Category Archives: The CV Righter

Case Study – Project Manager not securing interviews

Last month I worked with a client who we shall call Matt, he is a Project Manager who implements bespoke software solutions. Working closely with clients Matt takes the project from scoping in conjunction with the account management team right through to business as usual. Matt was made redundant at the end of December and decided to take a few weeks break as he had been with the company for a Head in handsnumber of years and felt a short break with the comfort of his redundancy payout was well deserved. When Matt came to start applying for jobs (bearing in mind he had not been on the job market for a number of years), he found that his applications were going into a black hole – rarely receiving acknowledgement.


We talked through how he was applying for roles and he was covering all the usual approaches such as online applications, registering with agencies, making his CV searchable on all the large job websites and using his contacts for advice/referrals/insider information etc. I performed a review of Matt’s CV with him over the phone, pointing out the areas which weren’t adding value and also clarifying information, as it soon became clear that he was selling himself short with the information he was supplying.

At the end of the call, Matt told me he’d never had such a thorough review of his CV and that asking recruiters he was told it was OK. I pointed out that calling up already very busy recruiters for feedback might not be the best route as they are often just trying to get you off the phone so they can get on with filling roles. Also the recruiters might not have an in depth knowledge of Project Management and so wouldn’t really know where to start in teasing out the relevant information. At the end of the review, Matt explained he was very low on funds and couldn’t justify paying out for a professional CV writing service as his house was soon going to be at risk. I sensed his desperation and supplied him with some support documentation which together with his notes from the review would arm him to rewrite the CV himself. I offered to review the CV again once he had rewritten it and told him to spend some time over the weekend working on it.

On the following Monday I had another call from Matt who told me he needed to secure a job within 3 weeks and he had sat down to write his CV but was struggling to articulate himself, he decided to take the CV writing service and I promised to coach him in addition to sorting the CV. We worked together to create a fresh CV, performed a skills audit and worked through effective job application coaching.

At the start of the process, Matt was panicky and deflated – by the end (which we conducted an intense few sessions to quickly get him in a good position) he was reinvigorated and had a new found confidence in his abilities. Within hours of loading his CV online he had recruiters calling him and also started to receive call backs from the roles he applied direct to. Within a week he had 3 interviews secured, by week 2 he was on second interview stage with 2 companies and by week three he had an offer for a job he really wanted.

We did it!Matt called me to thank me and told me he was initially hesitant to engage because of his financial situation but now realised it was the best investment he had ever made towards his career.

Advice I always give to those who are between contracts or made redundant is to try job applications with your current CV and see what kind of response you get, but always set aside a budget for support services such as CV writing and don’t waste your money on services which do not understand where you are coming from. You may not need the assistance, but as Matt found out, sometimes you may just need that helping hand. The most common comment I receive from those who contact me is that they just need to get through the door of the interview and they know they will do fine, but actually getting their foot through the door is the issue.

Employers dealing with redundancies

Unfortunately we are faced with redundancies all the time and it is hard to break the news to otherwise unsuspecting employees – what adds to the difficulty is when you have people who have worked for you for over 10 years and have no idea how to approach writing a CV or how to go about applying for roles.

At The CV Righter we are accustomed to dealing with such situations and have a tailored service which can help the transition of your employees back out into the world of job hunting.  We are always open to creating a bespoke service to our clients but one framework we used as a starting point is suggested below:

  • Assessing the situation as an outsider, gathering information about the people requiring the service. By understanding everyone’s position we can then look at the most effective solutions.
  • Dealing with large numbers – sometimes there may be a workforce of 40+ who need assistance – in this instance we look at breaking down the sessions for smaller groups and ideally all to be done over one or two days to ensure we are not dragging out the process.
  • Small seminars where we address the candidates in a less formal approach to give time for questions to be answered and individual feedback on CVs.
  • Running through a workshop on how to construct an effective CV whilst providing examples of good and bad CVs to be able to really help the candidates understand what is required in the current marketplace.
  • Handouts of CV templates and CV writing documents to back up all the workshop discussions.
  • Talking through how to apply for roles and where to look – giving effective recruiter inside information on how to find those roles and what to do once you have found them.

