Category Archives: Cover letters

Project Management Job Cover Letters – Q&A

Dear Nicola,

I was at an event recently when I met a hiring manager from a large employer in London, he talked to me about a project controls position which had become available and it really struck a chord with my experience. I asked a few questions and explained my background then asked if he would be interested in my application, to my delight he said yes and gave me contact details asking me to send my CV and cover letter to him. I am fairly sure my CV reflects the detail required for the role but I have little experience in writing a cover letter can you advise where to start? Sarah – Project Consultant, London.


Many thanks for your question Sarah let me start by saying well done for asking questions about the requirements for the role – this is a key starting point for the bulk of the letter. Ideally you should highlight specific examples of your experience which closely matches the role – avoid being theoretical, keep to facts. As this is a project controls role I would keep focus on where you have “policed” governance or put structures in place, talk though background briefly then what you were actually doing and the results achieved from this.

I know you mentioned your CV you feel is up to scratch, however, the CV needs to back up your cover letter – therefore you should read through the letter once complete then read through your CV to ensue it matches up. This is where many fall down, spending a long time creating a great cover letter then the CV doesn’t reflect this experience clearly. As cover letters often get discarded, it is important to make sure you really work on that CV or all that time will have gone to waste and you’ll be left wondering why you’ve not had a call.

Essential Directory to Making PM Job applications

I have written a number of articles containing tips and advice based on assisting PM professionals in securing that all important next role, job hunting should be a structured approach and does take some planning. Although the job websites make applications easy with one click to apply functionality, however some planning and organisation is required if you want to truly reap a good harvest.

A key starting point is setting out how and what you are applying for, this article provides some great ideas on how to structure an approach to your applications.

Once you have put together an action plan you need to start visiting some of the PM specific job boards and agencies, here is a list of some very useful sites.

Next, once you have a list of roles you wish to apply for you should take some time to match up your relevant experience to the job advert / job description. A cover letter can make the difference between being seriously considered for a role and being placed in a rather hefty pile of rejection CVs.  This article has an example of a cover letter which is written in response to a job description so you can really understand what detail you should be including.


I have said this before and I will say it again – don’t leave job applications to chance, with the market being flooded by applications it is important to make sure you are doing all you can to ensure your CV is being viewed positively. Taking the pepper gun approach of applying for everything just doesn’t work and can be detrimental to your endeavours – often making recruiters and hiring managers disregard your applications as soon as they see your name in their inbox again and that may well be the role you are well matched to but having seen you apply for lots of other roles which aren’t relevant to you, you have unwittingly given yourself a bad name / reputation.

Taking a targeted approach to applications will have your applications taken seriously and remembered for the right reasons.

Example Project Management Cover Letter

Writing a cover letter seems to be a daunting act for so many – I have previously written about what to include but wanted to provide an example letter to assist you in gaining interest from potential employers. Cover letters should be tailored to each application and it is a good idea to spend time making sure you tailor your CV too. Unfortunately, gone is the day when one size fits all so taking time to apply for fewer jobs but putting more effort in will give you a better chance of success for generating interest and that all important interview.


Here is a fictitious job advert:

Project Manager required to manage a number of new product development projects within FMCG manufacturing, the successful applicant will have a good understanding of project management methods such as PRINCE2 and will have managed teams within matrix managed environments which are globally dispersed.

  • Exceptional project planning using MS Project
  • Manage resources across different cultures
  • Competent in PRINCE2 methods
  • Good client facing exposure
  • Extensive financial tracking and management responsibility
  • Comfortable providing monthly presentations to site managers and senior management teams

Of course the tailored letter for this role is only applicable to those with at least 90% of the above required skills and experience. This is a rule of thumb for all job applications; don’t waste your time applying for roles which are not relevant to you.

So a cover letter will go something like this:

Dear Sir / Madam (ideally try to get the name of the person you are applying to)

Please find enclosed my CV in application for the role of Project Manager as per your advert (reference CVR2905) advertised on

I would like to draw your attention to my current role at XXXXX where I am responsible for managing up to 15 concurrent FMCG new product introduction projects, although PRINCE2 is not a process used at this organisation I have previously used this method at XXXXX where the business adopted a light version and all projects were managed through aspects of the project lifecycle.  I should also point out that during a contract position prior to this I implemented PRINCE2 methods into the core project management function within XXXXX.

All my roles have required extensive stakeholder management with internal and external parties based across the UK, Europe and USA. Most of my team management experience has been within matrix environments and where resources are globally dispersed. I am an advanced user of MS Project and have used this to plan projects for the past 10 years; I have held full P&L responsibility for all my projects with budgets ranging from £100k to £1.5m. I currently provide bi monthly presentations to our senior management team on project status, financials and forecasting – these are generally utilising Powerpoint and on site however I have also travelled to a number of our manufacturing sites for this purpose also.

I am available on my mobile to discuss further and look forward to hearing from you in due course.

Yours Faithfully (if you do not know their name) / Yours Sincerely (if you do know their name)

Jack Tyler


So as you can see – the letter addresses all aspects of the job description with examples and tells the reviewer more than the CV allows as we only want a 2 or 3 page document which should be highlighting the above but may not have all that detail. This will greatly enhance your application and should do all the right things in getting the reviewer to really read your CV not just skim through it along with 100 other applications. It also does the trick of helping the HR / recruitment consultant understand your relevance to the role; bearing in mind that a great deal of these reviewers won’t always have specialist knowledge of the role.

Portfolio , Programme, Project – What’s the difference? Friday snippet

OK so today we are going back to basics, talking through what a portfolio, programme and project actually are. I was in consultation with a project manager last week who was describing his current project list, as we talked through his input into the business he asked if he was in fact a programme manager – which lead me to write this blog piece. Having spent more years than I care to remember delivering and studying in the field of project management it dawned on me that a great deal of professionals currently working in the field of project management rarely get an outsider perspective and certainly won’t have read through the skip load of books I have. So those of us who are well into the field of PPM are sat inside a rather well oiled bubble and there are hundreds of effective and hard working PPM professionals out there who are just beginning to learn of our bubble. So for all those new to the bubble – welcome and here’s a basic overview of the 3 Ps.

  • PROJECT – A piece of work with a definite start and end, and clearly defined deliverable.
  • PROGRAMME – A programme is a number of related projects run collectively to obtain specific strategic objectives and benefits.
  • PORTFOLIO – A portfolio is an assortment of projects or programmes categorised to facilitate meeting strategic business objectives through effective management. This is a centralised management of programmes, projects and sometimes portfolios which aren’t necessarily interdependent or related directly.


OK so now we have cleared that up in the simplest form – here’s a couple of useful links for further information (APM MSP MoP) . Once you start to get a grasp of the basics, I assure you, you will be drawn into wanting to know more.

If you are in need of some advice about what it is you actually do – get in touch, no question is a stupid question and with a little consultation we will have you well placed for taking that next step to finding a new role: