Category Archives: Halloween

Skeletons in the Closet – PM CV Tips

As it is All Hallows Eve, far be it for me to pass up on a ghoulishly themed article, last year we looked at all things scary when it comes to job applications.  Something  I came across recently was a CV which seemed to say all the right things in regards to areas covered within the roles, but on asking questions about different aspects such as change management (which had been listed) it became clear that not all was as it seems. As a former PM recruiter I know only too well that candidates will be vetted on the detail supplied in their CV – usually at the point of contact with a recruiter but sometimes not until interview. Regardless of when this happens, rest assured it halloweenwill happen and if you have not got examples to back up your statements then you will be rejected for the role. Therefore it is important to keep it real, when I asked why the candidate had stated areas which they hadn’t actually touched on the response was “I thought it was what the employers want to see on the CV”. I pointed out that it would soon become clear there was no evidence to substantiate the claims and pointed out that they actually have some great experience despite the lack of exposure to particular elements. Why paint an untrue picture when you can create a masterpiece which is true and will gain interviews for the right roles? Scary to think some still believe it is OK to include untruths and not be found out. As tempting as it may be to try and boost your CV, don’t! Leave the dramatics and masks for Halloween parties and going out playing Trick or Treat with the kids.

Here’s a short guide to getting it right:

  • Nightmare on Elm Street or more Elmo on Sesame Street – don’t embellish situations / assignments to make them sound more interesting.
  • Pumpkin Carving or more pumpkin soup – think about how you make your mark within an organisation, are you carving the way or just mixing in with the soup.
  • Skeletons in the closet – lying is lying, you will not only jeopardise your job application by making false statements.
  • Witches and Warlocks – does what you clam sound like magic, or a little too good to be true? This will get questioned; it is about striking a balance between selling yourself and being realistic.
  • Devils and Ghouls – don’t become one of these! You will soon get a reputation with recruiters who will not touch you in the future and certainly won’t thank you if you have ruined a relationship with their client.


Have a fantastic All Hallows Eve and get the need to dress up out of your system – you might get some sweets and will certainly gain a more positive response than doing it in your CV.

Scary times when looking for a job?

It’s Halloween – a time for pumpkins, ghosts & ghouls, witches and skeletons to make an appearance. Keeping to the All Hallows theme I see some striking resemblances to the various elements of looking for a job.

  • Pumpkins – we all like an expertly carved pumpkin displayed in the window with a candle shining bright for all to see. Think about your CV and if you were to display it on the likes of job websites etc. is what you have on display scary or intriguing? If it is intriguing enough to take a closer look then you are on the right tracks, if it is garish and scary you may just frighten off potential employers.
  • Skeletons – do you have skeletons in your closet? If you are applying for security cleared jobs or even roles which may take a dim view on your past – are you prepared to have your background interrogated or are you setting yourself up to fail? Think about the roles you are applying for and make choices based on what will work for you – do your homework.
  • Ghosts – often translucent, and to the trained eye your CV is the same – make sure you back up your statements in your CV to ensure you are not being overlooked. Also ghosts often appear and disappear like a number of pieces of information on CVs, don’t swap around information too much as you may scare off a recruiter who will do a comparison of different versions of your CV and will have their suspicion raised.
  • Witches – often seen huddling around a cauldron deciding on ingredients (applications) going into the spell which will win over their prey (hiring managers).
  • Spiders – or web crawlers work over your CV in databases and on job boards as they search for keywords to index you for searches by employers. Make sure you are using terminology common to your profession but don’t just list a load of keywords – contextualise them in the remits for the roles. The spiders do still work just as effectively.
  • Trick or treat – knocking on the doors of the prosperous (employers) for treats (jobs), not a great deal of effort goes into direct applications / speculative approaches to businesses but it is still the leading route to success.
  • Bobbing for apples – similar to applying for jobs, leaning into a big barrel and trying your best to catch an apple in your teeth; in competition with several others but who will get it first?
  • Zombies – make sure you are alert and articulate when speaking with HR / recruiters especially when it is you calling them to ask how your application is coming along / has it been received or you have questions.
  • Werewolves – Always treat everyone you meet as you would expect to be greeted, don’t change from human to grumpy wolf when speaking to receptionists / secretaries. Not only is it rude and disrespectful, you don’t actually know who you are speaking with – they may be the MD just picking up the phone or sat in reception!!
  • Cobwebs – clear out the cobwebs from your CV; refreshing and updating your CV periodically is excellent practice.
  • Lightening – don’t wait to apply for a role, get to work immediately on tweaking your CV and submit it ASAP. Job shortlists can often be met within a few hours of a job advert being posted online.

Wishing you all a Happy, Safe and Joyful All Hallows Eve – remember a good costume to intrigue and attract others to talk to you is the best way to gain success but keep it real, no one likes to take off a mask to reveal something even more scary underneath!!


We had some fun in the office carving our own pumpkins (see below) – this has become a bit of a tradition as I was challenged to create a themed one last year which yielded a donation to a local children’s hospice and even though we did not have a bet on this year, a donation was made again to the hospice – thanks Steve!!