The profile is an important part of your CV, an introduction to you as a project professional – ideally it should summarise you and what you actually do. However it is often an area on the CV which lacks any real impact, circling around expected skills such as being positive, dynamic, organising, good time keeping etc – as I said “expected skills” well they are, I would hope you have good organisation and a positive approach to your work in every job across the land. Focusing on core areas such as planning, change, business cases, strategy, project capability etc are what you need to be talking about, however, to start make sure you describe who you are. You may be a PM but your job titles don’t align so here is a good area to make sure you tell the reviewer what it is you do. Next think about the types of projects you manage, the environments you work in, the types of teams you work with and any technical competencies you have whether it be technology or methodologies. Then think about what your specialism or niche might be, such as implementing frameworks, dealing with difficult stakeholders, picking up part run projects (maybe they are failing etc) and overcoming cultural issues.
Once you have a short paragraph, read through it and see if this is a fair description of you as a professional, some call this an elevator pitch. By providing a strong descriptive profile you will stop calls from recruiters for roles that are inappropriate and increase calls from recruiters with roles that are a good match for you. It pays to spend some time getting the profile right as you need to create a good impression from the start of the CV, it speaks volumes if you can’t summarise what you do, how can anyone else?
Skills are an obvious subject to address in your CV, but are you actually writing the right things? We’ve all heard that recruiters keyword search on specific words which are relevant to PM and delivery/support etc, and this is true, however a list of keywords just doesn’t cut it. Anyone can write a good list from a little research which will have your CV come to the top of a search but with no context it is just a list or a word, we can’t actually see where or when you have used the skill. Equally, copying and pasting your job description may look like you’ve made more effort but it is obvious this is what you have done to recruiters and HR professionals, they read bland and generic (and dare I say….Lazy!).
If you have already created a list then you are half way there to getting some really good pieces of information on the CV, have a think about how you have used the skill, some skills are a daily requirement so you can talk about how you regularly do XYZ and talk about why you do it, if it is a skill you don’t use as regularly but for more specific pieces of work then talk about specifics for using it. You’ll soon have a good list of bullet points which incorporate the keywords but they actually tell a story and make your use of them more realistic to the reviewer. Not rocket science, but an area that a lot of project professionals fail to do with their CVs, placing more focus on the project which in turn makes for a great marketing pitch for the project and/or business but does nothing to sell you and your skill-set.
PMOs have been around for years, although originally underutilised, they now play a major role in the successful delivery of projects and programmes within organisations across all fields. As such the salaries commanded for support roles have improved dramatically along with the role remits, therefore the field of project and programme support has become a competitive field to get into, no longer are PMO professionals glorified secretaries, you’re the drivers behind project capability. As the support roles are now no longer a stepping stone to project management (although still can be) there is a clear career path in this field which is well suited to those who have a passion and flair for process and people improvement.
Your CV is the key to the gateway of recruitment, ensuring you are being put forward for roles and more importantly, for the right roles. I have spoke to a number of PMO contractor who are persistently put forward for project coordinator positions – completely the wrong role for them, after reviewing their CVs the theme is that the CV is not focussing on the strategic aspect of project support. At the CV Righter, we have specialist PMO recruitment experience which is used to underpin the core areas looked for by both recruiters and HR professionals in the field, producing a strong document which clearly depicts your experience, specialities and needs moving forward.
Why use a PMO CV writing service? Because that’s what we do, we specialise in PMO and PM, just as you specialise in implementing structure and guiding project teams. Horses for courses, we are a well established business which focuses on PPM and having worked with multinational to small businesses within every field and sector we know what the employer actually wants to see and what makes them interview.
When you submit your CV for a job, where does it go? Well it depends on where you apply for the role – whether it is direct to an employer or through a job board. So we’ll take a look at the various scenarios:
- Direct employer: In this scenario the CV will generally go into a pool of applications to be sorted by HR or outsourced recruitment services, at this point the reviewer will skim read your CV and review for various elements required for the role. At this point you will be placed into a YES, NO or MAYBE pile. A shortlist will be prepared from the YES pile; if they are low on numbers then the MAYBE pile will be reviewed again for weaker possibilities. The shortlist will be sent to a number of personnel including the hiring manager and HR manager, at this point the shortlist will be reduced to a number of candidates deemed fit for interview.
- Job board applications: Similar to the above scenario, another layer of scrutiny will be added into the mix prior to reaching the HR department at the employer. The recruiter will receive a (generally) larger pool of applications, and the sorting process will begin. Using a list of key requirements the recruiter will review CVs and quickly sort into YES or NO piles, due to the volume of applications there is little room for a MAYBE pile. If the recruitment business is PM specific then they will tend to be much more focussed on PM requirements and more ruthless when rejecting CVs which do not meet the mark. Once a shortlist is put together, they will be sent to the employer to start the above process, unless there is already a relationship in place where the hiring manager may deal direct with applications.
Because the recruitment process is so stringent, it is important to make sure you really work on that CV and make sure it ticks all the boxes for your applications or you face being placed in the recycle bin.