One of our specialism’s at The CV Righter is all things PMO – whether it be careers advice, coaching or writing strong PMO CVs which really get interviews. Our consultant Nicola used to specialise in PMO recruitment and has had experience of placing at all levels of the PMO within a range of small to medium sized businesses to multinational corporations across all sectors – it is this experience that has placed Nicola in the right place to thoroughly understand what employers expect to see from CVs and her in-depth understanding of PMOs and their maturity levels etc. As individuals we all have expertise in different areas, so it is quite understandable that you may think you have a good CV but are not harvesting results from your job applications. Therefore it is important to have your CV reviewed honestly and be told where you are falling short in the application process. You may have a wealth of experience in the field or changing career – either way, a well written CV which clearly demonstrates your skills, abilities and understanding of the PMO will make all the difference in getting call backs from recruiters and employers/HR etc.
As a professional CV writing service we are only too happy to provide a candid, free review of your CV which is obligation free – no mothering after the initial review has been done, what you do with your feedback is up to you. Unlike recruitment agencies you may have asked for feedback from and been palmed off with “it’s fine” because they are too busy to spend time with you telling you where you are going wrong – we spend time talking through your feedback and are happy to answer any questions you have.
Next in the series of PMO CV tips I would like to talk about coaching and mentoring – arguably one of the most valuable roles a PMO can play within an organisation. Of course there are varying levels of coaching that can take place, depending on how the business is structured. Those who do not have a dedicated project management team that assign business heads to manage projects. Those growing in-house PM teams and the well established PM functions that may need some steering in the right direction. It is always worthwhile noting down a few details about what you are doing in your role regardless of whether you intend to move on or stay put for the meantime – this way, when you are ready to tackle the job of updating your CV you will have some notes to work from.
- Think about the skill-sets of those you are working with, their seniority within the business and how many you are supporting.
- What is it you are educating them in – planning, risk, change, benefits management, reporting etc.
- If you have those new to PM, are you teaching them how to manage a project? Working through scoping to close and lessons learned or on specific areas.
- You may have implemented new frameworks and be training top down.
- Have you been running workshops? Have you put together the presentations, workbooks and handouts?
- Are you writing training materials?
These are just a few areas to get you thinking, once you have made some notes you will be in a position to write some good bullet points for your work experience and you may also draw out an interesting case for a key achievement.
PMOs have evolved over the years and generation of the P3O® method has certainly pushed forward the promotion of the PMO working as a consultancy for the project team, as such the roles have become far more progressive therefore it is important to include this detail within your CV to really showcase your abilities.
PMOs play an integral role in most organisations which have a number projects and programmes being delivered across the business. There are many types of PMO such a Programme Offices, Project Offices, Centre of Excellence and Portfolio Offices. Taking this into consideration and the subtleties within each, it can make for a much more interesting CV which can really pique the interest of recruiters and employers and demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of the field.
When putting together a CV we need to address some of the key criteria for a PMO professional:
Type of PMO:
- Supportive: Providing on-demand expertise, templates, best practice, access to information etc.
- Controlling: An environment where tighter regulation is required so there is usually the use of specific methods, templates, governance and forms etc with the likelihood of regular reviews by the PMO.
- Directive PMO: Taking a step further than the controlling PMO and actually taking over projects by the provision of PM experience and resources to manage the projects.
Size of PMO
- Stand alone (1 person)
- Team PMO (>1person)
- Types of programmes / projects being supported?
- How many programme / project managers feed into the PMO?
Once we have established the type of PMO and talked through the volume and types of projects and programmes, it is time to address what your involvement is. Firstly is the PMO something you have set up or reengineered or already in place? Then we want to know your role, are you managing it, an analyst, coordinator, consultant etc. Then run through the core competencies involved – what do you do on a daily basis? From this you will also be able to pull out some key achievements such as impact on project capability.
The PMO as you know is all about communication and how you apply that to the task in hand, there are many elements that go into this and all organisations are different. Some organisations employ business managers to manage projects and these types of PMs generally require a great deal of hand holding, think about coaching, training, workshops etc which you may have facilitated. Include this information into your CV along with the above to give the reviewer a holistic view of the role and what it actually means within your business.
Since the release of the OGC P3O guidelines and subsequent qualifications in 2008 the PMO became a hot topic in organisations as the move from the perceived “expensive typing pool” was encouraged to shift to an empowered state where it provides an interface between senior management and project management within the business. However the subsequent recession in 2009 and further doom and gloom with the global economic climate, we have seen a dip in the level of PMO roles available in the UK. Over the past year or so the shift seems to have moved towards effective programme and project managers taking the helm with PMO responsibilities being part of their remit. As the recession dictated a lower yield of roles generally in the PPM field it seemed to focus on key deliverers. Understandably if there are lower budgets but projects still need delivering the PMO will fall short. But I have always believed that the best PMO people will have experience in both supporting and managing projects as greater understanding of the reality of delivery can benefit those supporting and vice versa. Therefore I feel there is a great opportunity for PMO people to develop themselves further by taking on delivery of projects to strengthen their knowledge and understanding and demonstrating their adaptability to both areas.
There are still some PMO roles about so it is not all bad news but the competition is high and with employers increasingly asking for candidates who currently work in that industry it becomes harder for PMO professionals to transition into new roles beyond their sector. I do not agree with the employers as the role of PMO is about method not necessarily the “product” but in a risk averse world this is becoming the norm.
Moving forward I advise you offer up yourself for delivery in your current role as a PMO, taking on small projects to start and gaining experience and trust from programme managers etc will always strengthen your CV – but taking these measures will also place you in a better position for the job market today. Through being empowered in the PMO you will already have great stakeholder engagement experience and will also know the structured method to delivery, now it is time to put the theory into practice.