Tag Archives: Moving On

7 step guide to job application – PM Career tips

Here’s your 7 step guide to reaching success when looking for a new job:

  1. Research – when you take the decision to start looking for a new role you really need to understand the industry and the roles you are applying for, make a start by looking at the types of roles you wish to apply for. Job descriptions and adverts are widely available online, by reading through them and understanding what is involved you will quickly identify the roles most relevant to you. Also spend some time researching the industries you wish to work in. Look at some of the larger corporate websites to gain a greater knowledge of what is hot at the moment as these will likely be the growth areas in that field. Start to match up your skill-set and exposure to relevant projects, make a note of these and use them as examples in your CV.
  2. Make a list – gather a list of the relevant role titles to your skill, and place in a spreadsheet to keep track of websites which yield good search results for them. As well as searching job boards, think about placing random searches into search engines as you will also bring up roles with direct employers too which you may have otherwise missed – a lot of employers will only advertise on their own websites.
  3. Focus – Ensure you are spending time on roles which you can meet a minimum of 90% of the criteria listed, this saves you wasting time on roles which you are unlikely to get into the short-list for and keeps your list down to a manageable size. It is important to streamline your applications so you can spend more time tweaking your CV and writing a cover letter for so you can yield more results. It is quality not quantity!7
  4. Make another list – create another spreadsheet of roles you have applied to and through which websites, when etc. you need to be organised when you start receiving calls from HR / recruiters etc. it does make all the difference when you sound on the ball during these calls.
  5. Follow up – leave it a day or two after you make an application then call up the person handling your application. Check it has been received and offer to clarify anything further they may need to know. Round up the call by asking when you can expect to hear a response regarding your application – remain professional throughout, this includes speaking to receptionists etc. be friendly, clear, helpful and don’t let frustrations show. The person handling your application makes the decision whether to pass on your CV to clients/hiring managers so keep in mind they are testing you from the first point of application. Put yourself in their shoes – if you come across abrupt or desperate then they are highly unlikely to put your forward through fear of having their reputation soiled. 

Never Let Me Go – is your employers’ inability to let you leave healthy?

Always an interesting topic of conversation, when people tell me their employers will do almost anything to keep them. A compliment yes, obviously you are doing something right but how healthy is it to keep going at the same place beyond a few years? The problem with most organisations is that the projects can tend to become a little BAU (business as usual) and as much as a success you are at delivering, is this actually assisting you in moving forward in your career – probably not! Yes you may well be nicely compensated on your annual salary review and bonuses are always great but is the work actually stretching you?

As a progressive PPM professional you should always be looking for the next challenge and for pieces of work which will expand your skill set and portfolio of success, additional training when offered should always be embraced and taking on new teams, especially those which need strong leadership. Contractors are a great example of those who relish taking on difficult or failing pieces of work; the challenges make for an interesting work life and also enhance their capabilities moving forward. Contracting isn’t for the feint hearted though and those who prefer the security of a salary rather than day rates should really look at new internal challenges but also at moving on after a while to new businesses which offer something fresh and exciting to add to your experience portfolio. It can be daunting when you have worked within the same environment for a number of years to move on into the unknown. This is a common concern but as the PPM job market has been up and down, the roles are always there and sometimes it is about taking a leap of faith – in reality, just how stable is your current business? I was talking with a Project Director last week who works for a large blue chip, she told me that the headcount across the business was being rapidly reduced and that she has advised her project teams to update their CVs despite no actual decision to make cuts within the team as of yet. She told me she was met with resistance as there was a distinct “head burying” culture which she is trying to break through.


It is also common for counter offers to be made by employers to keep talent on board when external job offers are made – however is this not too little, too late? If you were truly valued then why does it take a threat of leaving to receive a salary you feel is more commensurate to your skill set. Take positive steps forward to ensure you keep on enjoying your work, be happy and learn to let go. Resistant to change? Come on, we’re all project people and projects are change.

