I was approached by a client recently who has been working in a strategic role within the NHS for over 15 years, she is keen to make a move out to a different sector and has approached me to discuss how to go about making that change. It is always difficult when you have stayed with a role/organisation for so long, we do tend to become institutionalised and our confidence levels can really suffer when we challenge ourselves to move out of our comfort zone. At first we talked through the reasons behind moving on, an important factor whenever you are looking to make a big change. Having uncovered a deep seated unhappiness with how the role has been re-shaped over a number of restructures and changes to organisational policy – it has become very clear that a move away is important for her growth and well being. As such, we have structured a plan with which to work to. First of all we need to get down on paper what she has been delivering over the years, looking at how she works, and also what some of the key challenges have been. By pulling together a skills audit with workable examples we can start to work on the confidence issues. Sometimes it takes an overview of what you have achieved and the challenges you have overcome to make you realise just how good you are! We have decided to work together in constructing a CV as a good exercise where she will learn new skills in putting together a CV in the future but also gain a strong affinity to what is being included which will help when we reach interview stage. Once we have a strong CV I have agreed to analyse the types of roles which would be a close fit for her, we will talk through these roles and assist her in gaining a wider knowledge in how her current role fits into organisations outside the NHS. Once we have pinpointed some roles of interest, we will go through the application process and ensure the applications made are the best they can be to yield greater results. Whilst this part of the process is running we will begin interview coaching, making sure we include some fantastic and relevant examples to use whilst clearly articulating the right amount of information and understanding of what is being asked of her by interviewers. The service will not conclude here, we shall continue to work together right the way through the offer process and even through to settling into a new role. This is a big move for my client so it is important she feels fully supported whilst making the transition, there will be no point she will feel fazed or overly nervous as we’ve agreed a fully inclusive mentoring and support service. The CV Righter works with you to understand your needs and offer a bespoke service which will get you on the right track.
Time to strip back your CV to the bone, and build muscles back – rid that fat! Christmas is a time for celebration and usually means eating and drinking more than the usual quota, as New Year kicks in we take a resolution to fight back at the added pounds and detox our vital organs. This is also true for your CV, not just over Christmas but throughout the year we add more pieces of information to the ever growing CV as we achieve more and use more skills. So whilst you are trying to abstain from all the bad things and need a distraction from bad habits – now is a good time to give your CV that much needed detox.
Here are some tips on doing just that:
- Back to basics – hopefully you already have a structured CV which provides the main skeleton to your work history; this is an excellent starting point. Strip it back to bare essentials and take all the “fat” out to one side.
- Work that fat – now you have a list of all the bulk, separate from the CV take a good look at what is relevant to you as a professional and tone it up. Reduce the text down to clear and concise statements. Look to integrate similar pieces of information in that role into one bullet point.
- Tone up the muscle – once you have strong statements make sure they are looking as good as possible, refrain from repeating terminology and buff up the content you have to ensure each statement looks as good as it can.
- Exercise – yes, you can apply a regime to your workout by practising – don’t be tempted to take the lazy route and just write a statement leaving it at that. Write and rewrite until you have a well written piece of work.
- Repetition – make sure you work through the entire CV applying the same structure (but not repeating action words such as managing, reporting, and delivering over and over).
- Detox – remove all the parts the employer does not want to see, put yourself in their shoes – we expect you to be organised, motivated and energetic. Think about core competencies which are vital to achieving your goals such as planning, team management, applying structure and how you do this.
Employ key structure to each bullet point – the employer wants to know what you do/did, how you do/did it and some context in terms of size/locations of teams, budgets, type of assignment, timescales and challenges met along the way.
A new year means a new start for everyone – the employment market is still struggling but there are still roles out there so it is imperative that your CV is at its peak fitness; toned, free of fat and looking good. You will be surprised just how quickly your CV is picked up for interviews if you put the work in; don’t be disillusioned by the fact that there aren’t so many in your field applying for roles, employers are being every bit as stringent in their filtering process with job applications which means you have to really work at it!
The project management job market is up and down all the time, having tracked the PM job market for 8 years or so from a buoyant time and through a double dip recession I can honestly say there has always been PM jobs about. OK so employers changed their recruitment methods and processes, it became more difficult to secure a role and the salaries have yo-yo’d throughout. One thing which hasn’t changed is the need for an excellent CV, employers expect the best and will shortlist based on how well they relate to the CVs presented to them. As a standard, a CV must be well written with no spelling or grammatical errors but much more than this you need to be selling yourself in the right light. I thoroughly believe you can actually have less of the experience if your CV clearly demonstrates what you can do and how you do it. If you can match 85% (previously I would’ve said 90-95%) of the role requirements but have some excellent examples of how you have added value to employers, talk through core skills with context and generally have a shining example of your skill-set versus experience then you are more likely to score more interviews.
I’ve always said, if you can write the CV yourself, then do it, however it is difficult to separate yourself from the document and be objective and this can really hinder you. Working exclusively with a former PM recruiter you can really build a CV that works and really talks about you. For a free quote and honest feedback for how your current CV comes across, get in touch!
When you submit your CV for a job, where does it go? Well it depends on where you apply for the role – whether it is direct to an employer or through a job board. So we’ll take a look at the various scenarios:
- Direct employer: In this scenario the CV will generally go into a pool of applications to be sorted by HR or outsourced recruitment services, at this point the reviewer will skim read your CV and review for various elements required for the role. At this point you will be placed into a YES, NO or MAYBE pile. A shortlist will be prepared from the YES pile; if they are low on numbers then the MAYBE pile will be reviewed again for weaker possibilities. The shortlist will be sent to a number of personnel including the hiring manager and HR manager, at this point the shortlist will be reduced to a number of candidates deemed fit for interview.
- Job board applications: Similar to the above scenario, another layer of scrutiny will be added into the mix prior to reaching the HR department at the employer. The recruiter will receive a (generally) larger pool of applications, and the sorting process will begin. Using a list of key requirements the recruiter will review CVs and quickly sort into YES or NO piles, due to the volume of applications there is little room for a MAYBE pile. If the recruitment business is PM specific then they will tend to be much more focussed on PM requirements and more ruthless when rejecting CVs which do not meet the mark. Once a shortlist is put together, they will be sent to the employer to start the above process, unless there is already a relationship in place where the hiring manager may deal direct with applications.
Because the recruitment process is so stringent, it is important to make sure you really work on that CV and make sure it ticks all the boxes for your applications or you face being placed in the recycle bin.