Over these past few weeks I have written a series of blog articles aimed to give you some ideas about putting together a strong PMO CV, as a definitive guide to cores areas which you should look to address when tackling your CV here is a list of all the articles related to the series with links:
The key thing to remember when putting together your CV is to ensure you add in some context, do not fall into the trap of writing a job description (or copying and pasting one), this will lead to a flat piece of writing which demonstrates you are either lazy, not adept at presenting pieces of information or do not really understand what or why you have been doing things. Your CV is the first thing an employer will see about you, how it is written speaks volumes about you, your intelligence, professionalism, and how you feel about your roles. As a PMO professional, you will be required to write reports, presentations and guidance notes, therefore if you cannot be clear and engaging in your own CV then it doesn’t look too good for the documents you will be producing at work. It goes without saying that spelling and grammar are always checked and do not get me started on formatting – how many of you state “advanced or intermediate user of MS Word” yet you cannot get your font right or bullets aligned?? That screams less than basic user to those reviewing your CV.
Carrying on with the PMO CV tips series, today we will look at Planning. Planning is one of the key areas to success with every element of project management and the PMO pays a large part in ensuring plans are in place and fit for purpose. There are many areas of planning you may be involved in and it is important that you are addressing this core competency on your CV. I have come across many PMO roles which take a different slant to the amount of input required to programmes of work – some PMOs write the project plans for the project managers whereas others coach PMs to write them and of course the is cross programme planning to take into consideration also.
Portfolio planning is a strong area within PMOs and again it comes down to who is putting these together, monitoring and updating them. Think about all aspects of your input into planning and write a list, once you have a strong list, you need to then think about how you should convey this information on the CV. For example you may be able to box together certain elements of the planning into 2 or 3 core areas, if one area is around coaching and advising PMs on putting together plans then talk through what you actually do to achieve this. In larger organisations with big teams you may find that running workshops is an effective approach. Talk through how you put together the workshop materials and run the events – are you performing presentations or taking a more collaborative approach? Are your PMs actually business heads who have been asked to manage projects, so they are subject matter experts but haven’t formally managed projects. Or are you implementing a new project management structure to the business and working with experienced PMs? What are the templates you are introducing to the team? Are they based on any specific models and what software are you using? By pulling together these pieces of information and placing in a concise bullet point within your role remit, you will be greatly enhancing your CV and making it much easier for recruiters and hiring managers to really understand what your input is into this core area which is almost certainly always asked for in a job description.
This is the next part of my PMO CV writing tips series, last week we talked about relationship building, today I want to talk about process. PMOs vary drastically from programme to programme and industry to industry – so it would be fair to say that if you have worked in a few, you have a good variety of experience; one key area to a PMO is process. Now depending on your specialism, you need to look at addressing processes from different angles – first port of call is to identify what type of PMO professional you are. If you work in permanent positions, it is likely that you either set up and manage PMOs moving forward or pick up PMOs and manage them as they stand, maybe addressing bottlenecks and tweaking processes etc. A contractor is likely to be either a fixer or a builder – as a fixer you will go into organisations and identify areas for improvement (sometimes it isn’t actually a PMO but a PM environment which requires some structure), as a builder you will go in and build a PMO in-line with strategic goals and once in place you will probably move on, handing the reigns to a permanent employee. A lot of PMO people that come to me are contractors who work at senior level to address core issues with PM capability within the business, they work with the PMs and business heads to identify why projects aren’t deemed successful and re-engineer processes to work with the organisation. Processes can be typical PMO tool kit things such as planning, reporting, RAID log templates but quite often, the contractors need to develop new processes for specific areas of the business. It is these processes which really showcase their effectiveness within troubled environments and add great value. When you are writing your CV, you must talk about all of these and give examples of where you have worked with the business or suppliers etc to pull together an effective way of working.
Do not assume that employers know this is “just part of the job” – talk about it and sell your skills, organisations are always looking to improve how they do things, if your specialism is identifying weak areas and driving forward solutions, tell us!