I listed some Project Management specific job boards in an article last month and wanted to talk through the benefits of using such boards when you are looking for a new role. If you have heeded my previous advice about putting the work in before sending applications which includes:
- Researching the market for roles similar to your skill-set.
- Understanding salary grades pitched at your level.
- Working on your CV to ensure it is in peak condition.
- Creating a spreadsheet of all your applications to track where your CV is being sent to form a pattern for better results.
Then you are ready to start applying for jobs, it is important to make sure you are targeting the right places for jobs and if you are taking the recruitment agency route then the job boards you use can be your friend or can be a lost cause. Here are some benefits to using Project Management specific job boards:
- By applying through PM specific boards you are likely to send your CV to PM specific recruiters or ones who tend to mainly deal in your profession. Therefore you may not be quite right for that role (for many reasons such as being too late with an application – shortlists are usually filled within a few hours of the recruiter qualifying the role, or your skill-set may not be sufficient as the job adverts are too generic etc) but there may be a new role that recruiter is qualifying which you could be considered for.
- Employers who use these PM specific job boards will have a smaller pool of applications to choose from – as it is industry specific and considered niche then there will naturally be less people applying through these boards. This is a bonus for the employer as application lists can reach the hundreds on the generic job boards.
- Often roles posted on these smaller boards do not get published on the larger job boards; which means again that the pool of applications will be smaller.
- Recruiters are often swayed to open applications from specific job boards over the more generic job boards first – usually there is a better harvest from smaller specific board applications.
- Reputable job boards are the way to go, some of the larger boards have a great deal of advertised roles which aren’t real, it is a way to get hold of CVs for databases and increase traffic on the website to make money.
By keeping your applications down to a healthy load of say 4-6 per week you have a greater chance of yielding success – those who take a pepper gun spray approach find themselves being ignored by recruiters and employers as they tend to apply for anything with the word “project” in them and the roles vary massively, this does not demonstrate good attention to detail or a good understanding of where your skill-set sits. Make time to tailor your CV for a few roles and write a cover note matching up your core skills and experience to the role being advertised – trust me, it is a much better use of your time.
Hi Nicola, a friend of mine who has been living and working outside the UK for some time has decided to move back to the UK with his new wife and has asked me which project management recruitment agencies are best for him to sign up to. He has a background in delivering software implementations on a contract basis and is keen to pick up where he left off. – Chris, Manchester.
Hi Chris, many thanks for your question. A starting point for your friend would be my blog on project management job boards as this lists some of the forerunners in the field both recruitment agency wise and good PM related job boards. However I also would like to point out that your friend will need to make sure he has his CV up to date and is in-line with current requirements of the employer as he has been away for a while. Being a contractor one of the first things I would suggest is to make sure the CV talks through his assignments and pays particular attention to why he was brought in and the state of the project on arrival (including how he picked it up and led it to success). Contractors are generally paid a premium day rate to “hit the ground running” and as such demonstrable experience of this is what hiring managers are looking for in a CV.
Next I would suggest your friend creates a LinkedIn account (if he hasn’t already got one) and brings it up to date, ensuring it is searchable by everyone – this will open up opportunities for employers proactively searching for fresh talent. He should also make sure he has some recommendations from previous clients and managers so he has some good references to back up his work.
Job hunting also requires some further input from your friend such as posting his CV on the job boards – personally I would recommend some of the larger general job websites and also the specialist job websites such as the ones mentioned in my article. It is important to keep refreshing the CV on these websites as the longer they are in the databases the further down the searches they go. From a recruiter perspective I have found that when searching for CVs through such databases that I am offered a date selection – I would automatically assume that those over a month old have now secured a new position so they would be discounted from the search.
It is also good practice to keep abreast of organisations local to you to understand any changes and jobs which may pop up on their websites – your friend can set up google alerts on companies so he is emailed when something new is published online about them. Any changes such as new service offerings / mergers / product launches etc are a fantastic opportunity for your friend to make a speculative approach to the business and really sell himself to how he could add value. The speculative letter needs to be really tailored to the organisation and its changes and highlight examples of when he delivered similar changes.
Looking for a new job can be frustrating, and understanding where to look can become wearisome as using the large generic job boards can make you feel like a little fish in a large pond. However there are a number of profession specific websites available and Project Management is not lacking in this area. Here are a few job boards worth paying some attention to in your job hunting endeavours:
- Project Manager jobs.co.uk – another dedicated job board for PPM professionals, there’s a lot of “partners” and therefore adverts and sales going on with this website however it does also boast a blend of direct employer roles and recruiter adverts.
- The Guardian – OK so this isn’t a dedicated PM job board however it does attract a great deal of project management positions and unlike a lot of the larger generic job boards you can search on direct employer roles; definitely worth keeping an eye on this one.
- Exec-appointments – another non-dedicated jobs website however for the higher earners, this website is a must.
Specialist PM recruitment jobs boards
- Arras People – dedicated PPM recruitment agency with a wealth of experience in recruiting at all levels in the project management field, the job board is easy to use; adverts are full of information about the role, they clearly state “wants/needs” and are kept fresh. There’s also a repository of information for PPM professionals to delve into, which is very thorough. You can sign up for jobs by email and also follow them on twitter for new job alerts.
- Programme Recruitment – another dedicated PPM recruitment agency. The roles on the job board can be filtered to specific categories, this feature I like. However the adverts themselves are a little limited in content, you don’t get a feel for the types of projects the roles are aimed at which can prove frustrating for candidates applying as there’s no way to know if your experience is relevant. The board is kept fresh and every visit seems to yields a new position or two – a well maintained job board is essential for the users.
- Wellingtone – A three pronged business offering consultancy, software solutions and recruitment in the PPM domain. The job board is easy to view however you do have to click into each role to get an idea of whether it is relevant unlike other job boards. There is a search facility which is useful. The adverts look like job descriptions supplied by the employer (some very lengthy, others are purely one line stating xx years in BA role required), disappointing for a specialist agency but you get to see what the employer has set out (even though JDs can often be out of date / not a true picture of the role).
Do you have any experiences you can share with using the above job boards or another job board you would like to throw into the mix?