Tag Archives: Advice

Portfolio , Programme, Project – What’s the difference? Friday snippet

OK so today we are going back to basics, talking through what a portfolio, programme and project actually are. I was in consultation with a project manager last week who was describing his current project list, as we talked through his input into the business he asked if he was in fact a programme manager – which lead me to write this blog piece. Having spent more years than I care to remember delivering and studying in the field of project management it dawned on me that a great deal of professionals currently working in the field of project management rarely get an outsider perspective and certainly won’t have read through the skip load of books I have. So those of us who are well into the field of PPM are sat inside a rather well oiled bubble and there are hundreds of effective and hard working PPM professionals out there who are just beginning to learn of our bubble. So for all those new to the bubble – welcome and here’s a basic overview of the 3 Ps.

  • PROJECT – A piece of work with a definite start and end, and clearly defined deliverable.
  • PROGRAMME – A programme is a number of related projects run collectively to obtain specific strategic objectives and benefits.
  • PORTFOLIO – A portfolio is an assortment of projects or programmes categorised to facilitate meeting strategic business objectives through effective management. This is a centralised management of programmes, projects and sometimes portfolios which aren’t necessarily interdependent or related directly.


OK so now we have cleared that up in the simplest form – here’s a couple of useful links for further information (APM MSP MoP) . Once you start to get a grasp of the basics, I assure you, you will be drawn into wanting to know more.

If you are in need of some advice about what it is you actually do – get in touch, no question is a stupid question and with a little consultation we will have you well placed for taking that next step to finding a new role: www.thecvrighter.co.uk

CV Length – Questions answered

In-line with my regular Q&A sessions this week we have a good question from a candidate who wants to understand what the acceptable length is for a CV.

Can you please answer me how long my CV should be – I have lots of experience in the PPM domain covering an expanse of different types of projects and programmes, when it comes to writing a CV I find I am not able to keep the document down to a short list.

Sharon, Programme Manager; London.

Hi Sharon, many thanks for your question – it is a question often asked and one which can simply be answered by stating “2 or 3 sides”. However as you are finding it difficult to keep the document to a length deemed acceptable in the recruitment field I would like to address a few things:

When compiling your CV you should look to take the following guidelines on board.

  1. It is important to include all your employment history; however I suggest you keep the bulk of the detail to your most recent roles. Roles over 10 years old need only be a line on the CV including dates, employer and job title.
  2. When writing the detail in your remit for the more recent roles – look to address the following: number and type of projects, stakeholders, benefits, how you deliver, size and complexity. Additional information such as any major issues – simply stating delivered on time and to budget doesn’t tell us a great deal. For example you may have had to gain “buy in” from teams / senior management etc. or globally dispersed stakeholders with cultural differences and availability may have been a challenge.
  3. Rather than adding achievements to individual roles; you could look to address “key achievements” at the top of the CV – these can be interchanged for particular job applications, ensuring you have relevant detail available to the hiring manager for that role.
  4. The key achievements must not be too lengthy, try to keep to a structure of describing what the project or piece of work was, your input and the results achieved – employers like to see how you can add value so £ and %’s are good to add here if appropriate.
  5. Do not list skills in a separate section, integrate them, thus adding context to the role remits.
  6. Ensure to use terminology common to project management, especially if you have been working through a structured method such as Prince2, Agile etc.
  7. Treat the document like MI; clear and concise – do not say in 30 words which can be stated in 10 or 15. Keep to the point but do not just write a job description.

The good news is that you have too much information – now it is time to edit the document back down to a shorter version, you can keep the long version as a master copy and pick and choose relevant information for specific applications. By creating more than one version of your CV you will be in a position to swiftly apply for a range of roles specific to your skill set.

At The CV Righter we provide a free CV review and career guidance to project professionals and those wishing to enter into PM. Send your CV through our contact page at: www.thecvrighter.co.uk

Basic CV tips

Getting your CV right from the start is important – in this article I will address the basic format of an effective CV. There are hundreds of CV templates available for free on the internet, all slightly differing from each other – some more effective than others. If all CVs were the same it would be a rather boring process for recruiters and hiring managers to sift through the piles of applications they receive on a daily basis, therefore it is OK to take on your own creative style as long as the CV remains professionally written and readable.

Some areas for consideration in your CV:

1. Contact details – make sure you add your mobile number, email address and basic location as a minimum. You would be surprised how many CVs I have seen with no contact details at all, how does the hiring manager reach you?

2. Profile – a good way to introduce yourself on your CV; stick to a clear and concise paragraph which details your key skills and abilities.

3. Objective – this is an interesting section to add into a CV, personally I don’t think it adds a great deal to the application however some employers appreciate the effort gone into clearly stating your career goals and matching up this statement to the role you are applying for (this section should be fluid so it changes per application).

4. Achievements – project management is all about accomplishment so why not highlight some towards the top of the document. Don’t go beyond 4 or 5 bullet points and make sure you demonstrate how you add value, utilising a structure such as STAR (Situation or Task, Action, Results) will help you keep on track.

5. Employment history – this should ideally start about half way down the first page of the CV.

6. Education and training – placed after the work experience if you are a seasoned professional or on the first page of the CV if you are a recent graduate.

7. Additional skills – such as IT skills can be added here if they have not been integrated in the remit of the roles. Any sought-after IT skills such as Primavera or MS Project etc. should be included.

8. Hobbies – not essential on the CV but it does add some personality to the CV and gives the reader an insight into you, outside of work. This has been key additional criteria in some employers I have recruited for previously.

9. References – at the end, state “available on request”

Utilising the above as the structure of the CV you can then flesh out with experience and skills to ensure you have covered the required elements of the CV.

At The CV Righter we recognise how difficult it can be to put together your own CV – there’s no shame in it, some just find it difficult to sell themselves on paper. That is why we work with you to understand exactly what you do and how you do it, we then take that detail and put together a clear and concise CV and ensure you are comfortable with all the content so you are not overselling or misleading the potential employer and will be comfortable at interview. Visit www.thecvrighter.co.uk for advice on how we can help you.