Switching Industry – Project Manager CV Tips

There are many reasons you may be looking to swap into another industry and sector, such as growth areas in other industries like Financial Services, limited growth in your current field or you may just fancy a change. The job market is constantly evolving and competition is high with a great deal of project professionals looking to take on new assignments. Most advice tends to be that it is incredibly difficult to make the shift over but it isn’t an impossible task, just because there’s reported competition and hiring managers are deemed keen to employ what they know doesn’t mean you cannot do it. Establishing some diversity in your career achievements can really assist you in your career goals moving forward, demonstrating your ability to manage or support projects in a variety of industries and programmes / projects will really boost your perceived flexibility and validates you project management skills.

It is important to make sure you pull away from industry specific terminology in your CV and take a look at the bigger picture, in the Change routefirst instance if you have a great deal of experience in one area such as engineering or public sector – look at the projects which may be transferable into other sectors such as IT/technology or business change pieces of work.  Talk about the actual change and how you were instrumental in implementing; put yourself in the hiring managers’ shoes – what would they like to see? If they have a project which needs delivering, what areas are relevant to them? Think about the project lifecycle – how you deliver, and the type of projects, complexity, team sizes, budgets, technologies, tools used etc. By writing a more generic CV which addresses the users, impact and cultural changes you are starting to build a good picture of what your experience is, set aside from the industry itself. By coming from a different background you can add so much more to a business – asking questions which might be overlooked and bringing a fresh approach to “how we normally do things” whilst offering assurance with your stellar delivery track record.

Working to regulatory compliance is also a great skill that can be transferred into other industries, a great deal of industries have these types of projects and by demonstrating an ability to decipher conformity needs and work to them is valuable. Such as FSA regulations which are applied to new systems in industries across the board – fantastic if you are keen to get into Financial Services.

Don’t go too generic with the CV so the reviewer cannot understand what you have done but take back the terminology and focus on key deliverables combined with your competencies – produce a balanced CV which demonstrates your management style, highlights key achievements and sells you as a PM professional not necessarily an “Engineering PM” or “Public Sector PM”. Be defined by your delivery not the environment.

7 Steps to Follow When Changing Career

Changing career can seem like a very daunting prospect, particularly if you have been in the same job for a long time. Follow our seven steps to make sure you get it right and make the transition as smooth as possible:

1.         Motivation, Not Money

Think about what is driving you to change careers and focus on it. Job satisfaction is the key to success and will keep you motivated to do well at your job, raring to return to work rather than dragging yourself in each day.

Make that change2.         Determine Skills

Write down what you are good at, what you enjoy and conduct your research from there. If you take a career in something that you are skilled in you are much more likely to enjoy it and get more out of it than something that you struggle with.

3.         Explore your Options

Take each skill one by one and look into the careers that can use them to the best ability. Link these to things that you enjoy doing and you will be amazed at the vast range of jobs available to you!

4.         Make “The List”

From the variety of options that have stemmed from your research, you can now start to make a short list of jobs that you would like to do. Concentrate on every possible aspect; location, hours worked, transport, training and anything else which may affect the reality of you obtaining your new career path.

5.         Contact the Professionals

Business Networking meetings are popular in all areas and are a great way to connect with people from your chosen career. Alternatively look online to see if you can find any organised events surrounding your chosen job.

6.         Watch and Learn

Where possible see if you can contact businesses directly and ask for advice; most will admire your determination and be happy to help. Ask if you can ‘shadow’ someone to get a better idea of the job and to learn more about how to do it.

7.         Try it out!

The only way to find out if you will enjoy a job is to give it a try. Lots of careers have a way of volunteering to see whether the job is suited, or if your career path is suitable, try part-time freelancing to build up a portfolio before taking the plunge.

There are several reasons why someone might want to change career, level of job satisfaction, a chance to learn new skills, a change in life circumstances and many other determining factors. Whatever your reason, make sure you are prepared and weigh up all of your options; then go for it!

Simon Appleton is CEO at Workcircle.