Category Archives: Project management CV

Q&A: Graduate CV

This week we have a question form a recent graduate who is looking to forge their career in event management.

Hi Nicola, I have been looking for a new role recently as the current position I am in is temporary – I have got some good experience in managing events as part of a placement at University and my current role. However I don’t seem to be attracting hiring managers with my CV and wondered if a functional format CV is the right format for me? Without this format my CV looks limited and listing my recent assignments as suggested by recruiters doesn’t seem to be effective either.

Wendy – Project Executive; Derby

Hi Wendy, Many thanks for your question. I am often asked if a functional CV (one which highlights out core competencies at the top of the CV) works for project management roles as effectively skills are the same throughout each role. I have to disagree with this statement as every role is different and I have yet to meet an organisation which runs its projects the same as another business. Therefore it is important to use a chronological format where you can drill down into what the projects were and how you delivered them in each role. Now I understand that you have a limited number of roles on your CV being a recent graduate but this is where you can list your part time positions and responsibilities too, as all experience is good experience. You have been fortunate enough to get some solid industry experience on your placement and in your current role which I would suggest you place most emphasis on and also draw out some key achievements. Your CV will soon be rich with information about your abilities and experience to date; by taking a professional approach to contextualising your experience and where you have used your skills you will be demonstrating excellent communication skills to your potential employer and should start to attract attention from hiring personnel. Here’s some further information about Functional Vs Chronological CV formats.

Free Project Management CV writing essential guide

Are you trying to put together your resume but unsure of what you should be included in your CV? Over the past couple of months we have covered a great deal of information on CV writing for project professionals on the blog and have drawn together all this information into one easy guide.

Covering areas such as:

  • An explanation of why job applications are rejected – a great start to writing your CV is to understand the pitfalls of making an application.
  • Basic CV structure – an easy guide through the structuring of a professional CV, what to include!
  • Understanding your target audience – you need to know what your prospective employers want to know about you, some handy hints to get you started.
  • Specific detail about writing your profile and examples of good and bad profiles.
  • The benefits of adding key achievements and what to state.
  • Employment history – addressed with specific examples of a role, written the right and the wrong way.
  • Information about stating referees and hobbies in your CV – understand how an employer views these.

This document has been compiled for those of you who want to write your CV yourself – however once you start to understand the complexity of writing your CV to include your experience and skill-set versus what the employer needs to understand, you may decide to take up the services of a professional CV writer such as The CV Righter. There’s no shame in it – in fact having a recruiters’ perspective to how your CV reads is invaluable in the ever competitive job market.

If you would like a free essential guide to CV writing, please contact us through our webpage here.

Employment history – CV tips

The main component of your CV should be the careers history – this is the section which allows you to really sell your skills and abilities. You should look to tackle this by summarising your role and then bullet pointing your remit, ensuring you contextualise the information. It is important for you as the writer to create a mental image for the reader to really get a grasp of what it is you actually do, job titles can be very misleading and I do not condone changing these in your CV so it is important to make sure you are making your description of the role as true to form as possible.

Here’s an example of a role and remit which is not ideal:

Project Coordinator                                                                                            

Duties: worked successfully within a project team that developed the best scheduling practices to meet client project plans easing project monitoring and control, making tracking of critical paths effective and preventive measures applied to them reducing lead times.

  • Working as part of a team within a fast-paced environment, focusing on delivering work to a high standard of client satisfaction
  • Assisting in planning, scheduling, resource requirements in compliance with industry, company and regulatory standards
  • Responsible for coordinating on site contractors/ subcontractors overseeing activities during the project execution phase

This description is weak as it reads like a job description, we get no real feel for the size of team, types of projects, what methods are used and generally it demonstrates a lack of real understanding for the role.

Now here’s an example which works:

Project Coordinator

Overseeing and coordinating the day to day running of multiple interdependent IT change projects by supporting project managers and senior managers. Responsible for monitoring and updating all project documentation and MI reporting

  • Reporting directly to the Senior Project Manager and supporting a team of 5 PMs in delivering interdependent projects
  • Providing an interface between the technical teams (3rd party suppliers) and senior management (internal), being the first point of contact for the provision of information on projects.
  • Ensuring that relevant management information is captured, analysed and presented via powerpoint presentations at monthly senior management meetings

These are snippets of job histories; you should look to include further information about what you do with more bullet points. Ideally you would look to perform a skills audit on yourself, list out everything you do along the project lifecycle and start to package these into relevant groups then start to formulate your bullets, ensuring you keep some context (types of projects, size of teams etc.)

Once you have written your most recent role, work backwards adopting the same formula but ensuring you do not just copy and paste details. Repetition is not good in CVs; if roles are very similar then you may decide to talk about different aspects of each role to provide some variety to the reader and also to cover all your competencies. Ideally you would look to have a “master” copy of your CV including everything you have done – you can then strip out irrelevant pieces of information to tailor your CV to specific roles, making applications a little easier for yourself and ensuring you are sending a CV which meets the role criteria.

The best & worst CV

The best CV I have ever seen in my project management recruitment capacity has to be one from a PMO professional – his CV was well presented and stated everything a hiring manager would need to know about his skills and abilities. Apart from having a fantastic variety of industries worked in it also stated the types and maturity of the PMOs, what he actually was brought in to achieve, the tools and methods used and the benefits realised. You gained a great sense of the sizes of teams, types of programmes and projects, challenges faced and how he added value in each environment. Whenever I submitted his CV for PMO roles he always gained a great deal of interest from the client which yielded interviews and subsequently job offers. Because I knew his preference to challenges I could match up his requirements to the right organisations and ensure both the client and he were happy.

The worst CV I have ever reviewed to date has been a very poorly written piece of work which was full of spelling and grammatical errors to start but also did not contain any real evidence of the work undertaken. Stating a short paragraph which basically said he had worked in this company for xx years and managed their projects, giving no indication of the size or complexity of projects or methods used to achieve success. Even the qualifications were misspelt “practioner” not “practitioner” – I remember having a conversation with the candidate at the time as he called to ask why he’d been rejected for the role he’d applied for, when I listed key requirements of the role he told me he had done all these things and I asked him where this was stated in the CV.

Having a CV which can work effectively for you is not always an easy task for some but putting the effort in and following all the great advice on the web for project professionals CV writing is a must.