Category Archives: CV Writing

Skills based CV versus Chronological CV – which is most effective?

Having read thousands of CVs in my recruitment days and interviewed hundreds or candidates it became abundantly clear that the answer to the above question is the chronological format is most effective within the Project Management domain – why? Because employers need to understand where and when the skills have been used, simply listing core competencies does not give the reader any context. Also some skills may not have been used for 5 or 10 years, the hiring manager may require recent exercise of a particular skill as this plays a major part of that project. By listing expertise in skills based CVs you may be fortunate enough to reach interview but will be asked questions about those skills in the interview and be rejected against another candidate who does have recent relevant experience. Bear in mind when applying for a role you could be up against a large number of applicants, if there are candidates contextualising their skills on their CVs it is likely your CV will be discarded for those “ticking the boxes” for the recruiter / hiring managers role requirements list.

In a chronological CV each role should have a good level of detail which clearly states the key skills required for that role, every project is delivered differently and due to size and complexity a pragmatic approach to which aspects of formal methods used is key to successful delivery. There’s no point over complicating a fairly straight forward project, this only ties up the project manager or the support team in unnecessary “paperwork”. Do not assume the reader has worked in your organisation or on similar projects – if the CV isn’t clear, it does not get short listed.

Writing a skills based CV may seem like the easy option, it is. Being able to provide a list of bullet points or statements at the top of the CV which covers your entire career in project management would seem to make sense but it detracts away from the subtleties of each role and makes it difficult to actually “paint a picture” of you, the types of projects you have delivered and your style of execution.

Your CV is your personal marketing document – your customers are the recruiters and more importantly the hiring managers. What sells a product to you? For me it has to be a straight forward piece of information which says what it can do, how it works and how up to date it is in key areas of interest for me. Now take that formula and add to it the key requirement for any project management role which is exceptional attention to detail and written communication – think about all the reporting, MI etc.

The CV Righter is a dedicated Project Management CV writing service aimed at righting the CVs of project professionals who could use some insider perspective from PM recruitment specialism and having worked in PM previously. For more information visit:

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: for further information on how we can help you break into the field.

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 for more details.