Project Management Interviews – keeping it on track

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January detox – out with the bad and in with the good, CV advice

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Project Management Contractor CV

I have been working with a contractor who came to me with a 7 page CV – when I reviewed it I found that he had over 60 short assignments on there and although he had listed a number of projects by name he hadn’t really gone into any detail about how he delivers or what the projects were. When I talked through his feedback I asked why this is the case and bearing in mind he has a significant number of practitioner qualifications there is no evidence of using these. It quickly became clear that the nature of the projects meant he could not administer recognised formal structure and that he struggled to articulate how to note down his key skills in his remits through fear of lengthening the CV further and not knowing what to actually state.

Having had a lengthy discussion about the projects and his approach to managing the projects we soon started to draw out key areas of interest such as dealing with very tight deadlines and cultural differences in project management. We discussed that it is important to list all assignments but to focus on the most recent and differing projects to add in some valuable information.

Too much informationIt is the intention for this contractor to apply to some regulatory bodies with his CV and as such, we discussed the need to take a more traditional format whilst ensuring we highlight how he sets himself apart from other project managers in his field. With a great deal of interaction and collaborative working we managed to reduce his CV down to 3 pages and ensure that we are covering key elements expected by hiring managers.

Here are a few tips for writing a CV to include a lot of jobs:

  • Place emphasis on most recent roles, talk about the project, any problems (remember a contractor is often a fire fighter and required to hit the ground running) and how you delivered it.
  • Reduce the detail of the remits as you work down the CV but ensure all roles with a difference have sufficient detail which will demonstrate your ability to work on varied assignments.
  • Do list all the roles but for those over 10 years old and certainly when you are listing over 20 jobs, you need to reduce the detail to a line stating job title, dates and company. In this case a table was required due to the sheer volume of assignments.
  • If you, like my client, have not been working to formal structures; think about how you deliver and add the detail in. Just because it’s different doesn’t mean it is wrong, in fact it demonstrates other skills and abilities to work in fast paced, often demanding environments.
  • To save space, you may look to add in achievements entwined in the project detail rather than separating out at the top of the CV.
  • Learn to articulate detail in a clear and very concise manner – not like a job description but reducing the paragraph down so we get enough information to know what it is you were tasked with and difficulties faced, just avoid waffling.

Merry Christmas from The CV Righter

First of all I would like to say a great big thank you to all our readers and clients, what a wonderful year it has been. Despite uncertainty with brexit there has been a great deal of exciting opportunities and I am very pleased with how my clients have progressed in their careers since having updated their CVs and providing coaching.

Lots to look forward to next year and as you all wind down for the Christmas break I am sure you will take time to reflect on last year and how you can achieve great success next year. I know from personal experience that I have often spent the latter part of the holidays wishing I had won the Christmas lottery jackpot so I could retire to an island far away.

The reality of it is that we can get a step closer to realising our dreams by improving our career prospects – this can be by working on a promotion, gaining additional training or looking outside your current company for new opportunities.

Having a background in recruitment I am acutely aware of the raise in job applications and new candidates registering their interest in new roles over the Christmas holidays and as such my word of advice is to make sure your CV is top notch. If you are serious about moving on, spend some time updating and refreshing your CV to make sure it is current and says all the right things.

I am also practising what I preach this year by going back to uni (Cambridge this time) to ensure my CPD (Continuing Professional Development) is up to date as I look to study Executive Coaching formally. It is important to make sure you are investing in yourself whilst further forging your career.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and Seasons Greetings to all your families! Thanks again for your continued support and I look forward to the year ahead providing advice and guidance.

Thank you all for your continued support.

Nicola CT

Making Your CV Project You