I thoroughly enjoyed presenting at the APM PM CV Workshop on Thursday 5th Dec – not only was it a pleasure to give something back to the PM community but it was also great to meet a bunch of really enthusiastic and engaging PM professionals. I was in talks with Graham the NW Branch Secretary about running a session back in April 2013, and I hadn’t expected the year to fly by as quickly as it did. Unfortunately on the evening we were met with horrific storms which lead to a reduced number attending the session, but this in no way reduced the energy in the room. For those who missed out here’s a synopsis of the evening. The session was broken down into sections, first we talked through an introduction lead by myself on who we were and a little about our backgrounds so we could establish a relevant theme to take throughout the evening. We then talked through structuring the CV and the importance of getting the right kind of information presented without producing a lengthy document. We discussed what employers look for in a CV and how the market has changed over the years, delving into experiences from the recruitment aspect and also how the delegates had found the shift. It was interesting to have a mix of delegates from permanent and contractors to those happy in their roles but recognising a need to have an up to date CV. We had stories from those who had never really needed a CV as their contract assignments had usually been secured through word of mouth and networks but had seen this type of behaviour dip over the years and those who had been in their current employment for over 10 years. It was interesting that one of the delegates pointed out that the demographic of the attendees was 40 year old plus, which sparked a discussion about ageism and how this could play a part in recruitment whether beneficial or discriminatory. However as the group was reduced due to the storm it was not a true reflection of parties interested in improving their CVs, although the willpower to attend against the blocked roads and gale force winds was noted. The session lasted a good hour and a half due to lots of discussions about various aspects of the CV and talking through examples, lots of great questions were asked and by the end of the session although some felt their CVs needed shredding and starting over. Everyone felt reenergised about how to put together a winning CV. I also gave some personal CV reviews after the session and provided all attendees with a CV template sample and guidance notes to achieve the winning CV. Asking around the room (also receiving some fantastic feedback afterwards via twitter and the blog) everyone felt the session had been a real eye opener and useful for them moving forward.
I must say I tend to find presentations quite stale when too formal, so taking a more collaborative approach to delivering and sharing information came as a refreshing change and a style I shall adopt for future workshops.
I have been asked to present at future APM events, which I look forward to – hopefully next time we won’t be faced with adverse weather conditions!
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.
With the UK job market seesaw it is important to make sure you are making a good impression with your job applications – often with the lift in roles we are lulled into a false sense of security that the market will stay buoyant for a while and that the volume of roles means we are in with a good chance of securing interviews. Unfortunately this isn’t the case, the volume of applicants remains high and as such the competition is still strong. With recruitment companies endorsing the need for a good CV to yield results from your job applications and a small emergence of courses aimed at assisting project professionals gain the tools and knowhow to create a winning CV it is now widely being acknowledged that job hunters need to step up.
I have been pleased to see such interest in my field and completely agree that more needs to be done, time is of the essence and those who are fortunate enough to have the ability and/or time to put together a winning CV should take heed. For those who recognise they either cannot put together a strong CV or haven’t got the time/inclination are best suited to invest in their careers with a professional CV writer who actually understands the industry and doesn’t just play about with formatting and rewording documents at a high cost.
I am presenting a PM CV writing workshop later in the year with APM as I feel it is important to give something back to the PM community and fully endorse those who can write a CV but need a little guidance should be doing so. For the rest of you, I have put together a series of blog articles with lots of examples and tips on how to create a winning CV and continue to offer a competitively priced CV writing service bespoke to your needs. A great deal of contractors come to me already bought-in to the investment opportunity of having a CV created which time after time secures them interviews moving forward, likewise a great deal of senior PM professionals who are just too busy to work on their CV step forward to take the service. I have also noticed a number of clients wanting to break into project management but not knowing where to start or indeed what the roles actually are – these clients receive coaching in a variety of areas and walk away with a strong CV and knowledge on how to approach a career change.
There are many reasons clients come to us but one which made me smile the other day was a project manager who when asked his reasoning for coming to us was that he is in a position where he can pay others to do the tasks he hates. Just like having a breakdown membership, why change the wheel yourself when there is someone much better qualified to do this whilst you get on with your life. Embrace the help that is out there and identify what is most relevant for you, treat your career needs as an investment, just as you would take PM training or invest in better tools (software) – make a difference to your life.