One key area not considered or talked about in a great deal of project management CVs is the project lifecycle – assuming that the reviewer knows you work through a structured approach is a big mistake. As project practitioners we all work differently, some don’t work through any methodology and governance is none existent. Therefore a great starting point for writing out the remit of each role would be to use the lifecycle framework as a core structure to then build on. Let’s have a look at the project lifecycle:
Initiation – The beginning phase where objectives are defined and a business case is drawn up. At this point a decision whether to initiate the project itself based on a review of core areas such as cost, deliverables, scope, purpose, resources, timescales, structure, impact, etc.
Planning – The project is now assessed in terms of time, cost and resource; as a starting point but should be continuously updated, changed and evolved throughout the course of the project.
Execution – The project actually happens, usually overseen by the project manager and supported by the project team. Activities will be monitored and controlled throughout this phase and regular updates will be presented to the senior management team/sponsors/customers etc.
Close – Like all good things, everything must come to a close. It is especially important that projects are closed down effectively and success celebrated or lessons learnt from failure.
Now take a look at your CV and see if any aspects of the above are actually addressed? I bet there’s a list of skills but no real information or examples; am I right? Then you need to go back to the drawing board and produce a CV which employers want to see and recruiters will fall over themselves to sell you to their clients.
I’ve written about this before, albeit a couple of years ago but it is always good to have a reminder. When sending your project management CV for job applications don’t make the mistake of sending a PDF file. Now we are told that sending a PDF file will keep the format of the document and the reviewer will read it as they were meant to but… And here’s the big but…. If you want your CV to go into recruitment agencies systems to be available for recruiters to search for and review for other roles then you may find the file won’t save properly. Unfortunately outdated systems often used by some recruitment agencies cannot process PDF files, therefore large chunks of detail can be missing and basically it renders your CV useless in their system. Now in all fairness I don’t know a great deal of recruitment agencies that bother to revisit CVs in their own systems due to the volume of applications being made regularly making it not necessary. Also the large job board websites have much more robust searching options which means most recruiters would turn to these repositories over their in-house systems. But to always go belt and braces to ensure your best chances by always using a MS Word file format.
As a project practitioner it is highly likely you have gained PRINCE2 qualifications and/or worked with the methodology at some points along your PM career path. Employers will still ask for PRINCE2 qualifications and knowledge as it has long been a buzz word in the PM domain, therefore it is important to do more than merely mention you have the PRINCE2 qualification on your CV. It is good practice to use the terminology within your CV to demonstrate that you utilise the methods, also mentioning in your profile that you have used the method alongside other PM methods married up with the experience talking through the lifecycle for your remits. This also applies to those who have lapsed PRINCE2 or haven’t got the qualifications – if you work within a PRINCE2 environment then talk about it, arguably the experience is far more valuable than the certificate alone.
Make sure you spell PRINCE2 correctly and don’t fall into calling yourself a practioner, it’s practitioner – I’ve lost count of how many CVs I’ve seen this spelling mistake on. As with all detail on your CV, you must be careful to ensure you aren’t making mistakes. Not only is it off-putting to reviewers it can also hinder you when it comes to keyword searches, recruiters still use keyword searching and you won’t come up in shortlists if you are spelling qualifications and keywords incorrectly.