it’s what you’ve done etc) however to others it might not be so easy to read. Having reviewed thousands of CVs both in a PM recruitment capacity and as a CV writer I have come across a plethora of styles and levels of information – from 17 pages (yes really) to one page with barely any detail (just the essentials).

Trees on Lakeshore, November, Sunburst between Trunks

The long CVs do tend to put employers and recruiters off because there’s too much to read and it also says you cannot condense pieces of information, if you cannot do it on a document then you are likely to be a big talker, then the doom of a 4 hour interview sets in buy hiring managers who simply haven’t got the time. For those who only place job titles and a list of keywords into a short document, you are telling the reviewer that you are either lazy or you cannot articulate yourself clearly – now in the PM field, this is not good! Think about the reports and project documentation you need to provide, you are not demonstrating some core key skills. Plus on the brief CVs, how can we truly understand what it is you have been doing? It makes good sense to get a balance of the two and really think about what key areas are relevant to the jobs you are applying for.