Having a wealth of experience in recruitment and also having worked on the Job Centre Plus framework to provide careers assistance with the unemployed for hundreds of candidates we are experienced in dealing with those who are lacking motivation and confidence and we have worked with factory operatives, management, professional services and all industries.

Get in touch today to see how we can help you with your redundancy transition – we are happy to negotiate costs to meet your budgets and we care about the people who need our help, as much as you do!

Your CV resembles a Jenga game

I really enjoyed reading Peter Taylor’s (The Lazy Project Manager) blog about our services and particularly like his reference to CVs being like a game of Jenga towards the end of the game. This is a fantastic analogy and is so true of CVs being sent to me for review.

For those unaware of the game, basically it starts off as a tower of wooden bricks each layer placed across the next in opposite directions – the aim of the game is to take bricks out from the lower layers and add to the top of the pile without knocking the tower over. So as the game progresses the tower becomes unstable on the lower levels as gaps appear, the higher levels become top heavy with bricks which leads to eventual demise of the tower.


How very perceptive of Peter to describe a CV like this – as we work through assignments and change jobs we often add in detail to the CV but begin to lose consistency, we leave gaps further down the page, add in more and more detail working towards the top leaving the CV unbalanced and often lacking relevant information.

It is always good practice to revisit your CV on occasion regardless of whether you are thinking of making a career move or not – as it only became too apparent for a recent client of mine who had treated his CV like a game of Jenga then found himself made redundant. When I reviewed his CV it looked disjointed and in need of a great deal of work, he had made attempts to rework it but in doing so had managed to make it look very disjointed. When we talked through his feedback I teased out a number of interesting areas of work which he had failed to address in the CV and it quickly became apparent that he needed a sounding board to talk through his experiences enabling him to really draw out the kind of content which would see his CV placed on the top of the pile with recruiters.

As he had left it so long before working on the CV, he had forgotten a great deal of information and regretted not keeping on top of it. Also he now had an immediate requirement to get his CV out to recruiters and apply for roles as he was out of work – adding significant pressure to his already stressful circumstances.

After offering up key advice to him, he decided to have a go at rewriting his CV himself due to financial constraints, however after attempting to do this over the weekend he came back to me on the Monday asking if I could provide the CV writing service proposed.

Although it was not an ideal situation for him financially he had concluded that an investment in his CV would yield a much greater response from employers than he was currently receiving. So we worked together to really get to the crux of his core skill base and draw out achievements which demonstrate his ability to go above and beyond the call of duty – really emphasising his value to organisations.

The lesson to be learned here is that you should always have an up to date CV – don’t leave it until you are pushed to have to do something!

photo credit: Herman Rhoids via photopin cc

If I had a crystal ball – looking forward to your next career move

Ever wondered what it would be like to be able to look into a crystal ball and see where you will be in 5 or 10 years time? I remember when I was at Uni fresh faced to the world and its offerings, worried about whether I was making the right moves with job applications and cautious about opportunities that seemed too good to be true. The truth is that we have an idea in our minds where we want to be in the future but do we really put together a plan of action.

I have spoken with a great deal of project professionals at varying levels of seniority and all said the same thing – you may have a plan but it is often the case that you deviate due to life or economical changes. However with a strong plan and determination you can succeed in your chosen path with a little effort. The issue tends to lay by those not being clear in articulating what it is they want and not knowing where to go to actually get it.

We offer a service which not only assists you in clearly defining your skill-set to employers, we also advise how and where to go to once you have a strong application. For those out there who really research and put the work in, they are yielding great results and the jobs you could only hope for as you continue using tried and tested (but bulging) resources.

Take time out to let someone who knows the industry well and has a great deal of experience in indentifying opportunities coupled with a wealth of experience in turning CVs into something which works. Having worked with HR staff and senior management in all industries from financial services, IT, engineering to healthcare and digital media to name a few we understand what it is that grabs the attention of employers for the right reason and we also understand how these roles come about so we can advise a backdoor approach which gets you ahead of the competition.

Drop us a line today with your CV and we’ll talk through how we can best help you and we will give you a free CV review to help you understand how your CV is coming across to others.