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APM Project Management CV Writing Workshop

As some of you will be aware, I am due to present at tonight’s APM branch session in Golborne – the session is has been fully subscribed with a waiting list for a few months. I have been asked to present at further events and we are currently in discussions. The essence of the session is to take a look at what employers and recruiters expect to see in a CV and work through the core elements of the CV structure. I have designed the session to be interactive rather than a PowerPoint presentation style, which I feel will be much more constructive for delegates. The PM job market is a difficult one to crack if you haven’t got a strong CV which says all the right things and there are a great deal of job hunters out there who remain oblivious to the fact that their CV just isn’t hitting the mark – blaming lack of interviews and call backs on the market being flooded. It is true to say the market is flooded but the reality is that there are very few who really know how they should be presenting their CVs for job applications. It is often the best CVs not the best candidates who secure short-listing.


We will discuss individuals experiences of job applications, talk through job specific areas for the CV and I will also be providing reviews on individuals CVs. Delegates will walk away with a good insight into what employers and recruiters look for and will have the knowledge and tools to put together a winning CV.

Does your Project Manager CV light fires?

Yes, it is Guy Fawkes and as such we are adding a little fun into the article today to relate all things to the occasion and asking the question – does your CV light fires in the hearts of hiring managers’ or is it a bit of a damp firework?  Expectations are always high when it comes to opening a CV when recruiting for a new role, sometimes (but not always) we have our appetites whet by a really explosive covering letter which really addresses the requirements for the role and we open the CV with excited anticipation, however, often the CV is a real let down. Why does this happen, you ask? Well CVs are often put together and then forgotten about as you feel you’ve done the best you can and it should be fit for all applications. You see a job you like and go about writing a cover letter talking through your career similarities to the position, all the effort goes in here with little thought to how the CV reads now (sometimes months on from when you originally wrote it). It is good practice to always read through your CV and match against the roles you wish to apply for, and then make tweaks so it is substantiating the detail you have supplied in the cover letter.


  • Bonfire – Create a document which really makes reviewers warm to it, think out of the box, and make sure your personality and management style come across.
  • Fireworks – Create a dazzling display on the CV to make recruiters want to read on, it’s not all about formatting and colours, it is content. What would you like to see if you were recruiting?
  • Treacle toffee – Always seems like a good idea until it gets stuck in your teeth, just like writing untruths. Keen it real, you want the CV to be good, more emphasis on what you have done not what you haven’t please.
  • Lanterns – shine a light on your experience; stand out from the crowd by working in good examples of where you have shone.
  • Penny for the Guy – Stop pretending to be something you are not, you will soon be found out. You will no doubt have some great experience so talk about it, think about impacts and change – doesn’t sound so flat when you add in some context.

Have a safe and happy Guy Fawkes!

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.

Project Challenge Expo 2013 – Free Event

The bi annual Project Management event Project Challenge is back with us 15-16th October at Olympia, London.

A must for those wanting to network, learn about new tools, make contact with recruiters and learn something from the various presentations being held throughout the event.

Project Challenge Expo 2013

It is a free event but you do need to register online to receive a pass into the building, if you are local to Olympia then you should pop in even if over your lunch break. Those who are currently looking for new opportunities should also put the dates in your diary so you can keep your hand into what is new in PM but also the networking is invaluable. Take a few copies of your CV and talk to recruiters, also make acquaintance with your peers – I have done this time after time and yielded some fantastic leads for future initiatives.

Project Challenge Expo 2013

Location: Olympia, London.

Dates: 15th & 16th October

Register here.