Project management is all about being organised and disciplined – it makes us more efficient, however as prepared as we are in the office / about our projects, some of us are less organised outside office hours. Now that is not to say in everything we do as we still need structure to function, getting the kids ready for school, walking the dog and making sure we all eat at the right times etc. but when it comes to applying for jobs. It can be a case of go online, find a few project management jobs, adjust CV accordingly, apply and then forget all about them until you (hopefully) receive a call.
Creating a good impression with HR and recruiters is a must – they are the gate keepers, if you mess up with them, then your application goes no further and all the work you put in to writing a cover letter or reshaping your CV has gone to waste. Therefore it is important to make sure you keep a note of what you are applying for, a simply excel spreadsheet will suffice. Create a few headers for the columns such as job title, salary or day rate, location, reference number, agency/business applied to, date applied, version of CV sent (make sure you name your CVs so you can track what went where), where you found the advert/role (this may be a particular search term or website) and date to follow up application.
Once you have this document you can print it off or email to your phone (screen shot it for Apple products) and then you are ready to take calls from recruiters and employers on the go – when you receive a call, ask who is calling and the job title they are calling about. Ask them to hold the line (say you are taking a private room) and scan through your document for the role. You will sound far more organised and professional as you talk through the job and are more likely to gain success with the “gatekeeper” to actually get your CV put forward to the hiring manager for the position.
You can use the spreadsheet to collate details about where you are finding relevant jobs from which will assist you moving forward in deciding which websites you should be spending more time / less time on, noting dates for applications and setting follow up dates to call employers / recruiters is great practice. All the good project management people are always following up actions!
I cannot emphasise enough, the need for a professional approach to job applications – remember first impressions. Don’t blow it with an agency by answering the phone unprepared and sounding disinterested, there are plenty of other great candidates out there who are happy to take your place and will do so if you fall at the first hurdle – excuse the Olympic themed idiom!