Recruitment for Project Managers – how to make it work

I was approached this week by a new client asking me how recruitment works – having been in a permanent role for some years he is looking to go interim and wanted to know what the formula is to make recruiters sit up and take notice of him. There is no hard and fast rule as such – naturally the recruiter has a list of requirements from their client which need addressing in the CV, if your CV does not touch on these requirements then you will be discarded and often forgotten about. So what actually makes a recruiter work for you? For a start you need to really understand your own skill set and how this works in the project environment, clearly contextualising your experience and the project benefits is key to the basis of a good CV. Making sure you apply for roles which meet your abilities will put you in good stead with the recruiter and if you are not quite right for that role you have a better chance of being remembered for the right reasons, as from the start you have demonstrated your understanding of the role itself and are not just applying for anything.

If you have a wealth of experience managing a diverse range of projects then the recruiter needs to see the projects most relevant to the role you apply for, however this does not mean you need to leave out other information. The trick is to present a summary of the types of projects, complexity, budgets and team size / locations / skill sets, then you need to talk about how you deliver, the difficulties you have encountered and your specific aptitude – you may be great with demanding and difficult stakeholders or you may be great at manipulating data or balancing finances. Everyone is different and what the recruiter wants to know is what sets you apart from others. Talk about key achievements, don’t be fooled into thinking that delivering a project on time and to budget is an achievement – you are paid to do this right! Think about how you got there, what hurdles did you overcome, what have you learnt from the project and what measures have you adopted for future delivery?

All of this information needs to be kept to a maximum 3 page but ideally a 2 page CV, it can be difficult to edit and condense this information which is why a second pair of eyes can be extremely effective. We offer a free CV review at The CV Righter where honest and constructive feedback is presented to individuals – there is no obligation to take up the CV writing service however should you decide to take the service up then you will only be charged for a service bespoke to you. If you do not require an entire re-write then you don’t pay for one. The review is performed by a former project management specific recruiter and will be executed as such which will give you a valuable insight into how recruiters actually view your CV.

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