Starting out in Project Management – CV tips

Project Management is not for the faint hearted – it’s commonly being recognised as a profession and as such core skills and qualifications are a key requirement for those wanting to venture into the career path. Most of us have used project management whether formally or informally in unrelated roles and often those who wish to take next steps to work in the dedicated field of project management do so due to having a taster. The key thing to remember is that project management can be stressful, with deadlines and often difficult issues to overcome in order to ensure success.

Most of the project management professionals I know have “fallen” into the field, like myself, often carrying out day to day duties in their role and being asked or volunteering up their services to work on a project within the business. Gaining experience working on projects within your current role is one of the best ways to gain attention from potential employers to take you into a dedicated PM role. However, it is a rarity for candidates to go straight into managing their own projects as a first role – look at it from an employer’s perspective, if they have a bundle of cash and a project needing execution they are likely to give the responsibility to a seasoned professional. Especially in frugal times such as today where sign off on projects is being scrutinised fiercely.

A good starting point is supporting a project – either by assisting a PM such as Assistant Project Manager, Project Coordinator or Junior Project Manager or supporting a large project or programme such as Project Support Administrator, Project Support Coordinator, Programme Support etc. But do not be fooled by these roles, there are a vast number of seasoned project / programme support staff out there who are all looking for their next challenge and do not deem these roles as “junior”, the Project Support field is a career in its own right. Often the support people are keen to progress in this area, not to become a PM, but to work in and eventually manage PMOs (programme Management Office).

Here are some tips on strengthening your CV for such applications:

1. Ensure your CV is well written – a key point of project support is to be able to demonstrate effective written skills, if you are providing MI (Management Information) then you’ll need to be able to construct clear concise information.

2. Learn the PM language, utilise the internet and publications in the PM field to understand the terminology used and apply this to your CV. Keyword searching is very popular with recruiters and this can be the difference to having your CV picked up or left behind. Especially those of you who have taken PM qualifications, match up your skills to those required for the role.

3. Be honest, do not write a CV which has all the required competencies if you have not actually done it – you will be found out at interview, try to match up areas you use regularly such as reporting, planning, arranging meetings, taking minutes and client facing skills etc.

4. Don’t aim too high – as stated above you need to take the employers perspective into consideration as to the experience level they are willing to engage on a project. You may have a lot of experience in your current role but be prepared to take a step down as you are effectively taking a career change so it is deemed as starting over.

5. Utilise your relevant sector or industry knowledge and experience. As you are new to the PM field, think about how you can give something back – the employer will need to train you in the role so being able to offer some solid background knowledge to the role is a fair return.

The CV Righter has a wealth of experience in providing careers and CV advice to those wishing to change careers to Project Management, visit: www.thecvrighter.co.uk for further information on how we can help you break into the field.

Online presence – what your social media antics say about you

Communications in the technology world have evolved so much that we rarely have a need to pick up the phone to call a friend to know what they have been up to thanks(?) to the likes of facebook and twitter. In some respects it’s a fantastic way to keep in touch, in others it is quite sad that we can become complacent and lose that human touch too. In a bid to tell everyone what we are doing you must remember what effect this will also have on your recruitment potential. With reports of businesses in the US asking for passwords to prospective employee’s social media accounts to check their behaviours, a trend is starting to emerge where employers and recruiters alike are looking a little deeper than the CV to understand what potential employees are really like.

Now we have all had the warnings about privacy settings on our social media – but as the likes of facebook become more popular and naturally as a business it wants to extend out to a wider audience, privacy settings are constantly changing so profile pictures are no longer private to the outside world if your settings aren’t up to date. And even posts on your wall can be more readily accessed through other connections; it is time to consider what you want the wider audience to see about your life. Photos of drunken shenanigans and status updates about funny but silly behaviour could be in the reach of employers and could make a huge difference to you being offered a role.

It does seem unfair as your private life should be just that and a great deal of people live by the “work hard, play hard” rule. You may be incredibly professional and results driven at work with a wealth of delivery success under your belt but some organisations don’t take too well to knowing their employees (or potential employees) like to binge drink and make fools of themselves out of work. Fear that the employee may turn into work worst for wear and make costly mistakes and also the biggy – how does it reflect on the business, especially when there is a large new client about to invest who may also fall upon information about the person responsible for handling their expensive project.

The lesson to be learned here (as we are talking project management) is to ensure all your social media privacy settings are tight and up to date. Think about what you actually want people to see and for twitter – think before you tweet!

Now go out there, work hard and play hard – make sure your CV is saying all the right things about you and that your social media is saying the right things too.

For advice on social media and a free CV review from a consultant with project management recruitment experience (who has actually worked in Project Management), visit: www.thecvrighter.co.uk

Identification Fraud – are you giving too much away in your CV?

In an age where we can upload our CVs online for public viewing through the vast quantity of job boards, websites and social media – it has become imperative that you protect yourself from the scammers by ensuring you are not giving too much away about yourself.

If you are keen to secure a new role it is important to ensure your CV is visible by employers and recruiters and utilising the industry specific job facilities is important. When sending your CV to recruitment companies check their policies on data protection and also be aware that putting your CV on the job websites means that recruiters can take your CV and submit you for roles you are not aware of. Unfortunately you have to weigh up the pros and cons of putting your CV out there – to get noticed and be included for roles which may not be advertised or you are not aware of, this is required. You can get around this by having a great Linkedin profile – recruiters can make contact with you to retrieve your CV so you will know who has your CV and for what purposes. This is restricting your visibility but protects you further against making applications for roles which your CV has already been submitted for without your knowledge.

Your CV should definitely have your contact details such as an email address and mobile number but it is advised that you do not put your full address and personal details such as date of birth. With these kinds of details you can have your identity stolen. It is recommended that you state an area such as city or county so the recruiters / hiring managers know if you are local enough for a role they may want to contact you about. Date of birth is really not necessary and can also lead to discrimination against roles – age should not come into it. And the law is there to protect you however it is better to leave it out for both the ID fraud and age discrimination reasons.

Leaving such information off your CV will present more room for you to add more relevant detail such as your experience and skills. If you are applying for roles direct then stating your address is a good idea – especially for employers who will then be able to see your locality with ease.

I suggest including a link to your Linkedin profile on the CV, this is a great idea if you have a well maintained profile with recommendations from previous employers, colleagues and clients. It adds to your marketability and enhances your CV. Plus it is always worthwhile having an up to date Linkedin profile as employers are increasingly using the search mechanism on this site to source potential employees during frugal times.

The CV Righter has been set up to assist you in your career objectives and boasts a tailored service to exactly match your requirements, if the CV only needs a few tweaks – that is what you will receive to help you raise your marketability or you may require a complete overhaul. Our specialism is a combination of extensive specialist project management recruitment and project management delivery. Recruiting for such roles as well as sporting the battle scars from being out in the field means we understand your needs. Visit www.thecvrighter.co.uk for more details.

New Beginnings

Hello and welcome to The CV Righter blog!! In this first blog post I want to introduce myself and the business to you all. Firstly, if you have read my website and linkedin profile then you will know a little about me – you may also know me from my PM or recruitment past, I am not new to writing blog posts, narrating podcasts, attending PPM events and being fairly high profile in the PPM community. After nearly 5 years specialising in Project Management recruitment I decided to take a leap of faith into an area which has been of interest to me for a number of years. Working in recruitment I have spoken to so many PM professionals who are frustrated at not getting the job they thought they were ideal for, only to face the realisation that their CV does not meet the minimum criteria, never mind dazzle the reader – despite having all the right experience. Time and time again I too would be frustrated by the best CVs attracting attention not the best candidates. So here I am, offering a service dedicated to ensuring that PPM professionals get a service which is tailored to their needs, with results which attract the right kind of attention.

Our services:

– Offering a one to one specialism which meets your needs

– Understanding what you do and making sure others can understand this too by using language uniformly recognised by employers in the PPM domain

– Providing advice on job applications and if required, tailoring your CV to a specific role

– Supplying a quick turnaround service for those who have just spotted the job of their dreams and need to hit a deadline

Writing a CV isn’t rocket science – putting the right message across in an ever-changing niche area of the job marketplace can be. I have spoken to countless project professionals at varying levels of hierarchy and all say the same thing, they can write business cases and extensive reports etc but find it incredibly difficult to write their own CV. Why stress about it – let me write it for you.

www.thecvrighter.co.uk

Making Your CV Project You